Everyone is very interested. They ask all the time. In many settings and situations. The questions are usually something like these.
"Isn't it great that Sweet Briar is staying open?"
"I bet you're so relieved!"
"Are you guys staying?"
"It must be such a load off."
I smile, nod, and thank them for their concern. I should be all of those things, but I'm not and I try to get out of the conversation as quickly as possible. Why? Because in my head I'm throwing a temper tantrum. As they are walking away I go into a haze. In my head I'm screaming at the top of my lungs and stomping. I'm throwing things and rubbing my face. I'm not smiling, I'm not relieved, and it's not a load off. It's awful and complicated and hard. The raw pain is still there. We haven't been through something that will fade quickly. It has been traumatic in a way I truly didn't expect and wasn't at all prepared for. It has made our lives an emotional roller coaster from hell and it is far from over.
It would be great if the settlement resolved everything! It didn't. We are still living in a world of uncertainty and fear. The shock remains and we are jaded. I know the new administration is doing their best. We all are. We are just so tired. The fight was long and hard and it hurts. That's the best way I can explain it. I hurt. Physically and emotionally, head to toe.
It's difficult to engage with people and when I do I'm exhausted. I often go for walks around campus and get really angry. We had something amazing here and it will never be the same. In that, the closers were successful. They killed it. It will never be the same. Sweet Briar will be here, but never the way it was. I get so so angry.
We have met so many amazing people. Some have had to move on.
It looks so simple to an outsider. The college is open so we all get our jobs back so it's like it never happened right? Wrong. People had to take jobs where they could get them. Josh included. People who wanted to stay but have had to sign contracts during the uncertainty. This settlement came in the 11 hour. Perfect for some but heartbreaking for others. The pain continues. I like to think that one day it will go away. I'm not so sure though. I guess that's how it is when you're in the thick of it? You feel like it's unending. You try, but just can't quite find the way out.
I'm hoping that the rebuild will help heal some wounds. I'm afraid all it will do it make me miss those that aren't here. The missing ones who's lives were also shattered.
As they inevitably move on, I try and find my happy place. Crying wont do any good, but I cry anyway. I can't help it. But there is nothing we can do. It is what it is. It's done. And it didn't have to be.