No Man is an Island: Musings on Grief, Bonding, and Candy

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    Although I am not ready to talk about what happened, I find that I am at last able to organize my thoughts enough to form a coherent sentence. Kinda. In "real life" and the workplace, I have been muzzy brained, turbulent, and just not myself. And in spite of all that, I was welcomed "home". I am dumbfounded by the kindness of others.

    It is said that no man is an island entire of itself. At one point in one of my more contemplative less than sober moments, I pondered if the disagreement with that statement had more to do with man being more a peninsula or a cape. Perhaps a fjord. Can one be like a fjord?

    Wait...where was I?

    Oh, that's right--

    Make no mistake, I like what I do. The fact that I get paid to do it sometimes helps with the liking factor substantially. But there are things in this world that a paycheck can't help. Money can't buy happiness and all that. Blah blah blah.

    Personally I think that's a crock of donkey spit, but that is a topic for another article, another time and another place.


    I work with some fine folks. There are some of the most clever, spot on, and twisted individuals you will ever have the great joy of meeting.

    And there are times that these same fine folks remind me more of the Chimp House at the zoo than not--complete with romping shenanigans, unmerited feces slinging and occasionally the dramatic tearing off and chewing of another's face. Just because they can.

    Where as I would normally be more than happy to take my place with them, swinging from the trees and scratching my apricot hair dappled bottom, I just don't have it in me.

    Life can be a vicious poacher with an itchy trigger finger and wavering aim brought about by too much boxed wine on an empty stomach. And let's just say, whether intentional or not, a few weeks ago Life winged me.


    I find myself guarded, twitchy and unbalanced, overloaded and just a touch angry. I struggle not to lash out, to retract the sarcastic claws that want nothing more than to maim, to feel exhilaration, even at another's expense because maybe, for just one moment, I won't be alone in my pain or I will at least feel something more. It's not intentional. And no, it's not nice. But then again, I most certainly never claimed to be either.

    And as much as I would love to withdraw, to retract into some dark crevice to find shelter and sanctuary against every little thought, emotion, interaction that, for just this moment, is blaring, searing, and razor blade sharp, I haven't that choice.

    It's quite simple, really. Money = good. And I'm kinda a huge fan.

    Turns out stockpiling Twinkies to sell on Ebay was not the brilliant multi-million dollar idea I thought it was going to be. It also helps if one does not consume the merchandise en masse while roosting on the couch watching reruns of Criminal Minds.


    Sooooo...yeah. I have to work.

    To say that I was wary about returning after my time away would be an understatement. I was defensive before I even reached the employee entrance: hackles raised, teeth set, shoulders drawn tight, ready to face the maelstrom of schmoopy hugs and teary condolences. All so desperately unnecessary.

    You see, I failed to give proper credit to my co-workers. Had you asked me five weeks ago if they understood, if they knew my inner workings, I would have snorted and shook my head. Now....Now I am humbled. Shame on me. They knew all too well.

    There was no great fanfare when I returned. There was no great outpouring of well wishes and sentiment. It was as if they understood the feeling of pungent overexposure to a world turned too deafeningly bright and worked, with soft unobtrusiveness, to mute the color and dampen with sympathetic cotton wool.

    There were kind words spoken just for my ears alone. Hands reached out to rest just for a moment on my shoulder, departing with a light squeeze in a sweet Morse code of understanding and support. Cards appeared on my nursing station without the giver ever being witnessed. Foreheads pressed to my shoulder in a reassuring nuzzle whenever they slumped just a bit too much beneath the burden of taking back responsibility and advocacy.

    I admit that I struggled to maintain (and heaven help me, I still do). In a metaphorical and real sense, the wound I suffered kept me from keeping up with my pack and rather than turning on me, they circled, supported, and allowed me to lean on them. They turned toughened hides to biting words spat in frustration masking self admonishment and answered only with a smile and a quip to gently remind that they know, they understand....but don't push my luck.

    And when it seemed to them that I wanted nothing more than to slink off, to withdraw, they lured me back out into the open with the same diligence as Elliott bent on trapping ET.


    I didn't even know Reese's Pieces came in tiny fun size bags that fit conveniently in scrub pockets. But I do now.

    And once I was ensnared, they were quick to keep my wily brain focused with raucous story telling and some filthy, horrible, punny jokes.

    And I adore them for it.

    Perhaps eventually I will be able to find the words or the action that can appropriately encompass my gratitude. Then again, I'm not sure even flooding the lounge with Chocolate Fondue would begin to cover it. Not to mention I'm pretty sure Housekeeping would have a few choice words to say.

    So what do I wish you take away from this whole mish-mash of loose metaphor and unwieldy grammar?

    A: Dream jobs, job tasks and assignments aren't everything. When you look for a floor, a department, a place of employment, take a good hard look at how the folks get along. Listen to how they interact. Because one day, when you have been sucker punched in the kidney by the bad day from hell, they are the ones that will dust you off and help you move along. Or not.

    2: Remember that everyone has their hour of need and their time of pain. Your efforts to soothe are greatly appreciated and will not be forgotten.

    Lastly, I have not forgotten the wonderful individuals here who reached out and offered support. Although it is easy to feel alone, I am reminded, time and again, that I am not.

    I am not an island.


    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 7, '13
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  2. Visit CheesePotato profile page

    About CheesePotato

    Don't hang on. Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and sky. It slips away and all your money won't another minute buy. ~~Kansas~~ "Dust in the Wind"

    Joined: Jan '12; Posts: 241; Likes: 2,374
    OR circulating/scrub nurse; from US
    Specialty: Sleep medicine,Floor nursing, OR, Trauma

    Read My Articles


  3. by   cav5
    Wow. Powerful.
  4. by   LadyFree28
    Welcome back CP...your floetic words are priceless as always

    Glad you're back.
  5. by   motherof3sons
    Glad you are back!
  6. by   silverbat
    CP--- you are loved, admired and respected!!! ....apricot hair covered butt??????? ROTFLMAO