Sunday, November 27, 2011

Coming to terms

This will be the last week of the Michaelmas term.  It is always very busy.  In addition to the usual week's teaching (lectures, supervisions, MPhil seminar, research seminar, B Club) and meetings (College executive body) in our wisdom we choose this as the week for the first examiners' meeting of the year to prepare for the Tripos exams in the summer and also the submission of the first MPhil essays for marking.  It is also the week to meet and talk to all my philosophy students in Corpus and my tutees, to go over the term and set work for the vacation.

It is also the week before the admissions interviews for next year's undergraduates begin.  That means that there is no slack whatsoever for things to spill over into the next week because we will be busy making decisions and interviewing candidates.

This term has been particularly punishing.  I've taken on more teaching than I should and lost a few days to an -- excellent, it has to be said -- conference in the middle.

But more than that, I have been struggling day by day since my Mum died in October.  The funeral was difficult, of course, but that was an acute sadness.  Worse than that is the fact that there has been a constant feeling of sheer exhaustion dogging me ever since we heard she was ill in September.  Perhaps I should have stopped and taken some time off.  But, strangely, I have felt better at work than at home, talking to people who aren't my family about things not to do with my family, and thinking about things that are more disconnected from the loss.  The weekends are the hardest.  And now Christmas...  I'm not the most festive of people in any case, but I really don't want Christmas this year.  It will be strange, no doubt, and sad for us all.  As will every birthday without her, and every new year, and every milestone her grand-daughters pass.  We'll all stick together and we'll get through it.  But the mince pies don't seem very appetising right now.

1 comment:

Steffen said...

Dear James,

I read your blog every week. I'm sorry to hear about your loss. My condolences.