Today was more of an official return to work. I had forgotten what it was like to work an entire day. It was not as pleasant as I would have hoped. Friday seemed easier but that had a lot to do with being there only half as long. Sometimes life is crap. There is no easier way to explain it than that. It is difficult to take my own advice so maybe by the time I am at the end of this post I will have reached a more positive tone of voice. We shall see.
Work will not be easy and it seems like it will remain that way for a while. I woke up in the morning a little late giving myself only about 20 minutes to get ready. For male standards this is plenty of time. I may in fact take longer than the average guy. I told Leah I loved her and I went to work. The drive there was longer than normal because I have avoided fixing my car for way too long. Only a few days before July 8, I ended up getting a flat tire commuting home from work. No one was to blame for this flat tire except for me. I allowed my tires on the front of my car to get balder and balder until they finally couldn’t take it anymore. I also have not checked the air pressure in my tires for a very long time. At least a year. When you put the stress of normal driving conditions on top of seasonal changes that are a fact in Michigan, you end up with under-inflated tires. I knew this, but I didn’t care. So if any of you men out there are reading this that are religious maintainers of your automobiles (my dad included), I completely understand if you were to tell me I am not the smartest most mechanically inclined guy out there. The result of this was a doughnut on the front passenger side that has been there for almost four weeks. This meant I couldn’t drive over 55 mph which meant no highway, which meant longer commute. I really screwed myself. Thankfully my dad checked around and I am getting 2 new tires tomorrow. I can’t wait.
Once I arrived to work the day started off very slow. I wasn’t feeling well which didn’t help but that really wasn’t a factor of how my day unfolded. I found myself very isolated from everyone around me. It was one of those situations where I could have been in a room full of hundreds of people and felt completely alone. No one was really talking to me and I didn’t really have much to say to anyone else. I just felt depressed and I felt very discouraged because I had no one around me that would even understand what I was feeling. This made my job ten times harder than it had to be today. I was already behind from all the time off and I definitely was feeling less than motivated. I managed my way through it but it wasn’t easy.
Leah sent me an encouraging text message in the morning which will always help me through my day. She’s the only one that will really understand my pain unless it’s another mother or father that has suffered the loss of a child. I also talked to her in the morning when she left to go to her mom’s. I plugged away at work the best I could after I got off the phone with her. I just told myself I had to make it to lunch. I was constantly thinking about Ava and I couldn’t really make it stop. I decided my lunch would be spent with her. Luckily she isn’t too far away from work so anytime I want to see her at lunch I easily can.
I reached the cemetery and followed my normal routine with Ava. Leah saw Ava earlier in the morning when she left for her mom’s. She left me my chair that was leaning up against the tree that is right by Ava’s grave. I unfolded it, sat down and closed my eyes. I talked to God for a moment and then talked to Ava directly. I have no idea if she can ever hear me and sadly with it only being a few hours ago I can’t remember exactly what I said. I know that I talked about how much I missed her and I was sorry she couldn’t be there. I talked to her directly because I really missed her. The fact I felt alone at work just compounded the problem. I sat by her grave for about a half hour and then it was time to return to work.
When I leave Ava’s grave, I can sometimes feel sad that I am leaving her but I typically feel better overall having saw her. This thankfully was the case today. I talked with Leah on my way too and from Ava’s grave. It sounded like she was having a nice time with her mom and sister. Once I got back to work I returned to the efforts of surviving the day. I did not do myself any favors after lunch. Leah had went through my phone and sent herself all the pictures we had taken of Ava in the NICU. I went into my text messages and started looking through them. Although I always love seeing pictures of her, this wasn’t the right thing to do given my already fragile mind.
Pictures of Ava when she was alive are always harder to look at, particularly the ones where she is holding my finger. She was alive and breathing when those pictures were taken. Her pictures just take me back to a place where I can say my daughter was alive and was still with us. It takes me to a time when I felt like she was holding my finger telling me that she loved me but maybe that she needed me. The grip she had on my finger was unreal. When I thought about all these things sitting at my desk, I just couldn’t handle it. I didn’t start crying but I did need to stop and think for a little bit about everything.
Ava was here. She isn’t anymore. That sucks to put it extremely mildly. It feels ten times worse when I see a picture of her holding my finger at a place where I know nobody gets it. I have seen Leah feel the complete devastation of needing her to come back to us so badly. I don’t feel it the same way that she does the majority of the time, but today I just felt so awful after I saw those pictures. I wanted so badly for this to be some terrible dream I would wake up from. My beautiful little girl was supposed to be here and she needed to be here. The fragile, tiny little daughter of mine that held my finger needed me and I needed her. It is an emotion that I cannot describe and I don’t enjoy. It’s one of the ways I suspect men suffer in silence because they shut those emotions off or don’t talk about them.
When Leah asked how I was doing through text I told her what I had done and how it was a bad idea. She said a few words back but it was enough. I still hurt but at least I knew she knew what I was feeling. She had done the same thing the night before.
The point of all this is to say that I am not going to be able to expect that my return to work is always going to come with favorable distractions or serve as a way to get back to normal. It can also be quite the opposite. It can be this isolating place that leaves you feeling like you have no one. Add the fact that you miss your daughter to no end, to an extent that causes you extreme pain. Work is not always as great as people would think for someone grieving the loss of their child. I do believe that people do this way to soon and sometimes there is no choice as was my case. It can be even harder as a guy, surrounded by guys at work. The only way to get through it for now is Leah and Ava and a little faith in God. I don’t think every day will be this way, but when these days do come they are hard to cope with.
Hopefully Tuesday is a better day. I love you Ava. I sure do miss you.