Friday, November 19, 2010

Back to Work

Yesterday was my first day back to work since Adelyn died. For the first few weeks, I actually wanted to go back. I thought being busy and getting out of this house would be good for me. I could not bear to be in this house in the quiet, especially during Sierra's nap time. Then, as I started feeling physically better, I started getting out more. My phone was ringing - or should I say "dinging" from all the texts - my facebook inbox was jammed with messages and invites from all kinds of people. I never felt so popular! So, I started taking advantage of it. Every day, Sierra and I would go somewhere with friends - library class, mall, lunch, dinner, gymnastics class. And suddenly, I was actually enjoying myself. As the last of my 7 week leave neared, I started dreading going back. I always dread going back after being off all summer, but this was different. Somehow, I felt even more connected to Sierra. After all, she had been the glue holding us all together. She made us laugh when I never thought it was possible. She took care of us, without even realizing it. After losing Adelyn, I decided that I did not want to miss a second of Sierra's life. I could experience it with her, but I was robbed of that chance with Adelyn.

But, as we know, life is unfair and I HAD to go back to work. So I tried to enjoy the last few days and prepared myself to be back in the old routine. I was ok until the drive to work. I felt it - the lump in my throat. I fought it back, but it won. Only for a minute. Then I was stopped behind the school bus and the lump was back. My phone "dinged" - text message from my cousin talking about taking her mother-in-law for her colonoscopy. I laughed and decided - it could be worse. The lump was gone! I walked into the office to sign in, and it wasn't so bad. I passed a few people, who said "welcome back!" I made it to my room and through my first group of kids, who seemed excited to have me back. I made it through lunch, but then the day started to drag. I tried to focus and do some paperwork. As I was reading through a report my sub had done to make sure I liked the goals she picked, I noticed it - date team reviewed existing data 9/29/2010. Really? You mean people actually did normal things on that day, the worst day EVER? How dare them. I got a little sad, stared at it for a moment, and moved on. Finally, it was time to leave. I made it through the whole day without a breakdown. Amazing. And, it wasn't so bad. But I have to admit, doing something for the first time since Adelyn died is always hard. I think back to the last time I did it, the last time I was in that building, about how happy and excited I was. And now I was back, without my baby, without that exciting thing to look forward to, and it makes me SO sad.

Day 2: a different school, so like reliving another first day. I get there before most of the teachers, but I was still feeling sad on the very short drive to work. Some things never change - the room I share still had crap and boxes piled everywhere. But - a new computer chair!! Finally - that old one hurt my back. I tried to get organzied but ended up chatting with a few teachers. I was impressed with how everyone in that building treated me. It was like someone had given them a lesson on how to talk to bereaved people. No one made me feel like an alien. There were no awkward, sad looks. Just genuine, caring words and looks. Maybe I was just in a good place that day, so I didn't take everything as people giving me the "poor her" look, I don't know. Most people said welcome back, how's your day going, we're here if you need us, etc. People didn't even seem uncomfortable when I talked a little bit about it. Some of the kids I see slipped - apparently the principal and guidance counselor had talked to them about me coming back and told them not to ask me about it because some things were private. So, 2 kids said "I'm not going to talk about your baby." Well, you just brought it up! One asked if my belly was going to get bigger again - I said I hope not (unless I get pregnant again, that is). And the worst of all - I pulled out picture cards and of course one of a baby eating was on top. A first grader said "how's your baby?" and then "is it a boy or girl?" Darn lump came back in my throat and I thought I could lose it. Calmly, I redirected him and said we were not going to talk about that. And we moved on. At lunch, teachers asked how my day was doing and I told them about that comment. They all seemed genuinely upset for me. I even noticed when talking to the school nurse, who just had a baby girl in August, that she only talked about her older son to me. She did not bring up her baby at all - and I know how hard that is. I'm thankful that she was so considerate. I did talk to her prior to going back to work about how hard it was going to be for me to hear about all the new babies in the building. But she actually listened. Of course there were 3 other women who just had babies and their babies were all healthy. The rest of the day went fast, but I found myself feeling overwhelmed. So much to do, things to organize, and I just couldn't focus enough to get it all done. But, another day checked off the calendar. I'm still counting down until June, when I can be home with Sierra again - and hopefully a little closer to a rainbow.


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