Last week, I was stressed to the max about the yearbook. Then, I had a weird health thing that made me very anxious all weekend (it is NOT cause for alarm at all). In the midst of all of this, my grandfather was in the hospital. He was 97 years old last June and, until about two weeks ago, he was a little forgetful but basically doing very, very well. He was sweet and always smiling. He was my mother's stepfather but he'd been my grandfather all of my life. On Tuesday night, after a short stint in the hospital (which I'd basically expected him to get over quickly because he always had before), he died. He was ready to go, I think, and my grandmother very kindly told him he was free if he was ready.
This week, I have some ongoing stress, I turned in the yearbook to the printer, and I am dealing with a series of plan-changers. My grandfather's funeral will make my schedule hectic. My nephew's summer internship changes the timeline of my plans to sell my house (and thank God, actually, because I need some extra time!). My upcoming writing retreat comes at a kind of bad time. And, on top of all of this, I still have the dog to care for (she needs all her shots next Tuesday), my house to try and keep tidy, and my work to maintain. For months, I've had very little going on. Now, everything is happening. It's the way it always goes: when it rains, it pours.
In the past, I would have crumbled under all of this stress. I still want to crumble, don't get me wrong, but I don't actually do it as much (or for as long, anyway). I was talking to my friend this week about all of my stress and she pointed out that I have a lot going on right now. It's OK to be stressed. It's OK to ask for help in the form of listening or dog sitting or class coverage. I need it right now. I can't do all this on my own. I'm not always great at asking for help. Recently, I was reminded of this when the 3D printers I was using for my Intro to 3D Printing class both stopped working. I felt panicked, sick, and absolutely frantic trying to figure out how to fix them. Then, someone (probably my therapist!) reminded me that I didn't have to do it on my own. I could ask for help. When I did, I got it! In fact, as I type this, a new 3D printer is humming away next to me, working on a student's design.
I don't know when my dread of asking for help began, but I know it's been around a long time. Once, in kindergarten, I wet my pants because I was afraid to ask to go to the bathroom during a movie. In college, I stayed up for days in a row trying to work on a paper until my roommate basically blackmailed me into asking the professor for an extension (it really was an act of kindness, I was losing my mind). He gave it to me and was very understanding. I've spent so much time being afraid to admit I need help in any form. Finally, I'm getting to a place where I can ask. Since I've opened up about needing help with things, I've found my anxiety has improved significantly.
So, here I am planning two long drives, a stomach churning medical appointment, and a bunch of sub plans for my students. It's more than I really wanted to deal with right now, but I wouldn't change it if I had the chance. I loved my dear Pappaw. I look forward to celebrating his life next Monday. I will miss him, but I know he is happy and painless and probably smiling at a bunch of people I love right this minute.