I was lucky enough to take nearly my whole leave off. I went back to work a couple weeks earlier than originally planned. During my time off, between the crying and blank stares, I was feeling okay. Still sad, but okay. And by that, I mean I no longer cried all day long and had somewhat accepted what happened.
Then I had to go back to work. Part of me was excited to see everyone and get back into a routine and the other part of me was paralyzed with fear.
Scared people would look at me with eyes of pity.
Scared I’d cry.
Scared people would ask me questions.
Scared people wouldn’t say anything at all.
Scared people didn’t know what happened.
All of those happened the moment I walked in the door. I started bawling. I felt so out of place. The last time I was at work was a week before I had Joshua, awaiting my new arrival. The last time I was at work, I was happy.
Going back to work was a huge step back in my progress to my “new normal”.
I was back to the grind within minutes. The majority of people didn’t say more than “hi, nice to have you back”. But there were some who truly cared. You could see it in their eye when they asked, “how are you?” and said, “I haven’t stopped praying for you and your family since I heard”. That meant more to me than they knew.
The ones I appreciated the most were those who came up to me and said more than a few brief sentences. People told me they were sorry. Somehow that one word felt so good. Some told me that Joshua is a angel watching down on us (which I truly believe). One even said, “think how special your son is that God wanted him right now”. Thank you, he is special!
Then there are people who don’t know what to say so they don’t say anything at all. I get it, I hardly know what to say myself. And sadly, I’ve been that person before. It hurts. Saying nothing is way worse that saying something. Even if you don’t have the words, say something. Anything. Acknowledge there was a loss, acknowledge there was a life. I think people don’t say anything in part because they don’t want to make me sad. But the truth is, I am sad. Saying something is not going to make me more sad. Saying something validates his life. Makes him feel more real, more here.
It makes me happy to talk about my son. I don’t get enough times that I get to talk about him since he’s no longer here. I don’t get to talk about his milestones or how much fun we had over the weekend, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a part of my life. He was and will always be a huge part of my life.
With anyone going through some sort of loss…talk to them. Talk about the person they lost. Talk about their grief. Talk about how you’re continually thinking of them or praying for them. Most importantly, acknowledge the loss and how much that person meant to them.