When I started working again after Joshua died, I cried everyday on my way home from work. And I must be honest, I’d sometimes cry on my way to work and during work. It was hard to hold back the tears.
I cried in the car because I remembered spending time with Joshua in the car, just the two of us. A song would come on the radio and I’d remember singing along when I was pregnant. I wanted to make sure he knew my voice and knew about God. I only listened to a Christian radio station while I was pregnant. [Over]protective mama-mode kicked in; I didn’t want my baby exposed to non-Christian music at such a young age. In the car, I’d also cry because I just made it through one more day at work and today was better or maybe worse than the day before. It didn’t matter what it was at that point, anything would start the tears.
At work I would cry when people asked me about Joshua or gave me their condolences. But mainly I’d cry because I felt like nothing mattered at work. Before I went on leave, I loved my job. Yes, some things at my job brought me down and after years of working for the same company, I was ready for much deserved time off just the baby and me! Then one of the most life-altering events happened to me which made me reevaluate just about every aspect of my life. When I got back to work, I felt like it didn’t mean anything. I wasn’t changing the world. I sat at my desk numb.
Aside from feeling like my job wasn’t important anymore, between what people call “pregnancy brain”, the stress, and my 10 weeks off work, I was fuzzy. My foggy brain extended past work. At church someone asked me what my parent’s names were and my husband had to answer for me. Embarrassingly I could not even recall my own parent’s names! At work, doing simple daily tasks took twice as long; this is, if I even remembered how to do them. I would sit in meetings and think, what the heck is everyone talking about? I used to be on top of meetings, contributing and taking away new to-dos, but soon after I was back to work I’d just stare blankly. All I could think about was, there’s more to life than what I’m doing right now.
It didn’t help that my new manager that I got while on leave is not a compassionate person. My first day back at work, I didn’t expect a welcome back party, but I expected a brief meeting to go over my transition back to work, any changes that happened in the last 10 weeks, and for her to check in on how I was doing in general. My new manager breezed by my desk an hour after I had arrived on my first day back, simply said hi and walked away. A while later I passed her in the hall and said, “Do you have 5 minutes today where we could catch up and go over my transition back?”. She got a weird look on her face, “Yeah…….I’m really busy, I’ll set up a meeting with you sometime this week.” She didn’t say more than “hi” to me until we met three weeks later after I followed up with her two more times to meet.
It’s now been two months and I can say that I’m much more content with my job; almost to the point where I love it again. I no longer cry in the car and seldom cry at work (only if I read a sad story in the news or I am chatting with someone about Joshua). In the beginning, I wanted to throw in the towel, but would quitting my job or getting a new job make me any happier – no. It wasn’t my job I was unhappy with, it was life in general. I was (and am) still grieving and still reevaluating my life. My job isn’t going to take the pain away from losing my son, but I am grateful for my job which keeps my mind on something other than my grief.