Unexpectedly, I feel as if I’ve hit a wall. I think it is a grief wall that has settled around me like the arrival of summer time humidity. It is cloying and sticky and makes me feel lethargic. Basically, I don’t want to do anything.

And there is still plenty of to do. If I made a list it would be long—ranging from the professional writing that pays the bills, to the weeds beckoning from my garden, to the vintage yard chairs waiting to be painted and the chicken coop needing to be cleaned. But what I really feel drawn to is sitting on the rocker on my back porch. That’s what seems soothing to me.

As a compromise I bring my computer to the porch with me. I treat myself with kindness.as if I am terribly sick and need extra care. Instead of criticizing myself and demanding more work from my tender heart, I take frequent breaks. Working in short bursts rather than trying to squeeze out a whole project in one day. I move with the lethargy of a long, hot summer’s day.

I stop and make sun tea. Put some potatoes on to boil for potato salad. I think of summer foods that would nurture my body and spirit.remembering my mother’s love of tuna salad sandwiches. My husband and I lived briefly in her farm house with her after my father died. At the time, I was just getting started as a professional writer, making my way into the world of self-employment.

On sunny summer days I could see my mother working in her garden from the windows where I worked at the computer writing science test questions (my first contract). At lunch time, she would come in and make us both tuna sandwiches. She’d put them on plates with chips and pickles and then call to me saying “lunch is ready.” We would sit side by side on her deck or in her kitchen and share our lunches.

Sometimes we’d tell each other stories or talk about our individual projects. Sometimes we would be silent. Occasionally we would problem solve one of the many decisions at hand related to my father’s death and all that he left behind.

On days like today, when I find myself against the wall of grief that has bubbled up, I long for those lunch breaks—for the nourishment of a sandwich made by my mother; for that unique time and space we shared in the first year after my father’s death and before my mother’s illness.

I think about how, when I’m feeling this way I’m really called to pay attention. To be still long enough to collect a memory like this one—of my mother making me lunch. And in that stillness, I find that I can relish the memory and use it to feel connected to her once again. I can also notice the things that feel nurturing to me now, on this heavy-hearted day; doing just the things my body and spirit are telling me to do. Working in short bursts or not at all, taking frequent breaks when I do work, resting, drinking lots of water and making myself a tuna sandwich with pickles and chips on the side.