I think by the time we woke up on the next morning, I had come to some sort of acceptance that this time here was not going to be what we thought it was. It was not going to be what it was said it would be. It was not going to be what we needed.
It was just going to be a few days with friends. A chance to relax a little. So I relaxed some and tried to relax.
It was hard, though. I even said that I feel like I am carrying a bucket of un-cried tears with me everywhere. As if I was balancing that bucket of tears on my head, trying to walk carefully and not spill.
(I can carry a bucket on my head and walk, but usually not of liquid, just something like laundry or food. Sometimes, I do it here - walking down the school hallway with something balanced on my head. It never fails to astound my daughter's class!)
So we rested that day. As much as you can rest with a heart full of tears. This day was one of the better days, all in all. We set out to wear ourselves out physically. To make it a short story - we did!
But even this day was interrupted on by a person who kept calling. Every day had been, and with every ring of the telephone, the atmosphere tensed. There was still the lingering feelings from that first night, and different people reacted differently to this need to communicate. Some did it in short sections. Others refused to completely and were upset about it. There was disagreements in the ranks about how this should be done, and that was again a hanging tenseness on all this time which continued for several days. Remnants of the pothole. That stress which had sent us all on different detours kept us apart during the journey. At times, we would bump into each other and walk together for some time, and then our paths would separate again. It was a really awkward thing, and I wished that it had never happened - that this person had never caused this pothole... but it had, and it continued to cast its shadow over the whole journey to normal.
All in all, though, it was a nice day. We got away from crowds and spent time out in nature. It was a day I would have absolutely loved if I wasn't trying to balance this bucket of tears. At times, I wanted to just pull away from people, to stop trying to smile and enjoy - to just sit. Other times, I just wanted to scream at people - wake up! What are we doing?! Are you never going to have time to listen? To just walk away and stop pretending I was getting better. But my husband needed me, too. I couldn't.
Frustration began to be my close companion during this time. Intense frustration. Being silenced when I needed to speak. I wanted to be home, to at least be where I could talk to a friend... The pothole had caused someone to say that we should not be on our computers... not talking.... So that effectively cut me off from other support systems I might have gone too. It was a very lonely time in a place where I should not be lonely.
In the afternoon, I did get some time to talk with my husband. To hear what he needed. To talk about hitting that pothole - and share why we hit it so hard. To repair the damage between him and me. From that point on in this journey, we were able to work together. We still had our different journeys. We had to walk our own paths, but we began to learn how to tell each other what we needed and we tried to help each other when we could. He was not yet able to listen to me, but at least we were able to communicate well and try to work together.
The day ended with laughter and games - which was fun. Some outlets for frustration in physical activity (although an old injury acting up caused more frustration at the pain involved in physical activity!). Some outlet for it in playing games. I am extremely competitive, but also have a great sense of humor and really don't care if I win - only if we played hard, so I love playing games.
That evening, however, two things happened that were good. Someone stopped to pray for me. That helped. And I wrote two things. The first was a letter to someone telling them that the phone call late that first night was not necessary and that I don't want calls so late. That is our family time - time for my husband and me. Then I decided I don't care - I am going to start to write, and I opened up my blog.
I am a words person.... if I can't talk, then I at least need to write! So I wrote my first blog post during that time - "When Silence is Deafening." Ah, it felt so good to finally have a voice again!!
Then I went to bed and my husband and I sat talking. He wanted to leave - to go to his family. He gave me the choice to come with him or stay. I did not feel welcome where I was and knew that I needed to appear at my in-laws. It would be a stressful time, but they needed to see both of us. My husband would need the back up. He would need me beside him smiling and talking.
I just am not a smile pretty and talk nice type of person. I love people, but I quickly tire of mindless talk about nothing. And his family, while great people, know only what they know. So I was in for days of shopping, drinking tea, admiring decorations, and discussing vacations and recipes. Not what I needed right then - but my husband needed me to do it. So we planned when we would leave. After church the next day, we would pack and go. It was good to begin to talk to him, to at least find out where his journey was headed and see how I could help him.
We curled up together to sleep, and it wasn't until he rolled over and began to gently snore that the tears seeped quietly out of my eyes. We're leaving. Leaving without ever really having been here. And I cried.
I had faced so much criticism for going there; criticism that we would continue to face for weeks to come, and it turned out this way. A broken thing... as if someone took it and dropped it, and it broke into pieces. A broken treasure - not of any use... not beautiful. I cried quietly that night and slept fitfully. Thankful at least not to sleep deeply enough to go into the nightmares, but so restless and exhausted.
I watched the moon through the trees out of the window, quietly lying in my bed thinking... I didn't want to leave. I didn't want to stay, either. I just was sad. Very sad. Confused. Hurt. Frustrated. But above all else, sad. And it was going to end like this... sad.
Then the sky began to change to that hue that signals the sun's arrival will be soon, and I rolled over to sleep for an hour or two.