To die one's self is a thing that must be easy, & light of consequence;
But to lose a part of one's self--well, we know how deep that pang goes,
we who have suffered that disaster, received that wound which cannot heal...
It is one of the mysteries of our nature that a man,
all unprepared, can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live.
It will take mind and memory months
and possibly years
to gather together the details
and thus learn and know the whole extent of the loss.
- Mark Twain, 1888, on the death of his daughter, Suzy Clemens
I went back to work on Monday. On one hand it was a welcome distraction, but on the other I never realized how mentally draining it would be to not have the freedom to let my mind wonder when it needed to. I find myself having to struggle to keep my attention where it needs to be. Monday was a busy 14 hour work day. What a way to start the first week back after almost 7 weeks off, huh? It really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Everyone was so extremely nice and thoughtful. My wonderful coworkers brought me flowers and a cake (my birthday was Sunday) and I stayed so busy that there was not much time to think. But something just didn’t feel the same.
Some one once told me that a loss like I experienced was like an amputation. At the time, I really didn’t understand, but it is becoming clearer. Part of me is gone. I sit at the same desk, walk the same halls and see the same people, but things are very different. The last time I sat at this desk, I sat further away because my swelling belly would bump into it as I leaned in to answer the phone. It just feels so wrong. The halls feel different and while not one person at work has said anything rude or hurtful, there is still the knowledge that I am looked at differently. I will always be thought of as “that girl”. While, yes, I do look different than seven weeks ago, this is more like an amputation of me, of the person I once was. I still do the same things I used to, but I do them differently. I am re-learning everything. This I did not expect. I remember how I used to think about coming back to work after maternity leave and how I would bring pictures of my new baby girl. I had already made plans on where I was going to pump during my lunch break. I try to avoid walking by that office now. I know I will never be the same, but I wonder how long I will feel like I need twice as long to comprehend things. I stutter and repeat myself. I must sound really unprofessional. Sometimes when people are talking, I feel like Charlie Brown listening to his teachers monotone "wha wha wha's". Then I snap out of it and have to figure out what was just going on. Ugh.
I bumped into a banister today and immediately grabbed my stomach. I don’t know what I thought I was protecting. All that is there now is stretch marks and a flabby tummy. When I realized what I had done, I looked around to see if anyone had noticed…I don’t think they did…I wonder how long I will feel like a crazy person
People say that time heals. I disagree. Time heals nothing. God heals. And God is with me. He was with me at work today in all the hard conversations that I knew I would eventually face. Although I did not think that three of them would happen in one day. He has always been with me. And always will be. No matter how crazy I feel, I know God is with me and I will get to the end of this tunnel (or series of tunnels) in His timing and with the circumstances I chose. God will never leave me or forsake me, so even in my craziness, I am not alone. I find a comfort in that I cannot describe.