My husband and I spent the afternoon in the ER on Monday. He was doing well when we got home and throughout the night, so I decided it would be okay for me to go to work on Tuesday. I figured I needed the distraction and he probably didn’t want a hovering motherly eye on him all day. So, even though I was exhausted, I got up and pulled myself together to go in.
The coordinator I was supposed to work with on Monday knew what had been going on and she told her boss, but everyone else just figured I was sick. When that coordinator came into the break room and saw me, the tears began welling up. I knew breaking down at work couldn’t be as whole and complete as the day before, but I allowed the tears to surface a little, figuring she’d understand. Combined with the fact that I had spent most of the night with my hand on my husband’s back, making sure it was still rising, I didn’t really have much of a choice in containing those emotions.
A little later her boss saw me alone in the hall and, with concern all over his face, said, “How are you?” The look in his eye, knowing he knew everything that had happened was too much for me. The tears flowed and I explained where we were in the process, how tired I was, how scary the whole thing had been. He expressed his concern and asked me to keep him updated.
As the day wore on, I was able to keep the tears at bay, able to do my job effectively. But those initial moments, when I had to face the reality of the situation from someone who had not been there, hit me with a force that I was not expecting. My meltdown was not as brutal as Monday, but I still took the risk of allowing those emotions to come up in a place where those sorts of things don’t normally belong.
I got to see, though, that I’ve got an amazing collection of people in my life who care. They could have easily told me I needed to pull myself together, or that my actions were inappropriate. But instead, my supervisors supported me and were completely behind me. Normally I wouldn’t have brought such a rawness into that place, but, then again, sometimes you just don’t have a choice.