In what turned out to be the first major event that Ahna and I have had to do separately, we both found our way back to work this week. It was a bizarre thing to have to experience something as individual as heading back to our workplaces, and to do it at different times – resulting in the first non-immediately shared emotional trip that we have had to deal with since Liam was born. Sure, we have had some more minor bridges to cross, but doing this is a big one.
I headed back on Sunday, and Ahna went into work on Tuesday afternoon for a few meetings. Both had nearly identical emotional reactions. Firstly, it was good to be with our friends at work. Both the folks at CTE and the folks at the Fire Department have been absolutely amazing, and very supportive throughout this process. Neither of us would have ever considered going back in without the knowledge that they would be there for us. And ‘easing’ back into it the way that we have done so far has been really helpful for us – and perhaps for everyone else as well.
Hands-down the most difficult part of returning to work has been returning to the physical place. When I opened my locker in my room, and when Ahna returned to her classroom; we both experienced a rush of really sad emotion. It was like opening a time capsule into a previous life that was filled with so much anticipation and happiness, that it almost seems foreign to understand right now. We each packed up our stuff back in December with a much different expectation than what has played out; so it was hard to return to those things that are such stark reminders of what was supposed to be.
We have found ourselves in physical places similar to these experiences – especially at home – but since we haven’t been to our work places at all since we left them in December, they have held on pretty tightly to the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that we left them with. We will both continue to delve back into work over the next couple of weeks – slowly at first, then full bore – and there is not doubt that it will be difficult; especially when you realize that sometimes there just simply isn’t any way to escape, until you can. But we do this with the comfort of knowing that we are surrounded by people and administration that cares deeply for us.