Back to Work

Monday, July 16th… my first day back to work.

I knew it was going to be tough.

(Losing a child makes you anticipate things you never knew could totally bring you to your knees and plan for situations you had never thought about before. Things like: driving down a road for the first time since she died, seeing emails with the date of June 15th, running out of the bottle of shampoo that was used before she died, filling up the gas tank for the first time since she died, anticipating walking through doors in places she had gone to with me, seeing someone for the first time, without her in my arms. The list could go on and on.)

But I didn’t truly anticipate exactly how I would experience the pain of today.

I work from home. My co-workers are amazing and beyond supportive, but they are all over the country, and across the world.

Norah had not yet started daycare, so SHE was my in-person work buddy. We had a routine. We listened to sounds and songs. We had conversations. We had each other.

But today, even with the tremendous amount of support from so many who knew it was my first day back, and those who were checking in on me in general, I was very much alone.

Upon returning from dropping off Addy and Sydney, I looked in my rear view mirror (as I did every morning when we’d pull back in to the driveway but never even realized I had done it) to see the nauseating vision of her empty car seat. I got out of the car with my coffee cup and keys in one hand, but no Norah in the other. I went into the house and closed the garage door without being able to worry about her being startled by the noise (she was never startled, but I was just always cautious and protective of her). I went upstairs and sat down at my computer… in silence.

No coos.

No swing music.

No giggles as she looked up to see the momma and baby rhinoceros that hung from her swing.

No gummy smile or high pitched squeel or kicking legs when I asked what she was giggling at.

No baby on my lap during my morning meeting.

No bottle making.

No baby wrap wearing.

No bouncing.

No diaper changing.

No 10:15 am nap.

Nothing.

I wept. And wept. And wept.

The sound of silence was deafening.

The weight in my empty arms was overwhelming.

The stinging in my eyes was painful.

…Then, I looked up and saw the most magnificent image – a bunch of small circles of light were surrounding me, shining from the ceiling and cascading down the walls. Almost like a reflection, but there was nothing to reflect from. I walked around moving things to try to figure it out. There was no solution. It didn’t make sense; yet it made all the sense in the world. In my world. My tears began to flow even harder.

At some point a while later, I suddenly realized that I was no longer crying, but actually focusing on sorting through some emails. Effortlessly. At that moment of realization I looked up… and the reflections were gone.

I did not shed another tear throughout the rest of my work day. I even had a few laughs with co-workers.

I survived.

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