Monday 25 May 2009

Letting go

I put the shop keys into an envelope walked out of the house in my slippers and dropped them into the letterbox just down the street.

It's taken me since April 20th when I received the postage paid envelope to do this.

On 17th April I read the letter which said I they could no longer hold my job for me because of the amount of sickness time I've taken but when I was ready to work I was welcome to apply for any available positions.

I want to write a letter telling this charitable organisation how poorly my colleagues treated me when I went back to work. I haven't done it yet. I keep drafting snippets of remembered fury and pain in my head but I haven't managed to get them into my macbook yet. Maybe it doesn't matter any more.

I don't care about the job. I've finished with that place and I couldn't go back there for all the pay rises in the world. Financially it's messy but we'd rather I was sane than bringing in a pay check.

I used to love my job. The first year there it was great. Something I'd never even thought of doing before and so much fun. I laughed so much. I met the man I will spend the rest of my life with. I learned to manage people and run a business. I learned about customer service. I learned to wash my hands regularly after sorting through donations. I made friends. Or I thought I did. I have come away with one wonderful poppet and one good friend and learned that people can be absolutely utterly crap when it comes to death and grief.

I met with the new area manager before I went back and I tried to explain how things were for me, how I was feeling, how I thought I might cope and was asked how they could help me. And they took it all the wrong way. When I tried to go back I was made to feel guilty for still grieving. I was told that I had to think about my colleagues, about the business...
"You're not the only woman in the world to have gone through this".
Those words still grate. That woman will never realise just how much I know that I'm not the only one. But I was the only one at that time, in that place, in that much pain who had recently buried their dead baby in the earth. In the few days that I tried to go back I threw myself into work, I tried to chat to the people who said they didn't want to talk about my tragedy.
"I don't want to talk about babies all day"
(Yup, same woman) I listened to them moan about the mundane things that people complain about and I was screaming on the inside, "It doesn't matter!"

And it doesn't.

When I got the letter I wasn't sad, I didn't cry. I already knew I wasn't going back.

One volunteer who hadn't been around and hadn't been told asked, "Where's your baby?" "He died and we lost him". I had to leave the shop at that point to cry. I was standing sobbing and my boss told me to, "Go and have a cup of tea". Nothing more. Two days later I was crying again after telling the area manager that I couldn't stay and my boss rushed to hug me. In front of the area manager. Obviously I still have issues with the boss I once thought was a friend but in the end it doesn't matter. She is not worth my anger, my time or my energy. I'm learning to let it go.

I saw the area manager once more before the letter terminating my contract. I told her I had never felt so unwelcome anywhere in my life. In another letter I was promised that she would ensure that I was welcomed back when I decided to return to work. What nonsense.

I will write that letter if only in the hope that the next woman to go through the loss of her baby while working for that company will be treated a little more gently. It's not about sick leave and phased returns, it's about people.

And that's what matters.


  1. I'm so with you on this Barb. This is why I haven not yet returned. I was treated so badly before I had Hope. Then she died, and people wonder why I have not gone back? You are so right, it is about people. And they were/are the wrong people for me to be around in my grief. I know you know you're not alone, but I'm sorry you felt so alone in that place.
    I'm glad you are putting it all behind you. Onwards and upwards to much better and brighter things.

  2. "Financially it's messy but we'd rather I was sane than bringing in a pay check."

    This speaks volumes. Priorities your job didn't have. Priorities the world doesn't always have. But should. For what it is worth, I think the letter would be amazing. How they manage to run a successful business with no conscience is beyond me, because it is unconsciencable to not support a woman grieving the death of her child. Maybe a letter would be a good reflection of the pain they inflicted on someone already suffering. It makes me feel physically ill. xo

  3. Do it Barb...sometimes it's the only way to let go. If they don't respong then shame on them. Maybe it will open their eyes to dealing with a colleague who is bereaved. Good on you for not going back. Hugs

  4. I'm proud of you Barb, for putting your sanity first. xoxo

  5. Big ((Hugs)) to my beautiful friend, Barbara and her Poppet.

  6. Good on you. You summed it up with the fact that your (our!) sanity is more than a pay check. We're not on the streets yet. I used to love my job too. I hear you on so many different levels. And our priorities are different right now. And in the future they will be different again.
    As for not being the only woman to have gone through this. Well all I can say, and I'm sorry to say it, but THANK GOD for that! Because seriously, for me, without all you girls, who have been through the loss of the most precious part of you... same same but different as they say... well, you have been what has kept me together. Not stupid FW's that say thing's like that!!
    And yup.. do it. Write that letter. If you feel like it. Hopefully it will change something for just one person. But it most probably won't. I'm a glass half full person, but I've learned that seriously unless you touch this grief yourself, they seem to think they know more than you about it.


