Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Metamorphosis

A butterfly goes through several life-changing stages before it emerges into its final beautiful self.

Although a common and well- known metaphor for change and rebirth, I can't help but think that today was my time to emerge from a caterpillar into a chrysalis. 

A caterpillar's main goal is to grow and survive by eating a lot. (So far it sounds exactly like my summer since Glenn died.:) I have been able to respond to my waves of emotions as they crashed. I could nurture my grief, work through it, or at times, give into it. It was a summer where I was able to concentrate on my own healing. There was no timetable to which I needed to adhere.

But just as a caterpillar reaches maturity from eating and growing and then changing into the next stage, I did too. Today I became a chrysalis.

It was the first day of our teacher workshops today.  It is always an exhausting first day; beginning with a staff "rally" early in the morning, followed by meetings, classroom preparation and culminating in a two-hour open house  to welcome our students and their families. It was the first day I had to truly function. I couldn't retreat as a caterpillar and eat and grow. And the memories...of eating a delivered sandwich together in the parking lot because I didn't have time to come home-of calendars from last year with notes to remind G to "pick up M and A" at 5:00,because their parents both teach and couldn't make the connection-of sharing first impressions of students-and finally every year, of expressing the fact that we were lonely for each other after spending the entire summer together everyday. It was emotional.

And it was hard. I slept about three hours last night, so I awoke tired and edgy. In the swarm of people at the rally I was whisked up by dear friends. Misty shared that she too had been awake thinking of Glenn and memories for  a good share of the night. On my other side sat Trudi, my dear Trudi  who I have loved since Chris was in 6th grade. I was surrounded by support and friends.  It was safe. I was emerging. I managed to plan my lunch around making time to come home to let Boo outside, and I also found time to chat and laugh with my lunch buddies and colleagues. Emerging a bit more. 

Suddenly it was time to do our dog-and-pony- show for the new crew coming in. I had to take a few minutes because the tears were threatening to happen. My self-confidence was wavering. I took a few deep breaths and recovered. I looked out and saw my wonderful neighbors in the audience and made eye-contact..they gave a little wave and a smile. Their support helped me get stronger. Several times, various friends came and just stood in the background and gave me the "look" which relayed that they were there for me. 

The description of a chrysalis(also known as a pupa) says that "although it may look as if nothing is going on, there are big changes happening inside."

Yes. There are big changes happening on the inside. I am growing, healing and will someday totally emerge. Apparently the time frame that a chrysalis remains in that state before the final change to a butterfly, can be months or years.

Emerging in my own time.