On March 11, 2012, I drove home after my last overnight shift. I felt incredible relief. The need for the second job was over. I would actually have days off each week.
A year later, I still find myself reflecting on that time.
The sleep deprivation. The eyes that burned from lack of sleep.
The loneliness. The loneliness of carrying a burden.
The feeling of loss. Losing precious time with my ladies.
The glimmer of hope. Hope for a different future.
Within the past couple of months, my body has finally started to let go of old habits. I don’t feel the need to take a nap at 8 pm to get ready for an overnight shift. I don’t find myself bracing at bedtime because I have to stay up all night. Now I just go to bed. And yes, some nights (most nights), I go to bed by 8:30. Don’t judge.
I look back and wonder how I made it. How did I keep going? How did I function?
Last night, I was thinking about a project I have been working on for work. And I wondered how I would have been able to complete it if I had still been working 7 days a week. I would have found a way.
I always found a way.
There were so many moments that I wanted to give up. I wanted to let someone else carry this burden.
I held on.
Because of that, I can reflect on that time without regret. The moments of sleep deprivation were fleeting, only a memory now. The moments away from my family were getting me closer to the moments I have with them right now. The moments of loneliness are replaced by my full heart.
A full heart.
A year later, I have a new life with a full heart.