Just an update:
I resigned from my job about 3 1/2 weeks ago, and it was the best decision I could have made. I had gone back, wanting to give it a try, and while the first week was okay (mostly class and reorienting), the second week got increasingly worse until I had a panic attack on the floor and decided to cut everyone's losses. Thank God it did not happen in a patient's room but rather while getting report. I have taken the intervening time to plan and hold my mom's memorial, sleep, talk with a counselor, and manage my anxiety, not to mention my daughter's. I was still in orientation, so the schedule was brutal, leaving no time to manage estate stuff (in 8 consecutive days, I would have been off 1, possibly a weekend day, because of training classes in addition to shifts). It was not fair to the unit for me to string them along, especially when I did not want to be there anyway and couldn't say when I would be functional again.
I have to say that I initially bristled at some of the replies people had left, but I realized I had not given you all the details. I also know that even with all the details, some will continue to think I took the easy way out. Nothing about this has been easy. My mother died at my house (she lives out of state). I found her body. I did CPR on her. I tried desperately to keep my children out of the room and away from her body. I watched the funeral people drag her through my tiny, circuitous hallway. I have to go into the room where she died to work on this computer every single day. This is not a poor-me tirade; I am giving myself permission to say it was horrible. I know she is lucky that she died quickly where she felt safe and not tethered to all the crap we put on our patients, but that doesn't take away the mental image of her lying there, an image that will not leave my head.
Yes, I am incredibly blessed to have this supposed luxury of quitting a job. Just not having tuition payments going out the door is a financial improvement, but please realize I never had that luxury while my husband was in school, no matter how much my jobs sucked. I have been there, and I'm sorry if some readers are there now and are stuck in jobs they don't want. I thank God every day that I have a chance to recover from this. Please also realize that I am now just another new grad without a job, so when I do go back, who knows what my chances will be to find a job that makes more sense?
Ask yourselves: would you want a nurse who is always one step away from a panic attack taking care of your loved one? Of you? Do you want to work with that nurse?
Finally, thank you for the encouragement in your replies, both to stay and to leave. I gave your advice a lot of thought, and it helped me to decide to try and ultimately to stop.