We all have routines in our daily lives – they serve to provide us with structure and framework for managing our work and personal life. It is interesting how engrained one’s routines become over time. The impact of loss can affect routines in so many obvious ways but also in some ways that are much more subtle.
The week of August 6th was to be a week busy with travel for work for me for employee roadshows. Given the tragic circumstances and series of events, those sessions (along with many other work related events) needed to be cancelled.
Those employee roadshows were rescheduled for mid-September. They were on top of my list of priorities. As I approached the week, I ensured I was ready for the meetings – the conversations that I was going to have and was confident in the flow and structure of those meetings. I have a routine to prepare for presentations; employee meetings and leadership reviews.
What I didn’t realize until later that week prior to the meetings was how I was going to handle my “routine of travel”. For the past five years my husband drove me to the airport and picked me up from the airport pretty much every time I travelled. So my first challenge was how to manage going to and from the airport – sounds silly I realize but Mark was my routine for airport travel. I didn’t want to do that “different” but I had to think about how to change the routine. Mark and I also had a routine where I would text him when I got through security; boarded the plane; and landed. He wasn’t going to be there for me to text.
In a state of grief and through the grieving process – simple things like a familiar structure or routine can be almost unbearable to walk through – even simple things like business travel. At first I panicked but then in true Leslie fashion I created a plan that would suit me – not a plan I wanted, not a plan that I was sure would even work for me. I enlisted my son and his girlfriend to drive me to and from the airport. They were thrilled to help. I enlisted my sister and daughter to be my travel texting partners. They too were happy to support and help.
The travel process was different – not what I wanted and not what I want but I have no other choice. This is one of many new routines I need to build for myself. I am proud of myself that I made it through this “first” and created a plan to manage through the painful heartache a simple routine of life can present when you lose a loved one.