It’s 3:09 am on Thanksgiving and my Ambien has worn off. I had a rough day at work because I was told by another coworker that there has been “concern” about how disengaged and depressed I’ve seemed lately. “Well, no shit” I thought to myself. I asked if my work performance has suffered at all and the response was no. So…I come to work and I do what they pay me for without any issues, yet because I’m not as talkative and happy as I was 8 months ago then something is wrong. And rather than speak to me directly about these concerns my mental state is being discussed behind closed doors. I really like this level of openness and trust. Sets a great example.
And yes, something is very wrong. My 31 year old husband died without warning on April 13th and I’m still trying to get my head around it while trying my best to act normal, whatever the hell that even means anymore. I lost my husband, my best friend, my one true confidant, my identity and the entire future we had planned together in just seconds. However I’m expected be the same jokester and happy-go-lucky person I was when I was married (and much much happier). Yep, I’m disengaged and depressed. I do tend to get a little quiet and withdrawn when everyone around me is talking about Thanksgiving plans, or what they are buying for their wives or husbands for Christmas. I don’t have much to say because all I am thinking in my head is how I feel completely alone and all I want for Christmas is the impossible. I want Jason back. I do apologize if I’m not full of glitter and pixie dust these days and my quiet and disengaged attitude is ruining the holidays for others. I’m just a little selfish I guess.
This sounds extremely bitter but I wish for just 2 minutes those around me who are criticizing my coping mechanisms could find themselves in my shoes. Just for 2 minutes and then their lives could go back to normal. I just need them to understand that I am dealing with this as best as I can and I will never ever be the same person I was before Jason died. That Renee died on April 13th too and she’s not coming back either.
My office is like an aquarium. There is no privacy at all. I have trouble even finding a bathroom in my building that is uninhabited so I can have a good cleansing cry when I start feeling the panic of my reality set in. I asked for the opportunity to work from home from time to time (at least through the holidays) when I’m having a rougher day than usual. That arrangement was great until other people in my department didn’t feel like that was fair, and had to whine and complain about it like emotionally stunted 5 year old who still only has a concept of “self” and of no one else. Guess what? Life isn’t fair because if it was then my husband would still be alive and people who commit murder wouldn’t be. Someone even made the completely insensitive comment about how they’d like to trade places with me. Would you really? Would you like to plan the funeral of your husband and have to say goodbye to the person who you thought you’d be married to for another 50 years? I’d give ANYTHING to go home at 5pm and tell Jason about my day. I’d love to have weekend plans that involve something other than watching TV alone and eating frozen pizza or cereal on my couch. I’d love the opportunity to wash his laundry or put his dirty plates and bowls in the dishwasher. I’d love to clean up the dirt he’s tracked throughout the house after a muddy trail run.
I’ve decided I won’t ask to work from home anymore. Instead I will cry, scream, have panic attacks and roll around on my office floor when I need to, as I do on those days I need to work from home. And then people can criticize those coping strategies as well because displaying emotions makes them uncomfortable. Yes, crying in front of my coworkers is uncomfortable for me too. I get it. Clearly the expectation is that I should just be “back to my old self” by now. Apparently grief does have a timeline for those who haven’t experienced it yet and I should be over the death of my husband after a few months.
I’ve thought about bringing the stack of self-help books on grief I’ve purchased over the past 7 months to work because I think there is a compete lack of education and awareness. But then I doubt my critics would have time to read them because they don’t have the endless amount of alone time I have now. Oh, and apparently they are also working on their psychology degrees so they can diagnose and comment on my mental state while being experts on grief. I was going to end this blog with an expletive but I’ll let my readers just use their imaginations.