Work and Grief

A friend of mine that lost her son shortly after I lost mine has been going through total heck at work. She was only given two weeks leave after the passing of her only son. Since she has been back to work, there are days where she has had to call in because grief had consumed her to the point that she could not get out of the bed. She has decided to leave her job after one too many inconsiderate write-ups over her actions. T (as I will call her) asked if I would help write her resignation letter for her. She thought I could help her put into words exactly what grief has done to her. Us. And all the mourning parents.

The request had me thinking of the best thing to say. How to exactly describe what we go through. How do you explain to someone that has never lost a child what it feels like to have a piece of your soul lost forever? How do explain how your heart never will beat the same way it used to? How do you let them know that grief does not pick non-business hours to rear its ugly head? I do not think there is any way to really get the full impact of having so much of your life disappear in the blink of an eye. Sure we may have been fine when we left work on Tuesday. But the dream we had that night of our child made us wake up thinking that he was just down the hall in his bed. And then realizing we woke from our dream to the nightmare of reality. Yes we were just fine when we left for lunch. But while in the car at the drive-thru our child’s favorite song came on the radio, leaving us crying hysterically and cars honking their horns at us. Then there are birthdays, holidays, anniversaries of death and life. What about the sadness we feel when our child’s friends accomplish all the things he should be here for? We not only grieve the past and present but also the lost future. We will grieve when we see our friends with their grandchildren we were robbed of. We will grieve when we watch his best friend walk down the aisle without our son as his best man. We will grieve every empty space at the dinner table, the empty stocking, the quiet nights, the missing sound of laughter and all the messy messes that we desperately miss.

How do you put a time on how much work you can miss after the loss of a child? When you give birth you are given at least six weeks maternity leave. They even give the same amount to Fathers now! But only to receive two weeks bereavement time to mourn the loss of 19 years worth of hopes and dreams? It takes two weeks just to come out of the shock and fog! There is no textbook example of grief time because no one person grieves the same as another. Some can handle day to day routines like before with a hard exterior. Some will crack in public over random thoughts. Some will never get on with life. Some will tackle life and grieve quietly in the inside. I guess I was lucky that I did not have to return to any sort of job after I lost my son. I never really sat back and thought about the pain and hardship that my son’s Father, his Bonus Mom or my Husband felt. So how do I try and help her explain this to her employers? There is no possible way for them to understand shy of them losing their own child. And there is no way I would ever wish this torturous pain on anyone…


Live From the Scene…….

When our son had his accident, it was on the news before we ever made it to the hospital. Before I ever saw my son, I saw the scene of the accident posted all over FaceBook. Before I ever even knew what happened or had talked to a doctor or officer, it was posted to my daughter’s page. Before I even made it to the ICU desk, I was tagged in a breaking news story.

Yes, we need the news in our lives to keep up with the weather and what is happening in the world. But is there not some tact and class? Would it have been “old” news for the reporters to wait just one more hour so that his family could have known the details first? Do they not know the hurt that my daughter felt when she saw a news story on FaceBook about her brother? What about my nieces and his friends that were gathering with us waiting for an answer? What about my Mom? Do they not know the pain I felt of not knowing what happened to my son yet could see a “breaking” news story with the lead in picture showing my sons shoe on the side of the road?

Why did they feel the need to lead off with this story? Do we not have soldiers in other countries dying for us? Were there not murderers on the loose that should have been plastered as a lead off story? What about the weather? I am sure that there were plenty of things that could have come first or at least until we knew the details first.

I guess what I am getting at is where does common decency and respect for families come in? The images of my son’s car or the scene where not something we were prepared to see at that time. We were still trying to just see our son and talk to the doctor’s. Yes, I know that it was a newsworthy story. Does the media not know that if they would have just showed us some respect for one more hour that we would answered more questions than the few measly details they reported?

And where is the media now? Why are they not reporting on the life that came out of the tragedy? What about the story of how on New Year’s Day of 2014, four people were given a new chance at life? What about the story of his tissue donation? I guess that is not as newsworthy as his death. (And no, I am not looking for the spotlight. Just were was the follow-up?)

I have not watched the news but one time since his accident. The top story was a young lady that died in a horrible wreck on the way to graduation practice. This sent me into a spiral of emotions that I felt the night of the accident. Last night, Jeff and I were watching TV and the breaking news came across of a train accident. I went into panic mode at the images of the flashing lights and train. Jeff could not get the remote fast enough to just turn the TV off. I know that I am sensitive to certain stories but even after a year, I cannot watch the news. So if we are about to get blown away by a tornado or invaded by aliens, give me a call because we are a news free home.