But wait… There’s more.

Email from my boss:
On 2014-05-29, at 8:33 AM

Good morning Agitha, I did receive your letter and I understand regarding the commute to the city. If our date for the consolidation of the Smiths Falls and Ottawa offices changes to later in the fall are you willing to continue until the change does occur?

Xxxx Xxxxx RN BScN
Branch Manager
Xxxxxx Home Health
52 Abbott St N, Smiths Falls, On K7A 1W3
613-283-XXXX ex XXXX
[email protected]

Xxxxxx is a leading seniors’ accommodation, care and services company.
To learn more visit www.xxxxxxxxxxxx.com

And my reply:

The intention of this letter is to advise of my resignation due to the office changing locations, and effective as of the date of that change. Should the business still be operating from the Smiths Falls location on August 5, 2012, I will return to work as usual until operations relocate to Ottawa.

~ Agitha ~
Sent from my iPhone

OMG, you guys, I quit my job.

Agitha Xxxxx
222 Brockville St,
Smiths Falls, ON, K7A 3Z4
613-207-3746

May 29, 2014

Xxxx Xxxxx, RN
Branch Manager,Xxxxxx Home Health
52 Abbott St N, Unit 3
Smiths Falls, ON, K7A 3Z4

cc: Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx, RN, MScN, MBA
Senior Executive Director, Xxxxxx Home Health

Dear Xxxx,

As a follow up to our meeting yesterday, I am writing to advise that I will be unable to continue my employment relationship with Xxxxxx Home Health effective the date of the Smiths Falls branch closure, which you and Xxxxxx have indicated to me is expected to be in early August, 2012.

Under the terms of the Ontario Employment Standards Act, my resignation within a reasonable period of receiving notice of the office closure is considered to be a constructive dismissal, which I understand entitles me to severance equivalent to one week’s pay for every year I have been employed (Sections 63, 64 & 65 ESA); as my start date was in January 2006, I am entitled to six and a half weeks’ pay.

Please confirm with me at your earliest convenience the exact terms of the severance package that Xxxxxx Home Health will provide me upon my resignation due to Xxxxxx’s permanent discontinuance of business operations at the Smiths Falls branch.

Sincerely yours,

Agitha

Sent via email, original to follow by mail.

I Can’t Imagine The Pain

Kind people send me kind messages and, while I so appreciate their kindness, there is a part of me that wonders why I am receiving these kind words.

Sometimes, they say how sorry they are for my loss. Those ones make sense to me. I had a baby growing inside me. I had a future planned that included that baby. I was supposed to carry it and nurture it and then give birth to it. Then Jason and I would love it and cherish it and care for it and feed it and watch it grown and learn and become its own little person. I lost all of that. People are sorry for me that I lost all of that. I am sorry for me that I lost all of that.

Sometimes, they say how strong I am. Those ones make slightly less sense to me. I see strength as something a person builds up, something that a person works hard to develop. A person lifts weights to build muscles to develop physical strength. A person trains to gain strength. I cannot imagine anyone training for this. Imagine purposely losing things of greater and greater value to you to build up your ability to cope with the loss until one day you are strong enough for this…

Sometimes, they say they cannot begin to imagine the pain I must be feeling right now.Those one make the least sense to me. I understand exactly the sentiment of the person saying the words, but the words themselves don’t seem to fit. Even I cannot begin to imagine the pain I must be feeling right now. I almost do not feel any pain at all; but my baby died, and when someone dies the people who love that someone feel pain, so if I loved my baby, I must be feeling pain. If I am not feeling pain, and an enormous amount of it, at that, does that mean that I didn’t love my baby?

The pain is there, but I can’t measure it, or describe it. Most of the time I don’t even notice its presence to the extent that I start to believe that maybe it’s not even there anymore. Like an overpowering perfume, I have adapted to it so well that it has blended into the background and I barely acknowledge it anymore.

Like that overpowering perfume, I get whiffs of the pain every now and again when I least expect it.

A certain song comes on the radio, and it is the song that Jason and I played for River when I was hooked up to the fetal monitor on the morning of April 8, 2012. The only time we ever played music for her, pressing his iPhone against my belly. The song that seemed to calm her down, because her heart rate dropped from way too high to in the normal range and the doctors and nurses were surprised and said let’s wait and see. And we  breathed a sigh of relief because we didn’t know any better and we thought that surely the scare we had that morning was over because her heart wasn’t racing anymore, and now we wouldn’t have to induce at 24 weeks, and she’d have more time to grown and for her lungs to mature, except we didn’t know she was a girl yet, because we wanted to wait to be surprised at her birth.

I look at the photos we took of River. We took those photos mere hours after we played that song for her. She is sleeping in every photo, at least she looks as though she is sleeping. Her eyes are never open, her mouth is never crying. She is dressed in a pink knit hat and wrapped in a flannel blanket in some of them; in others she wear a matching pink sweater which is too big for her tiny frame and the sleeves are rolled up at the cuffs. Her face looks bruised, and the photos make it seem even worse, my memory of her is less blemished than the photos. There are so few of them. I wish we had taken more, but at the time I didn’t think about that.

saI talk to the women at the local yarn store about the tiny hats I want to knit to donate to the hospital, because I am so grateful that someone else knit a tiny hat and donated it to the hospital and they had it there to put on River when she was born. I show them the hat I just knit over the long weekend and I comment that although it is small it is not small enough. I say that my daughters head was much too small for this hat to fit, and I hear an edge in my voice, a kind of mania that I was not expecting to hear.

