It has been a rough handful of days here for me. Back a week and a half, if we get down to it.

Sunday the 9th, I found the mold in my apartment.

Monday the 10th, they cleaned it up, took out my hot water heater, and freaked me out about the air in the pipes.

While talking to Dad about that problem, he told me that Grandma Fritz was in the hospital because of a stroke. She was doing okay and recovering fine, and ended up going back home, with Dee to watch over her, on Tuesday. She’s still doing fine, as far as I know, but I was worried about her.

I got an email from Mom on Friday the 14th saying that the same Tuesday that Grandma Fritz was released from the hospital, Grandma Mick went in to the hospital for a stroke. She is also, so far as I know, doing fine and recovering well.

When I got to work on Tuesday of this week, I heard that one of my coworkers, Mike, was in the hospital for a relapse of his stroke and was not doing well. He’d been out of the office for a while — first he thought he had a sinus infection. Then they said he had a stroke. And then he was in physio-therapy and recovering well. And then he was back in the hospital.

He passed away this morning. He was a dear, sweet man who should have lived much longer and it’s really been hard on a lot of us at work.

This is not the first death in my department. Last September, a young woman, in her early 40’s, passed unexpectedly. There was nothing wrong with her, that I know of. The year before that, October 2012, the wife of one of my coworkers passed after a long illness. There have been several others, mothers of coworkers and brothers of coworkers. The more people I know at work, the more I hear about these hard times.

And with Dee’s husband Paul’s son passing late last month and Justin’s stepdad’s brother passing in that same week, it’s been a dark time.

Justin’s stepdad’s brother was the primary caretaker for their mother, who has late-stage Alzheimer’s, so he had to fly out to California to take care of her and decided what was going to happen — whether she would come back to Vermont with him or something else would happen in California. And she needs a lot of care.

And a lot of hard stuff has happened lately, during the time that Justin is away in California. Which makes it more lonely in the house and makes me miss him more.

There is, of course, goodness happening in between all of this that’s been helping to balance out things.

The coworker whose wife passed away two years ago — he recently became engaged with a really wonderful woman at work and they are the cutest thing to watch. Absolutely adorable and she is going to be a great mom to those two little girls.

Erica’s wonderful announcement yesterday was a big part of how I made it through the day without just breaking down into tears any time I stopped to think about my coworker.

The video on her website, by the way, is amazing and you should go watch it, if you haven’t already been over there.

And the party that I had on Sunday, a few days ago, was a lot of fun and I’ve been able to really bond more with several of the women I work with, which is something I’ve struggled with in the past.

But really, there’s just SO MUCH I can handle at one time.

So unless there’s *really* something that needs to get done, I’m taking a break. I’m watching movies and playing video games and curling up with all the blankets and baking things for the fun of it. All the rest can wait until I’m ready.