What can stop a coding streak?

I thought nothing could stop me. Although new to coding and frustrated looking for a job in a city that is saturated with developers of all levels. Because I find great joy in learning, trying, retrying, crying, and solving, I thought nothing would really stop me from coding every day, especially while I’m on a coding tutorial binge. I mean, I love this! I stay up too late to do it. The only thing I regret is not having enough time for spinning (wool) and making things out of glue and cigar boxes.

Until I learned on 14 January that my stepsister died by suicide. I think of it as her addicted self stole her sober self’s chance at life.  For a few days, coding tutorials were a welcome distraction. Stay busy. Busy busy busy! Keep up with JavaScript30, ES6 for Everyone, and What the Flexbox. Busy busy busy. I did well to keep myself together until I drove myself up to Dallas to be with my family. There’s nothing to distract the mind on I-35. It’s a miserable ride on the best of days, so I called my dad to talk about M. I unraveled steadily, and by the time I hit I-20, I could not see through my tears.

I thought I would have days of crying, but I had only one. What followed were days filled with sighs, deep breaths, and lethargy. I slept a lot. I slept while sleeping and while awake if that paradox works for you. I felt like I was running through syrup. While in this fugue, I did nothing with my mind. I brought books, my laptop, plans for apps; I was prepared to take a break from grief with coding. It didn’t happen.

No matter how much I obsess about hashtags and tweeting what I’ve done, I was not prepared for this. It’s been a few weeks now. Her service is this weekend, and I will read Gone From My Sight by Henry van Dyke. M is not diminished. She is just not here, and now I’m starting over. Who said it, the Benedictines? Always, we begin again. I’m not a spiritual person, but as an adult who fights ADHD daily, I see this less as a gentle rule from monks as a daily huddle cheer. Along with not being spiritual, I’m also not a football fan, so I’m just mixing all the metaphors without any clue. M was both spiritual and a rabid Cowboys fan. She’d appreciate my attempt at footballery. I’m not where I was before with the amount of time dedicated to coding (improving, learning, reinforcing), but I’m upright with my laptop tap tap tippety tapping because always I begin again.

Good-bye, M. You were loved. You are missed.

5 thoughts on “What can stop a coding streak?

  1. Such eloquent words as you struggle with your grief over your stepsister, stolen from her family at way too young an age. So much for you to have to go through. And I love how you end your thoughts: “I always begin again.” So brave of you to look forward. I think your stepsister would have cheered you on for that!

    All my best of course,

  2. Katy, I’m so sorry for your loss. Such a formulaic phrase to write but I write it with tears in my eyes and every supportive thought and wish that I can send to you.

    1. Thank you. I keep telling myself this (from Other Side of the Mountain): How lucky I am to have known somebody and something that saying goodbye to is so damned awful. I’ve never seen the movie, but that doesn’t stop words from making sense. Sort of.

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