I went back to work on Friday (and worked yesterday too) and it was harder than I expected. I've been trying really hard to go ahead and cry when I need to and not let sadness get bottled up, but after work on Friday I did the very thing I've been trying so hard not to do: I came home upset after my hard day, told Greg about it briefly, then a couple of hours later had a meaningless disagreement and suddenly burst into sobby tears. Oh, well.
I have always been so afraid of my parents passing away that I was uncomfortable when other people had a death in their family. I remember people at work especially, I'd often sign the sympathy card being passed around and then not mention it to them at all. I've always heard that it's way better to say something, but I'd still feel reluctant to bring it up, since it's obviously painful. But holy cow, going back to work and having most people either say nothing or say one quick "I'm sorry" and then retreat hurt my feelings much more than I expected it to.
I know no one wants to think about anything so sad during the holidays. I really appreciate the couple of people who hugged me, and I appreciated the couple of others who actually spoke to me for a few minutes about it.
I also got the feeling a few times that people weren't saying anything because they didn't want to remind me of it. It's not exactly like I can't think about anything else, but it's sort of like I am thinking about my Dad even when I'm not. There's just a continuous achy sadness that's getting a little better, slowly, but doesn't go away.
I feel bad now about all the people I didn't speak to when it happened to their loved one, and I guess one lesson I have learned is how important it is. I'm sure everyone is different in dealing with their own grief, but I think pretty much everyone is already thinking about it all the time and feels some amount of relief when other people bring it up.