Progress report

Seven months after my dad’s death, I can tell you (as if you didn’t already know) is that grief takes time. At the rational, conscious level, I often feel as though I’m moving at the same pace that I always do. But then I look around, and see all the housework that isn’t getting done, and all the little things at work that aren’t getting done, and I have to acknowledge that I’m not getting as much done.

I think, though, that when it comes to hands-on work, like housework and growing things and making things, I’ve lost very little efficiency; whereas the less embodied tasks, things like checking email and project management and the like, are taking lots more time. I said I think this is so, but I already know that while I’m grieving my rational self isn’t good at thinking about and judging myself.

I am now bored by grieving. Last week, I was so bored I climbed up on a stepladder and cleaned the cobwebs in the high peaks of the kitchen ceiling, something that I haven’t done for two years. Yesterday, I was so bored I cleaned out all of my tool boxes, made a tool roll for chisels and one for files, and a toolbox for handsaws; in the process I found things I thought I has lost: a chuck key for an old drill, a whet stone, a pop-rivet gun.

But I find I have less tolerance for sitting at a computer. Screens narrow your field of view, and disconnect you from the real world of manipulable things. And, as we are now learning by watching the mental health of teenagers, computers induce and increase anxiety, often to pathological levels; grief is enough; I don’t need to add anxiety.

In short, I’m about where I’d expect to be: grief, so they say, bottoms out in half a year, and I do feel as though I’m on the upward trend.

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