Having had the long weekend, both my sister and I decided to return to work yesterday. I was greeted with some surprise, with people asking ‘what are you doing here?’, as I was expected to be off work for sometime and was expected to be tied up in funeral arrangements. However, due to the Bank Holiday, we do not yet have Mum’s Death Certificate so we are unable to register her death and progress with her funeral. We were expecting a telephone call from the Bereavement service yesterday but as it had not come by 4.30 pm, I called them and was told to chase the Coroner myself from 9 am today. So given that we will need later in the week off work, it made sense to us to go into our offices and to face concerned colleagues. I had left my desk last week in a state of chaos and I wanted to go in, to tie up any loose ends and to contact certain clients.
As it is May half term holidays, Yorkshire Grandma arrived to take Joshua out for the day. I was giving him his Weetabix in bed when she arrived, and he gave her an excited grin and an enthusiastic wave, so he was pleased to see her. I left her getting him dressed and discussing her plans for the day with him and I was confident that he was in safe hands. So I drove to the office – which only takes 5 minutes across town – and took a deep breath as I walked in, feeling that nothing was the same as it had been last week when I was there, as Mum was no longer around. I was immediately given two big hugs and I warned my colleagues not to be ” too nice to me” or else I might begin to cry, and never stop. So after a brief explanation of the events of the end of last week, I made myself a cup of tea and headed upstairs to my office, where emails needed my attention in my inbox. So I got stuck in and time flew by, as I knew that it would once I was distracted. The Chairman of this small family business came to see me and offer me his sympathy and his advice from the perspective of someone being of Mum’s age. All day I felt surrounded by support and nobody questioned my need to leave work at 3 pm. I am still finding that I am overwhelmingly tired between 3 pm and 4 pm, and I started to feel faint and rather nauseous then, so I chose to come home.
So although I did not stay for a full day, I still consider that I returned to work and that I achieved what I needed to do; and now ,having faced everyone, it will not be so daunting next time I return to work. Although you want, and expect, the world to stop, it is true that for everyone else, life goes on and there is some comfort to be gained from doing familiar tasks and activities. I know that Mum was proud of what I achieved at work – she told me so recently – and so she would want me to try to get back there, to pick up where I left off.