I feel like my eyes are constantly on the ground, checking out where my next step will be, afraid to look up. If I look up then I might have to make eye contact with someone. If I look up I might miss my step and fall down. Wait, I’ve already fallen down. There is a fragility associated with my reintegration into the workforce. I am vulnerable at a very basic level. Everyone knows that I have fallen, and fallen hard. I’m trying to pick myself up and people want to help me, but I won’t let them get close enough to me because if I do then they might see everything, all of the sorrow, vulnerability and weakness. I can’t even look inside and see everything yet, it’s too painful. To have other people glimpse that part of me is like a violation. I need the distance to sort myself out.
It has been difficult to return to work. I have trouble getting to sleep which impacts on overall wellbeing in general. I drag myself into work already tired and aware that my focus and concentration are subpar. I never was rapid fire with my verbal responses and I’m worse now; since Kevin’s death I go out of my way to avoid interaction where I may be asked something that requires functional, logical thought. Then there is the physical strain. My work is sedentary, I sit at a computer and type all day. For the last ten months my days had been filled with physical activity and movement. Pushing, pulling, lifting, bending and walking – all day, every day. Now that I am back working at a desk I feel tremendous strain and tightness in my neck, shoulders and lower back. I have headaches, I have nosebleeds. I feel dread at having to talk about my loss over and over again with my coworkers and this adds to the stress I am carrying.
There is a reality that most people won’t realize until they walk this path – that of losing their partner. At least I think that this is the case for most, perhaps not all, but most. The passage of time doesn’t make it easier – it makes it harder. The fact is, one month, two months, a year – I will still be grieving. It’s not likely to get any easier for me, at least I don’t see it. Just because the event has faded in your mind, doesn’t mean that it has lost any of its rawness for me. If anything, it appears that this pain is increasing right now.