Just Frances

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I wobbled

This entry was posted on Monday, November 7th, 2016 by Frances Ryan.
Tags: widowhood, sad, phd, fear, faith, crazy, confession, broken ankle

Sometimes in life, you wobble. And no matter how strong and sturdy you thought you were, you begin to sway back and forth; wobbling. That’s what happened to me these past few days: I have started to wobble.

The past few years have been filled with more wobbles that I could ever imagine. I suppose it’s because the Widowhood Package that was installed when Paul died isn’t as stable as previous versions of Just Frances. But I have grown to understand that wobbling is a part of my life now, and so I expect it.

I expect it around certain anniversaries (weddings, death, and first meetings). And I have come to expect it around holidays. Those specific “widow wobbles” are a bit easier for others to understand, which makes it less awkward for me.

But I have also learned that wobbles now come when I am experiencing stress and upset. Although in recent years, it takes a lot more stress and upset to cause a wobble. (Unlike early widowhood, when something as simple as running out of toothpaste was cause for three days’ sobbing!)

The frustrating thing, however, is that sometimes the wobbles come when I feel like I should be standing strong. And that’s what happened with this wobble.

Life has been relatively good. I have enjoyed a bit of academia-related travelling (with some free time, to boot!). I have relaxed at a private river-side lodge. I have explored bits of my beloved Scotland. And I have been very motivated with my PhD work.

And I have been looking forward to some great things in my future. I have been looking forward to spending time with friends. I have been looking forward to completing my PhD. And I have been looking forward to life after my PhD.

And so, when this latest wobble arrived, I was unprepared. But I think I know why I have wobbled: It’s because of a slow build-up of little things. And I suppose I have felt it coming on for a while now. I have been feeling a bit frustrated with all of life’s little disappointments: the on-going (though improving) misery of a broken ankle, and the lack of exercise that brings; an increased feeling of loneliness as the holidays approach; and the same interpersonal struggles I have battled for far too long.

And if I am completely honest, I think that the final push to my wobbling is because I am starting to realise that finishing my PhD might well mean starting over again in a new land. I might find myself with no other option than to move far away from where I know, where I will be an outsider yet again. Alone. With no support network. And I don’t know if I have the strength to face such isolation. (I know: I have wobbled over whatifs.)

And wobbling without a confidant(e) beside you makes the wobbling last a little bit longer.

So yes, I have wobbled. And I am still wobbling a bit now. But, much like a Weeble, I may wobble, but I won’t fall down. And I am sure that I will straighten out soon and I will be standing tall and brave before too long.

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