The Longest Eight Hours

October 25, 2013

Today was my first day back to work. Obviously, I survived. I’m not sure how, but I did.

Some observations:

  1. My office is too far away from the door.
  2. People who reach voicemail should just leave a message instead of calling back in the hopes that I pick up. If I wanted to answer the phone, I would have.
  3. Story Corps will make me cry. The fact that today’s episode ended with Steve Inskeep saying that it’s all right to take a moment means I probably should have just Turned the Radio Off.
  4. My office is too far away from the bathroom.
  5. Apparently the weekly news round-up on Diane Rehm now lasts 17 hours.
  6. Whipped cream on your mocha helps make things better. Especially if said mocha has been delivered by your mommy.
  7. My office is too far away from the bathroom.
  8. Chocolate almonds can help you survive an interminable afternoon. Especially the fancy ones from Trader Joe’s. Thanks, Lisa!
  9. I work with huggers. Huggers currently make me cry.
  10. My office is too far away from the bathroom.

The first hour went okay. Then around 8, the clock stopped. And that was before Story Corps.

I cried. A lot. The fact that I started crying before I even reached the parking lot did not bode well for the day. And, yes, I could have gone home. The day could hardly be called productive. I could have just used some PTO and gone home. But as much as I didn’t want to be there, I didn’t want to be anywhere else more. So I sat there with my door closed and cried. And I sorted through my emails. And I let my phone ring. Except for once. When Tim from IT called. I knew who it was and that he was calling in response to an email I’d just sent. Because Courtney broke my computer while I was gone (Love you, Courtney!), and I needed Firefox to be reinstalled so that I could access my database. And I prayed that the hall would be empty each time I went to the bathroom. Did I mention that my office is too far away from the bathroom? ‘Cause it really is. Lots of potential to see people when you really don’t want to.

And I survived. And I was almost out the door when I ran into someone from HR who gave me a hug and said to let them know if I needed anything. And I cried the rest of the way to my car. And I sobbed on the drive home. And I curled up on the floor of Sofia’s room, her blanket under my ear. I held her ashes as I’d held her in the hospital the one night I had her. And I cried.

I’m still not ready to go back to work. But I’m not not ready either. And so, for now, I’ll just keep surviving. And crying. And keeping my office door closed.

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1 Comment

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One response to “The Longest Eight Hours

  1. Maria

    Some days it’s hard to know what to say, because I know this was 5 or 6 weeks ago, and who knows which things are infinitely better and which feel exactly the same.

    A warning: I’m going to be totally sappy, and probably make you cry (but hopefully at least partially in a good way).

    I am really proud of you (I’m proud of you as my friend for all sorts of reasons, but this is why today). It would be so easy to either stuff all of your feelings way inside and fake that everything is fine, or to give in to utter despair. And somehow you are managing to be strong enough to feel your grief, but not lose yourself in it. You keep surviving, even when it feels impossible in that moment. And you keep sharing it with everyone who loves you.

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