Thursday 8 January 2009

I think I may have created the wrong impression.

I surprised myself today with an attack of what appeared to be motormouthitis.

I had a "back to work" interview with our (new, never met her) area manager this morning to go over any health issues, timing etc before I go back to work.

"And is there anything you would like to add?" after we'd been through the standard form, decided on four days a week to start with and discussed medical issues. This is the point where motormouthitis struck me with a vengence.

You must understand that out there in the real world I'm normally quiet, fairly private and rather shy. I don't make speeches and I don't like confrontations. I generally just let it go and move on.

Not today.

I explained how deeply it hurts when people say nothing at all and could she ask those at work to please not ignore my loss. I don't need a pity party, just a little acknowledgement.

I explained that no, I'm not done crying and there will be times when I will cry at work.

I explained that I won't bottle it up or just get over it because people at work might feel uncomfortable.

I explained that I do understand their discomfort but I simply can not let it affect my healing and my grief by forcing me to bury my pain.

I explained that I don't want people to walk on eggshells for fear of upsetting me. I'm already upset. Not mentioning it doesn't make it any better: it makes me feel isolated.

I explained that I don't want the loss of George to become the elephant in the room that no one mentions.

I explained that if anyone wants to ask me questions they can. If they want to ask, "what was it like" they can. If they want the whole sad and sorry story they can have it. If they want to see the photo of my son they can, with pleasure, because he was beautiful and it feels good when I'm asked to share that.

I explained that I have absolutely no idea how and even if I will be able to cope as I have no experience to draw on but that I'm willing to try.

I cried off and on during the whole interview and when Ms Area manager could get a word in she told me about her husband losing his mother and how badly it affected him and she understood that bereavement is a process and can take a long long time when you lose a member of your family. I thanked her for that acknowledgement.

Yes indeed, we did lose a member of our family.

I think it went well but I also think she sees me as someone much more capable than I feel I am. She remarked on my honesty and my willingness and goodness she really couldn't see that what I really wanted to do was crawl under my bed and hide and not turn up?

So, I'm apprehensive about going back to work but it's something that I feel I have to do, not only for financial reasons but as a step forward in my process. I'm going back next tuesday. I'll let you know how it goes.

I did get a lovely big I-missed-you-today hug when I got home to make up for my traumatic morning though which always helps.

Today I'm exhausted.


  1. I think your new Area Manager sounds very kind and she is very astute at recognizing how good, kind, and capable you are. I'm glad for your welcome home hug, here's one from California via cyperspace, (Hug).

  2. I think it is wonderful and completely appropriate that you let your needs be known to your Area Manager in anticipation of your return to work. I did something similar with my manager when I came back to work and I was so glad I apprehensive as I was about coming back, the environment has been so warm and supportive. Sure there are a few people who have said nothing and that hurts, but most of people have been amazing. And YES I still have those days where I close my office door and are right to know that it will happen and give yourself permission to let it happen. Please know that I am here if you ever want to email or chat about return to work issues...its definitely been a process for me, but now that I've been back a little over 2 months(!) I definitely have plenty to say on the topic. xoxo

  3. Wow - what a perfect time for the motormouthitis to strike. You were very clear about what you needed and why you needed it. There can be no mis-interpreting that!

    Well done Barbara - here's to the next step, as hard as it willbe.

  4. WOW- good for you! So much better to let people know what you need up front than to stand there and unravel inside when people get it wrong.

    Don't sell yourself short- your area manager did NOT misperceive how capable you are. You are amazingly capable- sad and finding your way through it, but so good at knowing what you need and how to advocate for yourself. It may not feel like you, but it is.

    I'll be thinking good thoughts for you on Tuesday and every day.

  5. So proud of you today Barbara.

  6. good job telling it like it is!

    I did soemthing similar, and sadly I don't think any of those ideas about how to deal with me got passed on. But, at least if anyone comes tot he AM and asks, she'll be able to tell them.

    I think you'll do just fine back to work. Good luck in dealing!

  7. Well done Barbara. I am so proud to "know" you!

    Wishing you a peaceful week.

    Much Love
    Carly x

  8. Oh my gosh, you must be exhausted...but how wonderful. These comments are so dead on - if ever a moment to put it all out there, why not now? Your manager sounds great and it seems to me, based on her reaction to your honesty, that she could really be someone that you can rely on to see your perspective, hold your hand, when necessary. Good luck, Barbara, on Tuesday. But you laid wonderful groundwork for your return today. Thinking of you and your family...

  9. I think the interviewer is genuine. She seems to be eager to find out about you. Also, I think you SHOULD go back to the job. It will constructively engage you and yes lady, do vent out the tears, if the need be. But make sure that uncaring people do not watch you cry. It hurts even more.

    I know what motormouthitis is. *Sigh*



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