A Letter To My Colleagues

So with my anxiety at an all-time high in anticipation of my return to work I may or may not have just have lost it?!?! I have just written a very open and honest email to my work colleagues.  And now I’m dying inside!

I cried and typed and re-typed trying my best to get my message across.  I am used to being very conservative at work.  I don’t tend to show my emotions or even the real me…until now.  I feel like I have just laid myself bare.  But I don’t feel like I have any choice.

Knowing the deep hurt and upset that people’s words or lack of words have caused over the last 10 months I want to try and minimise that on my return.  In fairness, if I was on the other side of all of this I don’t think I would have a clue what to say to me either.

In the hope that this might help any of you either returning to work or having a colleague who has lost their baby return to work I have shared my letter below.

Wish me good luck xxx

❤️❤️❤️

“Hi Everyone,

As most of you know I am returning to work on Tuesday of next week.

I am looking forward to seeing you all and taking on some new challenges with Tatiana and her team.

I know that some of you might feel some anxiety or awkwardness about seeing me for the first time. I have found that a lot of people don’t know what to say or do after your baby dies. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal.

I thought to make it easier for you and for me I would let you know how I’m going and what works to say and not to say. I’ve put a little list together below if you would like to take a read.

  1. I had a baby and he died. While it is the most horrible thing that could ever happen, it did happen. Some people think that it might be easier for me if they pretend that it just never happened at all, but that is not the case and in fact, makes it worse. It makes me feel like my son doesn’t matter or even worse, doesn’t count.
  2. Benjamin is a very loved little boy. Even though he is no longer with us I talk about him all the time. He is my son and always will be. It doesn’t hurt or upset me to talk about him so please don’t be afraid to bring him up. We all love talking about our kids after all.
  3. There are no magic words that you can say to me to make it all better. If you don’t know what to say a simple “I’ve been thinking of you” will suffice or “It’s nice to see you back” (I’m happy for you to lie for the second one 😉)
  4. The last 10 months that I have been off haven’t been a holiday so please don’t ask me if I enjoyed it (and before you ask, yes people have said that to me!).
  5. If I cry please don’t freak out! Grief is an absolute roller coaster and can come and grab me at any time.
  6. Coming back to work after such a life-altering event is pretty overwhelming so please be patient with me.
  7. Babies and baby talk are major triggers for me. Please don’t be offended if I excuse myself from such conversations. I am very happy for you but it just reminds me of everything I am missing out on.
  8. I am not great in group situations, so please don’t be offended if I don’t attend social gatherings for the first little while.
  9. Despite all of this I am excited about coming back. While large parts of me have changed I am still your annoying accountant who asks too many questions. So I guess what I’m saying is don’t be afraid to come and say hi.

To all of you who have made it to the end of this long email despite your busy work days, well done!  Please feel free to pass this on to anyone I may have missed.

See you on Tuesday.

Kind regards,

Catherine”

 

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

9 thoughts on “A Letter To My Colleagues

  1. I think this is a good idea – like you said, it is not something you would have liked to have written but I completely understand what you mean by feeling like you have no choice. Sometimes people need to be told how to act/what to say/how your’e feeling because it takes away a tiny bit of anxiety if people just know from the on set. I remember writing a similar post on my own facebook for my friends and family when Evalyn died. it made it easier for me to say to everyone in one go than by person by person.

    I really hope your return to work is a positive one and I look forward to hearing all about how it goes. You are strong and brave and wonderful – never forget that!! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lyndsey. In the early days I wasn’t able to tell people what I needed and they didn’t know what to do. I think now that I’m better able to articulate my needs I can make it easier for everyone by just addressing it upfront. I’m hoping it will go as well as can be expected next week xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, it definitely helped me really consider what I do need to feel supported, and I know it helped my co-workers. The default when we’re unsure what to say is generally to remain silent, which makes everyone uncomfortable. So a little direction can make the whole situation a little more gentle I think.

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  2. wow that is brilliant! i will be returning to work in the next month and thats… perfect! I am not sure if you have returned yet… I hope it was smooth for you and people really listened to your message. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you xx And yes the majority of people did listen. A lot emailed back and said thank you as it reduced any anxiety they felt about what to say to me. I’ve just finished my second week and it was SO much easier than my first week. Wishing you lots of luck for your return xx

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    1. Thank you so much. I cried the whole way through writing this but it helped to release a lot of anxiety that I was harbouring and it made my actual return easier. Lots of people care I think they just struggle to show it xx

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