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…


Unplugging For The Summer

I am going to do it! I am going to unplug from all unnecessary electronics, TV and other digital devices for the summer! I have a plan and I am sticking to it.

This includes, limiting myself to 10 minutes of Facebook a day. If it doesn’t show up in my feed in that amount of time, then I didn’t need to see it. It is a good way to keep in touch but I need human contact. I will use the time I would have spent on the site to call my friends, write letters and visit for a glass of sweet tea.

I am going to limit myself to 2 scrolls a day through Instagram. I love Instagram more than Facebook so this one will be extremely hard. I love seeing all the pictures from my nieces and Godchildren. Pictures of high school friends children. Oh how I love the pictures without the Facebook drama!

TV will be put on the back burner. This one may be a little hard since I have a “Real Housewives” obsession. How will I live without my Lifetime TV? Thank goodness that Grey’s Anatomy will be on summer break! Yes, this one is going to be tough!

There are other little things I will unplug from but those are the ones that I find are taking up the most of my time. This is going to be like weaning a baby off of a pacifier. I can do this!

What I will “Plug” into are the things that we used to do before the electronic age. I will spend more time with the family and friends around me. How unique will it be for my table to be the only table in a restaurant that is not looking down at a phone? I will stay away from the ones that can’t unplug for quality time. Phones, TV and computers are the biggest problem in my family and marriage. We will see if this family can survive each other or not.

I will read more! I have a whole list of summer books just waiting to be opened. I cannot wait to read the rest of the Mitch Albom books left on my list! I have a ton of Max Lucado and Beth Moore books to read. Not to mention, Fannie Flagg, Paulo Coelho, Beverly Lewis, Michael Phillips and my secret obsession, V.C. Andrews! When I run out of books from my stash, I will go sit for hours in an old musty used book store and bask in hours of endless words and adventures!

I am going to write more! Blogs, journals, letters, cards , even e-mails! I am happiest when I am writing things and getting them out of this hyper-active mind of mine. I am also going to read more of my fellow bloggers writings. I have not been the best blogging friend I can be. Some days, I just post mine and go back to the world. The things I want to write about. I may even decide to write a little story that has been popping up in my quiet time. Letter writing will become a daily ritual. I will send letters to friends, family and maybe even get a penpal. One of the greatest forms of therapy I have had since D-Day is the penpal friendships I have developed with other Moms like me. I will reach out to more and help them as others have helped me.

I will use the extra time to work on a flower garden, remodel the house, and all the chores that are never done. I will cut down trees and make a memorial garden for my son. I will have a small vegetable garden and harvest like my grandparents did. I will take walks in the evening. I will sit on the deck soaking up the sun during the day with one of the books I want to read.

I will visit my mother more on her days off. I have been lacking in that area due to work and car issues, but I will make it a point this summer. I just need to be around my mother.

But mostly, I want to read my bible more and just listen to what I need to hear. I want to connect to God more. I want to build my faith and work hard at being closer to him.

So I am unplugging, starting today. Thank goodness my blog automatically posts to Facebook. Today I will start living for me and what is best for me. Who knows, I may never plug in again.