I had to pick up my last paycheck stubs from the big, box store and went in to get them on Monday. That experience inspires this post. I called the office before I left so they would expect me. When I arrived, I greeted the female office manager who was talking with one of the male store managers. Both of these people know me and worked with me for 8 months. There were never personality problems or run ins with either.
I was given my paperwork by the office manager who did not even stop talking with the other manager. Neither one looked at, acknowledged me or said anything. I made a point of saying goodbye to both and left. It was an odd, unsettling experience but typical of this place. My feeling unacknowledged and invisible was frequent during my employment there. There were times when the top store manager would walk by and I would say hello and he also would not say anything to me. He'd just walk by. So I'm not sure if the people this guy hires are similar in disposition to him or they model the behavior after being hired to fit in.
In any case, this all got me to thinking about isolation and grief. Despite the rather bizarre experience of working at this store, I am grateful that doing so provided opportunities for me to socialize and get out and about in the world. I formed some acquaintances with co-workers and enjoyed interacting with the customers. For various reasons I didn't work much after my husband's death. And looking back am seeing that this may have been a hindrance. If I'd been working, I'd hopefully been able to tap into another social support network and my sense of confidence would probably be higher.
I am finding that grief feeds on itself. And in being isolated it can be very easy to fall into the trap of just staying in that cave longer than one should. Without a purpose or reason to get up, it can be so easy to spend endless days stuck on that page where the grief remains blinding and excruciating. There is also the element of resisting change and finding comfort in what you know. You stay on the same page because at least you know what that feels like. It can be very hard to turn the page when you don't know what is coming or how you'll cope or handle it all.
Being a working parent is tough for everyone and especially only parents. I'm not particularly looking forward to joining the daily grind again. But I am trying to look at it from a more positive view. That I will certainly be deriving many benefits, the first of which will be to have greater interaction with others and the world. I will no longer be able to hunker down in my cave for as long as I want. I will be emerging to face the sun and air more days than I have in the past years.
Today I am grateful:
1. For having shelter from the elements and cold.
2. That we have food.
3. That we have a computer and internet access.
4. That we have cell phones.
5. That we have warm clothes, although our boots seem to have been misplaced in the move. We'll try to make due.