Right now, at this very minute, I have the dust and debris from the remains of someone's life stuck in my sinuses. It is uncomfortable but I will live. Yet my heart is breaking for this loss.
Just after the beginning of the year, a faculty member, our co-worker, passed away unexpectedly. He was a wonderful person who always went out of his way to help others. He always made time for others. He set an amazing example for others. He is greatly missed. His family came by his office and took some personal items away with them. Some of the books and research files were taken from his office by other faculty members. Then there was still a room full of materials to be dealt with.
Our supervisor called together all the clerical staff. We all agreed that if we all went in, full blast, we could get the office cleaned out in one sitting and it would be done. Besides the physical stress, the dust, and other allergens, we knew there would be an emotional toll.
My back and knees are strained from lifting heavy files repeatedly (file after file - four horizontal cabinets full). My sinuses are burning and inflamed from dust. Worse, though, someone's life came down to all this research, files, books, and magazines that no one else wants or cares about. I felt like we were losing him all over again. All that he had left behind was now being washed away on a tide into huge blue recycle bins.
It sounds silly to say it outloud. So I'll leave it at that. I'll go now to my car, through the rain that will wash all the dust away (the last of his dust) and continue on for another day.