Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Every Picture Tells a Story

I'm having issues. I still can't look at pictures of Bobby.

It's been eighteen months, and I can talk about him to my friends and family and laugh over things he's said and done. I can wear his jacket and bathrobe and feel warm and cozy. I even have a recording of his voice on my computer, whenever I need to hear him say, "I love you."

But aside from my wedding picture, which hangs on the wall at home, and sits on my desk at work, it's so hard for me to look at pictures and videos. I was sorting through some pictures on my computer the other day, and came across a picture of the two of us at one of our son's birthday parties. We were so happy. I started to cry when I looked at him, standing there smiling, holding our son in one arm with his other arm around me. All of a sudden I felt so alone. A ball formed in my stomach. I wanted to be sick. I then looked at my own face in the photo, and I saw something in that face that I have not seen in AGES in the mirror.

It was light. Happiness. Contentment. Ease. How a person looks when they know they are loved. I almost want to say there was a "twinkle in my eye" except for the poor cliche-ness of it. Nowadays, even when I am smiling or laughing, there is still something missing. I wish I could get that look back in my face, but I don't know how! I thought it would just "show up", but so far, I'm still waiting. I wonder sometimes if I'll ever get it back.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Death, the Workplace and Psychopaths

I was recently made aware of a lawsuit that took place in NJ. To summarize, a woman had a photo in her cubicle of her late daughter, along with a pair of the girl's ballet shoes. Her supervisor told her to remove the items from the cubicle, and that she was no longer permitted to speak of her daughter at work because her daughter was dead. This caused the woman so much stress that she ended up in the hospital and having heart surgery.

She later contacted a lawyer, filed a lawsuit in New Jersey, and, she lost! (You can read the whole original article HERE.)

I am saddened that she lost this lawsuit, not just for her, but for all grieving people. I have a picture of my late husband and me on my desk at work. Many of the people at work have pictures of themselves with their spouses. If I were asked to remove mine, just because he had died, while my co-workers were allowed to keep theirs up, that would probably do a lot of damage to my psyche and set my healing process back by months.

This boss supposedly cited the reason as the photo being disruptive, and that co-workers were complaining that htey were uncomfortable with the photo.

How could a photo possibly be disruptive to the work place? It was not mentioned that she was not performing her duties poorly. And when the lawyer for the woman questioned the co-workers, nobody said that they were uncomfortable. I'm sure that it was the boss that was the one that was uncomfortable, so he took the "bullying" route and eventually caused her to resign.

The following day, I came across an unrelated article that basically states that according to research, 4% of bosses are certifiably psychopaths, while only 1% of the general population is. Also, by definition, a person with a psychopath's personality traits has the same personality traits as those who climb the corporate ladder. (You can read that article HERE.)

After reading the first article about the woman in New Jersey, I was not surprised by this one. That boss HAD to be a psychopath to attack that woman the way he did. We're so worried about bullying in this country among kids, that we forget that it takes place every day in the workplace among adults, and now it is attacking people who are coping with loss. In my opinion, if someone is doing their job effectively, then any family photo is fine in the cubicle.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Posthumous Awards

I used to have no understanding for posthumous awards. I mean, I thought they were nice gestures, but I also thought, “What good is it if the person is not here to get the award?”

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my late husband and I worked for the same organization, although in two different departments. Our professional paths would occasionally cross, but not often. Yesterday I was doing some research and found a document that was posted to our Internet site explaining some of the technology innovations and visions planned for the organization. (My husband was in IT). There was a section that pointed out some of the major problems that the department was having, and my husband was cited as the man who pioneered the solution to several of the problems. It made me smile. Then I noticed that the document had been written in May of 2010. He died in April of 2010. I smiled even more.

Even though he didn’t get an “award”, the posthumous praise meant so much to me. So now when I see widows and widowers and children of deceased parents accept awards for their late loved ones, I’ll see that even though the honor goes to the person who has passed away, the pride and smiles go to those who loved him or her.

Now I know.