Sunday, April 11, 2010

Going through the motions

April is a busy month in academia. Grading is at an all time high. Registration season hits and usually take more time than you expect. There are also lots of special events this time of year as well. Hence the light posting.

This weekend was the local conference in my discipline. I have gone ever since finishing my Ph.D. I even went last year, when I was really only moderately functional. So I went this year. Conferences are odd for me. On the one hand they are part of my job, and so the job parts provide the usual distraction from my grief. Heck, I even get to knit during the talks. On the other hand, they involve lots of semi-social settings. I don't have as much tolerance for social situations anymore.

I enjoy the socialization with the colleagues I know well. We talk about teaching, our jobs, and perhaps our families, but they all know. They know about Drew. We don't always talk about it, but that's fine. At least they won't blunder into it. In fact my research collaborator made sure to ask how the anniversary in February went and that she was thinking of me and I appreciate that.

The people I don't know at all at conferences don't bother me either. You generally stick to talking about teaching and research and nothing else. Unless I'm asked directly how many children I have, I don't have to mention Drew unless I want to. They may find out about Meg, since that is who I am knitting socks for at the moment.

The hardest part of the socialization are the people I know peripherally at conferences. Some of these people know I have twins, since I did bring them to a couple of conferences. I really don't know how many of them know that Drew died a year ago. I have had that awful awkward moment several times when someone asks how my twins are doing and I have to then tell them about Drew. Fortunately there was none of it this time.

Coming back from conferences is also hard. I am usually tired as I tend to not get as much sleep as I planned. My husband is usually tired from taking care of Meg by himself. Meg is usually quite clingy because I've been gone.

But I go through the motions, partially because it is part of my job. Partially because I used to really like conferences before Drew died. Hopefully I will get there again sometime.


  1. Its okay to go through the motions sometimes. We all have times like that. *hug*

  2. I hope that you will get there again too. It is hard when the joy or pleasure that you used to get from something just kind of . . . falls away?

    I'm sorry for the awkward questions. Although not many people do know, or will ever know, that I had twins I still get the occasional 'where's the other twin?' from medical staff as J has twin 2 plastered all over her notes. It floors me every single time.

    I'm glad that your research collaborator remembered, and said something, about Drew's anniversary. I don't think that those who do those two things, (a) remember and (b) tell us that they remembered, ever realise just how much it means.

    And I know that this is far from the points of this post but congratulations on your PhD. My brain gave out long before that point in my own academic endeavours.