It’s rare for me to be speechless but a month ago today Ron’s opening sentence to me (as we started the commute home) stilled any words for what seemed like 5 minutes. His news was shocking to say the least and every day I am still processing it.
It started as a routine Tuesday where Ron dropped me off at work and was in the office 30 minutes before it opened as was his usual routine. Which meant that he had his day organized and emails answered when he was called to the Associate VP’s office. That was when his work day ended as he was laid off from his job when they terminated his position. Just like that – gone.
There are no answers to why and no explanations, which is probably what I find the hardest. At this moment we are still waiting for closure as many University items remain in limbo. It’s hard to move forward when there are loose ends to tie up. It seems odd to me that it has taken a month and things aren’t sorted out but by the end of that work Tuesday the U of S website was changed and Ron had disappeared.
Now I recognize that sometimes there are silver linings in storm clouds and so I’m looking for that. The day-to-day items are easier to find like the fact that he has time for projects, vacuuming and cooking. In fact every day when I come home it’s like a treasure hunt to see what sorts of things have been keeping him busy. He likes to keep me guessing and see how acute my observation skills are. I’m so glad that we had bought him a new saw a month before all this happened as it has made all of these building projects easier.
We are blessed that so many family and friends have reached out to ensure that we are both ok and his answer is different from mine. He says, and I quote, “I’m doing ok but Bernie isn’t handling it as well”. This seems to be a true story at this moment because I believe I am still in momma bear mode. I’m still angry that he gave them 10 years of loyal and dedicated service and boom. Gone without a thank you or a hand shake; indeed escorted from the building. I’m having trouble achieving the level of acceptance he is at and perhaps it is because he has experience at laying people off so understands that you have to move on. Plus he left his mark on campus in many projects and so perhaps that helps knowing that those buildings will stand the test of many administrators. Maybe our cultural work norm has a bearing on it as well; i’ve been a nurse for 36 years and in the same facility for almost 33 of those years while he has changed jobs and directions a few times in that same span.
We definitely handle things differently and I’m a list maker and a planner in most aspects of my life. I like to dot i’s and cross t’s and then double-check that list. Right now it feels like we threw out part of the life list and are winging it. I have learnt to embrace travelling that way and so am now working on a little more flexibility in what the near future holds. This while at the same time being more dedicated to getting up on time and driving myself to work so it’s an odd mix!
But I recognize that, although it is life changing, it isn’t really life altering. It isn’t a heart attack, cancer, an accident or a disability. It is just time to rebuild his career and move on a new path. It’s not the direction we had planned but who knows maybe it’s a better plan although it does delay my retirement (insert slightly sad face here). A bit of a “get out of debt card” so to speak. A chance to examine what he would like to do with the remaining years of his career.
There is no doubt that it was a Tumultuous Tuesday as one of his colleagues pointed out. Our axis shifted a little but with some time and perspective we are learning to stand at this new angle.