In the past seven and a half months, I have worked a total of three months. I am quickly realizing why there are so few blogs on grief after a loss by suicide. Getting back to real life is hard. Finding time and energy to write is even harder! To all you individuals who go back to work after weeks and even a couple months after experiencing a loss by suicide, you are stronger than you know. You are braver than I could ever be. I know I am in the minority when it comes to the amount of time I had to simply take care of myself in grief–and I do still strongly believe this has made a tremendous impact on my ability to heal.
Even with that amount of time, I am still finding challenges as I transition back into working full time. In all honesty, the first two weeks I worked I was completely terrified that my heart still was not into it. That changed, however, the first day I began providing speech therapy to my students. I excitedly texted my mom, sister and friends, “I still love my job!” I realized I can still make a difference in this world. I can still have a positive impact on each student I service. My students are why I do what I do and they have unknowingly given my life so much purpose.
This does not mean that all days have been easy. I strive to be the person I was; the person I still want to be. The smiley, happy, positive, caring, encouraging educator who would do absolutely anything to help her students succeed. When the way you feel inside is not always congruent with the person you portray, however, it can leave you feeling completely drained. Maybe that is how Shawn felt at times.
On what would have been our wedding day, my family members gave me a wooden wall hanging. I see it daily and it serves as a perfect reminder as I continue on in my day to day life. On it, it states, “Today I will do what I can and that will be enough.”