Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6
Tomorrow I face one of the few things left before our lives return back to our new “normal.” Tomorrow I leave my house and walk back into the place where I held my little girl for the last time. Tomorrow I return to work.
I had imagined my first day back to work after my maternity leave. I thought I would be extremely sad to leave my one year old baby, but excited to be reunited with co-workers. I thought I would walk in with my head held high. Instead… not only am I walking in with a broken heart, I am walking in unprepared for the emotions that await me. Unready for the awkward silence and glances from the ones that do not know what to say. Worried about the first time something triggers my memory of that morning, or I come face to face with a doctor or nurse that was involved in her code.
I have spent the last month counting the weeks, than days, and now hours until September thirtieth. I can not believe that the time has actually come. I am not ready…..or I do not feel like it anyways. I feel like just yesterday I had three girls and a whole year off to spend raising them. Now I have two and am back to long hours and days without them.
The majority of my last few days off have consisted of being anxious, panicking, and crying at the fact of going back. Panicking about how my life is going to go from the quiet comfortness of my home to a fast paced high energy nursing unit. That my crayons and building blocks are going to be exchanged for bandages and a stethoscope. The thought of taking care of others while I can barely still take care of myself seems like a horribly daunting task.
I am fearful of how I will be perceived. I feel like I have changed so much will my co-workers even remember who I was. I wonder if I will be able to smile or laugh at all the simple little things that once helped me get through a long shift. I worry that the relationships I have spent years forming will be affected by the uncomfortable death sentence that now follows me wherever I go.
I feel like one of the biggest things I am afraid of is that going back is one of the final pieces of the puzzle, walking through those doors means that Audrey is really gone…..and that the world really is continuing on without her. I have spent so much of my time in a bubble in my home, attempting to hold on and preserve as much memory of her being here as possible, that the thought of having to face the reality that the world has continued to spin, regardless of my intentions to stop it is gut wrenchingly painful.
I actually spent all of my day today trying to come up with a way to postpone tomorrow. I came close several times to calling and changing my start date to next week. Then I realized that the longer I avoid the situation, the longer I get to stress out over it. That next week would mean another seven day count down filled with panic. Eventually I have to go back. As much as I would like to, I know I can not avoid it forever.
Tomorrow as I step out of my comfort zone. As I exchange my sweatpants and baggy sweatshirts for scrubs. I know that I am not returning as the same person as I was before. I wouldn’t go back to the old me even if I was given the choice. I may still carry a broken heart but I am stronger and more hopeful then I have ever been in my life. Tomorrow one of the final chapters begin. Only this time…for the first time in my entire life….I get to return to work, one hundred percent faithful in the one who is writing my book.