Seven Days

It’s difficult for me to believe that Monday was only 7 days ago, because there is no way that so much could have happened that quickly.

When last I completed a blog (another story altogether), I was riding high. Really high. Fabulous concert; met Duff. Riding high and even managed to garner a description as “cute” as a result of my overall giddiness from a fellow member of one of the online forums I hang out in. Cute, I have to say, is a word seldom applied to me, even by my husband, who finds in necessary to muster up a very serious face just to say it without hurting himself from the laughter.

Suffice to say: whatever I may be physically and emotionally and mentally and what-have-you, cute is generally not among the descriptors. Hence, I was really high on life as the week opened.

On Monday, I met with Rev. Dean on the subject of a book project and held court in the first of many search committee meetings. This one, as I recall, did not go particularly well and brought me down a few pegs, but, in general, all was well.

Then came Tuesday morning, when we received word that a beloved friend and colleague, who was due to have heart surgery that morning, would not have the life-salvaging surgery because his heart was just too damaged by the heart attack earlier in the semester. He was to be sent home and into hospice care. We’d been getting reports all along about his well-being, some hopeful, others quite depressing, but the surgery had been a point of possibility, even as much as it would be a difficult procedure. But on Tuesday morning, he was suddenly dying. For real. G. came home that night to report on the finance committee meeting that had been held at church. To say that I disagreed with the tactics of the committee regarding cutting the budget would be a significant understatement. I was angry, sad, hurt, and convinced that what we had fought so hard for–to protect the ministers and ministries against the tide of support for a building…yeah, wooden beams and stained glass over people and mission–that all of that was for naught. I went to bed furious and exhausted.

Wednesday bloomed a bit brighter than Tuesday ended, if only because there was a concert to look forward to. Early in the morning, still high off the morning run, I got the word that Loaded would be playing a free show in Augusta, in addition to the one I was planning to attend that night. So, G and I arranged to take off early and go to both. As I prepared to leave, there was one last search meeting for the day, and it went FAR better than I expected, in that we made a decision, something that seemed unlikely at the close of Monday. The concerts that night were indeed fantastic and took my mind off the events of Tuesday, just a bit.

I came into work on Thursday on 3 hours sleep (after some 21 awake). Tired, perhaps a bit cranky, but generally mellow, though notably unable to write either of the blog posts I had started. Read Duff’s SW blog, which he swore on Wednesday was a poor one, written in exhaustion. As of today, said blog has generated more response (I think) than any of his prior ones. So much for a pathetic piece of prose, eh*? Posted a response that was likely longer than the original post (oops). Friday was more of the same; a bit rushed, but otherwise tame. The most contentious meeting of the day ended with a decision and I went to the other campus for a meeting, where we signed a poster for our colleague, who was home but trying to work out his affairs, and thus wanted no particular company.

Then Saturday. This one made national news. While we oriented and registered two hundred or so new students at our lovely semi-rural campus, a local professor shot and killed three people at a local theatre gathering near downtown. I live, as I have mentioned before, in a college town, and one of the (many) idiosyncrasies of college-townness is the incestuousness–everyone knows everyone, at least by degrees. And, indeed, as the news unfolded, we discovered that one of the victims was the husband of another beloved English professor. To say that shock washed over this campus would be a serious understatement; we held together, registered the new students and went home to our families, trying not to feel morbid as we saw “Professor on the loose” in the headlines.

Sunday was for grief. For my friend. For the families. For my community. Rev. Dean reminded us that life exists within all this death, when he dedicated two babies during Sunday’s service. Fought tears during the service, then gave into them. What safer place to cry?

This morning, as I returned from class, I received an email regarding my friend Tom, who died this morning, simply and quietly, as befits his delightful and magical life. He died at home, as he wanted. He died with friends, as was needed. I gave more tears at the desk and turned toward getting the word out and making sure students and faculty knew there was counseling available. “We are here if you need us,” I signed off. Morbid humor pervades the day–I find myself making cracks about the relative insanity of PhDs or listening to similar jokes about SWAT teams in camo…in the middle of the city.

Seven days of highs and lows**; an exhausting 7 days. A puny seven days. SEVEN. Life, death, music, terror, anger, sadness, and humor.

And we are still here, somehow or another, if a bit in a heartbroken daze. But, we are here, trudging ever onward and wondering if this week will bring peace or something we have not yet even begun to imagine.

*Of course, mentioning vinyl will tend to generate comments from the masses.

**And reading about bipolar disorder at the same time. Bipolar life would be more accurate at the moment.


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