TL;DR I’m taking a break.
Don’t all shout OH NO at once.
Oh, but seriously, read on if you like.
This might be a short and rather somber walk. Bear with me.
During the last weekend of March, we learned of the passing of a family member. The death was sudden, unfair, and heartbreaking. The person who died was far too young – as was repeated over and over again last week, parents should never bury their children. Everything still feels rough and raw, and the healing is only just beginning.
This terrible situation was concurrently exacerbated by a crisis with our cat and really bad news I received at work. Because sometimes, the universe is goddamned hilarious.
The cat is better, by the way. We still have a ways to go.
I don’t really want to talk about death and stuff; I’m not sure what I’d have to say anyway. Plus, I’m still just too sad to think about it. Instead, I wanted to take a moment to say how grateful I am that today’s society takes mental health much more seriously than ever. I really feel that, even just a decade ago, we were still living in a world where, when a death occurred, you took your three “bereavement days” off from work, and then were expected to go back on the fourth all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Sure, people readily said “take all the time you need,” with the subtext being but not that much time. Because after family crises, normal people pick themselves up by their bootstraps to face life head on! They are nothing if not survivors! Suck it up! Be a man! Just do it!!
If only life actually worked that way. I know it does for some, but situations like grieving aren’t one-size-fits-all. I suppose I’m lucky(?) to say this, but this is the first time that a family member younger than me has died. The grief accompanying this death is far more complex than what I ever felt over the death of a grandparent. To be honest, it’s all very weird and my brain simply doesn’t know yet how to process things. It’s just gonna take time.
Y’know what has been strangely helpful? Fallout 4. I have slowly been getting back into finishing up the game’s story (at least), but most recently, I have been engrossed in caring for many of the settlements that I had opened and previously ignored. I had initially built up the primary settlement, Sanctuary Hills, just fine, but all else was in dire need. And so I started tending. Hangman’s Alley needs more beds? Let me get right on foraging for cloth! Outpost Zimonja needs more food? I’ll be back soon with lots of seeds! Sunshine Tidings Co-op is low on defenses? I’ll start gathering steel, oil, and circuitry right away! It might sound minor, but watching the happiness of each settlement rise filled me with hope, which I didn’t realize how desperately needed. I was helping to save the survivors, to make things a little better for people making the best of living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Before, I had really thought of the settlement-tending as needless busy work in the game. Now, I look forward to logging on to see who I can help out today.
In dealing with the muck and mire of real life, it’s all too easy to forget that one of the reasons we’re on this planet is to help and be helped. I have to admit that I really didn’t want to write about any of this, mostly because I’ve already gone through half a box of kleenex during just these few paragraphs, and it’s my last box. But here I am now, 500+ choppy words in, and at least I’m feeling a little less weighted, if a little more snotty, about everything.
As part of all this, I’m taking a little time away from blogging to heal, to process, and to try to get back to “normal,” so this is my last post for April. I’ll still be around and will try to interact with all y’all awesome people as best I can. My intent is to return in May as my cheery ol’ self, pining for the 90s (but not really), sharing all sorts of nonsense about music and games, and clogging up your feeds with plenty of silly fodder. Thanks for reading, and know that it helped.