About a month from now, nine years ago, I sat weeping in front of my computer trying to fill out my jobseeker diary. A couple of weeks before that I had attended a seminar and gone to a new claim interview and people had said that they would look after me. They didn't. A little bit before that I had steeped out of the lift and into the hushed upstairs part of that office and lodged a claim for family tax benefit. A bereavement claim. I felt a little wrong doing that but I finished my call centre contract early and couldn't possibly imagine working again. The nurses at the hospital had given me the claim and told me to lodge it. The families people were kind and offered me social work services but I said no. It would have been helpful to me if they had communicated with the people downstairs and someone had completed what I now know as the NMIS screen with the birth date of my baby. I would have been granted an automatic six week exemption from looking for work. I didn't know it then but that would have given me enough breathing space to figure out what to do next.Actually it would have been reasonable to expect the people downstairs to have looked for the information that was there and coded the exemption on their own initiative. After all I had sat through the new claim interview crying quietly and when they asked me about my previous circumstance I said, I had a baby and he died.
Sad day this year was last Tuesday and really, it passed much like any other day. I wasn't really sad at all. After nine years, most of the time I'm not sad any more but every now and then there will be an intense moment. There's a new family at school and I really like them but their youngest has the same name as our son. It's an old fashioned and uncommon name at the moment and he's a feisty and totally cute looking three year old and when I hear his mum call his name, there's a part of me that just want to curl up and cry. I told her a little of my story, just in case I seem odd, but really I'm just going to have get used to it. And I will.
It's hard to tell whether I went nutty this time because of the sad day anniversary stuff and the way the spring weather with the wind and the sun just reminded me of certain feelings. Can the remembrance of a feeling rather than the feeling itself have an effect? Or whether it was work stress and not enough sleep. Or just the increase in the amount of light. Or the way that I pretend everything is OK, even to myself but it really isn't and I just burst. Kind of like a nasty pimple. Or maybe it's just me and my own particular kind of special. So anyway, this sad day I find myself drugged to the eyeballs and back at work explaining myself to the team leader who surprises me by being pretty decent about it all. She listened. I found myself explaining how my workplace had once treated me quite insensitively as a customer in the past She looks at me and I realise that this feeling of working for an organisation that has treated me pretty badly somehow really matters. I don't know what I'm going to do with this feeling but I see the same sort of thing happening to other customers now. All sorts of different circumstances but the same sort lack of empathy or understanding. And it pisses me off. It's not unique to my workplace, or organisation and I don't know how to change it. But I'd like to have a stab. That's what I'm going to try and take from sad day this year. That and a big breath out. Because now it's downhill all the way to Christmas with a couple of birthdays on the way.