My first day back at my own desk, where I used to work before I went off work to care for Leah, turned out to be incredibly difficult.
Not because my work colleagues aren’t nice – they are lovely. We even managed to pop out to a local cafe for lunch. I enjoy their company and I love eating out.
Not because I don’t like my job – I love my work.
What broke me was the vivid awareness, that the last time I drove that route to work, parked in that spot, worked at that desk, I had four children alive on this earth.
This awareness triggered an almost overwhelming wave of grief.
It took all of my willpower to get through this first day, while praying silently for strength.
At the end of today, as I headed back to my car, on a nearby street, the tears started flowing.
My intention was to drive straight to the cemetery and spend some time at Leah’s grave.
I started the car and pulled off, but very quickly parked again – I had a flat tyre!
Normally in these circumstances I would attempt to change it myself and then some kind gentleman would invariably come along and offer to do it for me!
Not this time – a flat tyre was the last thing that I needed at the end of an emotionally fraught day.
I stayed in the car and phoned my husband and sobbed down the phone.
He phoned me back a while later to say that he had phoned “Roadside Recovery” to come and change the tyre for me.
The idea of needing Roadside Recovery to come and change a tyre upset me even further.
On my last day of working in my present location after Leah was diagnosed, my car broke down. I ended up sobbing in the car, waiting for Roadside Recovery to turn up. I write about this here.
Here I was again, two years later, on my first day back in that same office, sitting sobbing in the car, waiting for Roadside Recovery to turn up.
I felt so defeated and demoralised.
I listened to “Oceans” by Hillsong on continuos repeat as I sat in my car and waited for the same Roadside Recovery company to arrive. To my immense relief, it wasn’t the same man as the last time. Emotionally I would have found that very difficult – too much déjà vu!
The young man who arrived was cheerful and pleasant. More importantly, he didn’t tease me about being ‘helpless’ or ‘incapable’. He apologised for taking so long and did what he had to do, swiftly and graciously.
By 7pm I was good to go and headed off to visit Leah’s grave.
The graveyard felt so peaceful.
The previously vacant plot opposite Leah’s now contains a baby boy. The card on one of the fresh wreaths tells me that he’s a little brother. I thought about his heart broken family.
Leah’s kneeling plate was looking all dusty so I walked back to the car for some baby wipes to clean it up a little. I don’t like her ‘joy’ being covered over.
In closing, I’ve just two things to say about today:
Firstly, grief can be rough, very rough.
The wound of grief is like a deep wound that has scabbed over. All that it takes is for something to knock the scab off that wound and the flesh is once again laid bare, painful and bleeding. For a little while, everything feels as raw as it did when that wound was first acquired.
Secondly, tomorrow is a new day.
One of my very favourite Bible verses is
Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”