I went back to work today. Not to my "official" job. We did that earlier, and are easing back into that role, although I haven't actually sat down and done any serious writing yet. But I have a second job - a means of making some extra money. It was nice to go back to work. Surrounded by people who care.
Sad. That is what I thought later. It is sad. Our first days back at work at our office, and we were surrounded with criticism and attacks. My first day back at my secular job, and I was surrounded by care. Ok - there was one, there always is, who wondered why I took so much time off work. But she grumbles about everything.
My other co-workers came to see me, to say they cared, to check on me. When I phoned in last night to get my schedule, my one coworker was so nice. She asked how I was doing. She commented that I still did not sound quite normal, and firmly stated that if I woke up and did not feel like coming into work that I was to phone her and she would take my shift. Tomorrow or any time in the next weeks as we adjust to normal. I thanked her and said that we do hope to take some time off with the kids since they missed a promised holiday. She immediately said she would cover for me. All this after she has been covering for me for over two weeks. I smiled. Felt loved. Relaxed. So wonderful to be cared for. So wonderful for someone to ask how I am really doing and to listen. So wonderful to not be made to feel guilty for needing time to recover.
But sad. Why did this have to come from non-believers? Oh some of my coworkers might be believers, but most aren't. Yet they responded with care.
Perhaps because the events did not threaten them or touch them as personally. Who knows. But it made me sad. I wish our team family had responded with as much compassion as my secular coworkers.
Still, it was wonderful to make it through a shift. Sad to have missed the death of one I have cared for for five years. Sad to sit beside another as she is dying. But, dying is what I do.. well, not personally, but caring for the dying... so it is not something I shy away from. I know it comes, and my job is to comfort through the process. But there is always something sad about death, about the simple being there, sitting with, holding the hand as a person slips away. This one person is 104, and is spunky so there is some debate as to if she will go soon like the signs say or rally once again and surprise us all. My mind goes back to the things she has surprised us with before.... she is the one who threw chocolate milk all over me when I did not listen to her "no", she is the one who at 103 was walking better than the 80 year olds and grouching at them for being lazy. She is one spunky lady, and she is dying like she lived - with an ability to hang in that amazes us all. Tonight I said my good-byes. She may not be there tomorrow. But she has lived well, and if I go in tomorrow to see an empty bed, I will be able to say that we loved her well in her last years with us. Then I will prepare to meet the next one who we will love until she also breathes her last.
Oh, and my favorite patient was thrilled to see me today, and greeted me happily. Then he sighed and said, "You look delicious!" Time to giggle and ask for his teeth and try to ignore his many exclamations of how much he loves me. He's a nice man, just a bit too loving of all of us! But we let him, and don't fuss at him - he is sweet.