Unlike Blanch DuBois, I never knew I needed to rely on the kindness of strangers until I lost Kevin. Grief does not go away during the work day hours of 9 to 5. It follows you to your office and tries to create havoc in your day. Grief takes no holiday and no paid-time-off but thank God for the kindness shown to me by the people in my office.
I stayed home for 1 month after my husband’s death. Not long enough. But I believe I am strong and I figure I’d face the G-thing head on and on two feet and off to work I go. Like I said – not long enough and the brunt of most of my emotional breakdowns happened in the office. But each day I went back. Behind the closed doors of my private office, I’d cry, I’d lay my head on my desk, I’d stare out of my window and most of the time I was unproductive in my sales role. But I continued to go in and each day it got a little better and I have to thank those I work with for it.
We are more than co-workers – we care about one another’s lives. They never treated me like I have a scarlet W across my chest, but as a person who was trying her best to survive a terrible tragedy and find her way in life again. Each day I could count on Joey greeting me as I arrive – always careful and with a smile, being the first person I see going in and the last I see when I’m running out in tears, he’s the one who gauges my moods for the day – god love him. My buddy Joe asking ‘how are you doing girl?’ and letting me know that they are all there for me. There’s Stu who was new to the office at the time of Kevin’s death but quickly became a part of the group who I can count on to give me a rousing “Wassup DJ!!!” everyday. He makes me laugh each time – I love it. Dan, Rich &Mike always with a good morning and a caring smile. Then there is Patty who has known me for over 20 years and has watched me grow up, when I’m at my worst she tells me how proud she is of me. Reggie, who works in another state but has given me valuable encouragement and guidance with my kids. Patti O, who was with me from the moment I found out about Kevin’s accident. And there’s Gowri & Jessica; the two who are assigned to check in on me if my door is closed too long. Who sometimes find me in the midst of a complete melt down, who listen to my stories and my issues with family and friends, who share in the day-to-day process of my grief. Each of them attended Kevin’s funeral, backed me up with clients, kept my business afloat for me and never complained. They are my bright spot and when I’m asked why I go to work even when I’m feeling horrible I tell people it’s because by office is my refuge. They are great people who have done great things for me by just being themselves and allowing me to be myself. May God bless them all!!