Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to Work

So, tomorrow I return to work.

I haven't worked since the first week of February.

What I've gone through since then has been awful, but being home has been good. Very good. I like being home. It's safe. There aren't too many unexpected triggers and stresses, so my days are predictable and my grief is fairly manageable. I don't think it will be that way once I'm working again.

As wonderfully supportive as most of my coworkers have been, it will be hard to see them tomorrow and receive their sympathy. Sympathy is lovely, but it triggers my emotions. I don't want to be emotional at work. That's another reason I want to transfer to another school site. I don't want to face the students and parents next week who know about my situation. I don't want to hear what they have to say or see the pained expressions on their faces. I can't handle it.

If Michael had had life insurance, I would be taking this school year off. I'd get through all these firsts without them sprinkled in with my work life. But he didn't have life insurance.

I tried to get him a policy shortly after we were married, but when he had a physical examination for it they determined that his PSA was too high and they rejected his application. We knew that if he had a biopsy and it came back negative, that they would reconsider his application. He went ahead and had the biopsy, which we needed to do anyway to make sure he didn't have cancer. Ironically, the biopsy came back clear, but of course he had cancer - just not prostate cancer. Anyway, I wanted to move ahead with the life insurance application, but he was resistant because he didn't want to spend the money for it. I gave in.

We both regretted that decision.

And so now, I must go back to work.


  1. I know exactly what you mean about how the reactions of others can make it worse even when they are trying to be caring. I didn't go to church for several months after my grandmother died because, as I call it, "I didn't want their condolences all over me." People approached with such tragic looking facial expressions, thinking they were being sympathic, and kept wanting to hug me. I am allergic to synthetic fragrances and all those hugs made me physically ill. It was very hard to hold myself together when people were reacting like this so I just didn't go for a long time.

    I imagine it's much, much more difficult in your case because it's so much more tragic. We all expect to lose our loved ones after they've lived long, long lives, but to lose a spouse like you did is very out of the ordinary.

    I hope that your transfer comes through quickly since you must work to survive. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow!

  2. Thinking about you today and wishing you the strength and the fortitude to make it through.

  3. The first day is the hardest, I think. After everyone says their I'm-sorry's, they probably won't do it again. Some won't do it at all because they know it will be painful for you (and maybe even them) so don't be hurt if that happens too. Eventually, work will be a safe place too.

    When my mom died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 53, I went back to work immediately. I needed the distraction (and normalcy) of work to speed me through my day. I hope it works that way for you too.


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  4. Firsts are hard, always hard. You have many reasons to not want to return. I hope that the the fact that so many people will be behind you, lifting you up, eases you through this most dreaded day.
    Hugs, as always and caring thoughts.

  5. Good luck Joannah. I hope today hasn't been as difficult as you have imagined it will be. Hang in there.

  6. I'm so sorry friend. I have been praying for you today...I hope your classroom felt a bit like home. :)


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