  7. I am so sorry you were treated with no compassion at all. How cruel! That is rotten and I think it wise you do not go back to that place. There would be no healing there, only more wounds.

    I do not know how it is to go back to the same place of work as before. I had to stop working while still pregnant with Liam due to pre-term scare. I just never returned. My friends there were understanding and no one was mean. They were supportive and for that I am thankful.

    I found a new job, doing something different a few months after Liam. I thought it would be a good fit for me - nature, teaching, outdoors...problem was I never felt comfortable or safe. No one was outright mean or nasty, but I never felt like me. After many months of that, I quit.

    I am not at a part time job closer to home at a place where I feel safe, loved and where I can be me. I love it! Working often gets my mind off the troubles of life, letting me work and chat and smile.

    Just give yourself some time and when it feels right, look for something else. Full time, part time, whatever you want. Hopefully it will be a place where people are compassionate and you can be yourself.

    Good luck.

  8. Your officemates had no idea of what hell you are going tnrough, and most of them would never realize....Stay Away from them!

    I tagged you...and would love you to do it!

  9. I'm so very sorry that you've had to deal with such cruelty. I admire your courage and strength in turning the page on this chapter of your story. They do not deserve a woman as wonderful as you!!! You found what that job was meant to bring you...your sweet husband, your best two are an amazing couple.

    Congratulations on moving forward, for turning away from heartless, uncalled for behaviors. Here's to brighter days ahead...they're coming for you, I believe that.


  10. Ah, that sucks. I knew it was bad for you there, but the comments really drive it home. You're right, it is about people. My coworkers haven't been fabulous, but they haven't been horrible either. But the key for me, I think, is that I can go in my office and shut the door :) To be surrounded by un-fabulous people with no door - I think my sanity would be at risk too!

    Here's hoping you get some peace from dropping those keys in the box.

  11. Barb,

    How horrible! I don't even begin to understand people in the world that act like that. How do they get through life?

    Proud of you for standing up for yourself.


  12. I feel lucky that, for the most part, I was treated very compassionately at work, but my heart was broken and the last year of my employment, I was half a person and needed to let go.

    I'm glad you are letting this go. I'd still write the letter, especially b/c of the nasty "you arent the only one..." It's true that none of us are alone nor, sadly, are we the last. For the sake of another grieving parent, I'd write.

  13. Proud of you Barb for choosing your sanity over money. I`m sorry they were such assholes and incapable of dealing with what happened.

  14. I go back and forth on issues like this - write a letter in efforts to help, or just be done with it and save yourself the mental and emotional stress.

    Can you find a low responsibility parttime job just to bring in some money? And then just keep to yourself - I don't plan on trying to 'make friends' at work again...

  15. I am so sorry it ended this way with the job, Barbara- but having followed the story for a while, I am sadly not surprised. What I am surprised at is how little compassion they showed you and how wrong they managed to get the whole thing, start to finish.

    As to writing a letter- sometimes you need to feel like you've said what's in your heart, even if the people hearing it never understand. Would you want to make them hear you even if things don't change as a result?

    You've approached this whole mess at work with your head held high and your humor and dignity intact. Screw 'em.

  16. My head is swimming with anger for you!

    "It doesn't matter!"

    I feel this way about most everything now days. A dead baby will put everything into perspective. I can not empathize with people who are compalining about mundane things. I would take it all, if I could have my son back.

    Write that letter. And then shove it up that idiot's you know what!

  17. I'm just reading this for the first time and I wanted to be sure I told you how badly I feel for you and how grateful I am for your leaving that horrid place.




Related Posts with Thumbnails