Ready or Not, Life is Full of Surprises

It has been months since I posted anything here and though that’s not completely unexpected for me, I’m disappointed that I’ve let it lapse for so long. There have been reasons for this.

First off, my job changed drastically and quite unexpectedly. I’ve worked in the same library system for 13+ years, at the same location for five years and felt happy and content there. But my employer has a strategy of shuffling managerial staff around for various reasons. They do it periodically and it usually involves three or four people. Despite the fact that this is the way things work, I was taken completely off guard when I received a call on a Thursday afternoon in late March informing me I was being moved.

My first reaction was tears – couldn’t stop them. Several people who were there cried as well and we shared hugs and thoughts meant to focus on the bright side.

This was not the first transfer I’ve been part of, but it was the most poignant. Eight of us were relocated and I went from the most genteel location to one of the least. Not only was this unexpected, but it was precipitous. The move was effective a week from the following Monday.

That night my mother-in-law, Frances, had a stroke, though we didn’t realize it, yet. And on Friday she was hospitalized. The damage from the stroke was devastating and irreversible and she passed away on April 1st.

Frances was laid to rest in the same cemetery where Robert’s and my son, Joshua, was buried. We decided to have him moved to the same grave as his grandmother. It was something that had never been done there before, but they did a good job of it. They wrapped his tiny casket in a blanket and placed it on Frances’ casket as it was being lowered.

This delayed my start at the new location and added greater depth to the grief I was already feeling. I don’t want to make this move sound awful – or say that I don’t like it. The part of me that loves humanity and yearns to spend efforts on loving and helping others receives this with open arms and grateful heart. It’s the part who loved her previous coworkers and the part that’s a little anxious about rough social challenges that feels reticence.

So yes, this branch has some seriously rough spots. We have armed off-duty police officers on guard during the busiest parts of the day. And yes, we’ve made four 9-1-1 calls since I arrived – three with me the manager on duty, two involving knives…both of those were last week! This element is the reason I didn’t want to come. Several years ago – at a more tame branch – I was attacked by an autistic woman. She boxed my ears and ruptured one of my ear drums. So, I know that working in a nicer area doesn’t guarantee my safety, but psychologically, it feels like it.

This year my branch was one of three chosen as a site to extend the government subsidized free lunch program to children during the summer months. I can’t say enough about how wonderful this is and how it touches me, but I will say that it is a huge amount of work, especially for people who are used to dishing up novels and knowledge, rather than sandwiches and milk.

So, I’m learning a new location, a new community, a new staff, a new work partner – and it all takes mental and emotional energy. Did I mention that summers at the library are insanely busy? Plus, we’ve had the usual vacations, meetings, and training as well as some not-so-usual ones as we prepare for huge renovations in 2015.

In the end, what I’m saying is that I’ve been a little preoccupied and out of the spirit for blogging, but I’m working on rekindling the spark.

There is also the matter of the alternate identity I’ve been creating. She is known to only 3 or 4 people, so she gives me greater autonomy and anonymity for research and contacts related to my reading and writing projects. That ID has a blog, too, but she’s been subject to the same pressures as I have and she’s been silent as well, though she’s having some fun recently learning how to use instagram.

I wanted to attach a picture to this post, but can’t seem to manage it using this phone. That’s another skill to add to the growing list of things to learn. They say learning new things will keep you young, so I’ve got time.

I’m using a regular PC now and have a picture to attach. I hope it won’t seem to be in poor taste. It shows Frances and Joshua’s final resting place together. Frances doesn’t have a marker, yet, but Joshua’s is 18 years old and stands there for them both.