I write this post, and as I type tears fill my eyes, and then spill over. My throat feels as though someone is strangling me. My chest feels like a 250-lb weigh is resting on it. I feel so much pain I can’t imagine that my body will be able to contain it all, it feels as though I might explode. This is more than mere pain, this is anguish; no, more than that even, it is ANGUISH!!! Yet beneath all that, I feel such relief; relief because now I know that, of course, I loved my baby. Now I realize that I can’t imagine how much pain I feel, because it’s impossible to imagine, even for me. The pain is so huge, and overpowering that I am glad not to be able to imagine it. I am glad to only catch a whiff of it now and again, because if I had to carry it all at once the weight of it would crush me like a bug.

I take a deep breath, and I gently tuck away the detailed memories, they are like posters hung on telephone poles advertising lost dogs and cats, or community theater plays and local venue concert, their edges ragged and torn, their colours oddly faded in some places and garishly bright in others. I close the door on them for now, because a pain this big can only be felt in small doses.

Meeting With The Boss

This post was written on Friday, May 25, 2012 and scheduled to be posted on Monday, May 28, 2012.

I have a meeting scheduled at work this afternoon at 12:30 PM. I’m not sure what to expect. I emailed my branch manager last week to remind her that my Short Term Disability coverage was coming to an end – on May 27, to be exact – and that she would need to submit an ROE for my continued absence due to Maternity Leave, and to set up a meeting to discuss my return to work once those benefits end at the beginning of August.

While I have been off, I have not had a single official communication from my office. However, I had heard through the other two After Hours Coordinators that our Regional Manager has changed the job description and requested that they sign off on contract amendments. I also heard that the local branch is closing and merging with the Ottawa branch – this was corroborated by the branch manager when she responded to my request for a meeting.

I’m not sure how to feel about these changes.

Clearly, I first need to consider whether or not I am willing and able to commute to Ottawa regularly for work. As it stands, over the past two weeks I have been doing essentially that, catching a ride into the city with Jason when he goes to work. Of course, I have been limiting my trips to coincide with his work schedule.

We DID have two cars up until the end of last week when the car designated as MY car died. This means that schedule is now a factor in whether or not I am even able to commute for work. Jason works odd hours, but so did I. With the change in job description/contract amendment and the merge with the Ottawa branch, I have no idea what to expect in terms of proposed schedule.

The third factor, and probably the most relevant to me, is what exactly does the new job description require in terms of tasks performed and salary paid. The other two girls were “offered” significant changes to their job requirements and a significant reduction – yes, you read that correctly – in overall salary. They work(ed) overnights, and I did (do) not, so there may very well be a different offer on the table for me. I won’t know until I go in.

I’m not too worried about changes in terms of the workload; I think I have a pretty good work ethic, and believe that any effort I put towards the overall good of the company will benefit me as an employee in the long run. The issue that concerns me is salary, because as much as I am committed to the good of the company, I demand fair compensation for the work I do. I don’t think I am unreasonable in this demand.

I haven’t even been to the meeting yet, and already my mind is racing with everything I need to consider and I haven’t even scratched the surface. There are a few more personal factors that I have left off this list – for example, am I even going to be emotionally ready to return to full time work in a new environment by the first week of August?

One thing is for sure, if the schedule is completely impossible to coordinate car-pooling, or the salary offered doesn’t meet my expectations for fair compensation for the workload, then I will be forced to refuse to sign the contract amendment, and hopefully will be offered a lay off with a fair severance package.

Apparently, FAIR is today’s keyword.

What Makes You Happy?

In light of my new employment status, I am in a position of being able to reinvent myself, at least in terms of what I want to do with my life from this point forward*. Maybe I can finally take some time to identify what it is that makes me happy, rather than just doing whatever comes along because I don’t feel like I have a choice.

Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind is MOTHERHOOD!!! – in all caps and followed by three exclamation points. This is one of those life choices that is less about taking specific action to make it happen – aside from the obvious – and more about allowing nature to run its course. Nature tends not to care too much about my scheduling preferences. I’m still working on accepting that.

In the past few years, I have blogged and tweeted off and on with varying levels of frequency/activity. After losing River, I decided that I wanted to start blogging again, with a renewed commitment. I have a reason to blog, something important to keep a record of. Not just River herself, but the changes that having had and lost River made in me. Most of these changes are what one might expect: wanting to form deeper bonds with my parents, siblings, and niece & nephews; stronger commitment to Jason, and to having a family. One change I was not expecting is that I am a lot more in tune with who I am, who I want to be, and what I need to do to get from here to there.

Anyways, as I was saying, I have been a somewhat active blogger and tweeter for a few years. I am friends with some people who have been very active bloggers/tweeters. These friends of mine are/were active enough to be attending – and in some cases organizing – social media conferences. I have never been to one, but I have always wanted to attend, for the social aspect. I want to be there, instead of reading the blog posts and tweets of people who are there. I want to be IN the photos, not just looking at them online after the fact. Since I am off this summer anyways, I registered for Social Capital Ottawa. I also went ahead and registered for BlissDom Canada because I wanted to take advantage of the Early Bird ticket price.

When we were driving to my dad and stepmother’s lakeside cottage for the Victoria Day long weekend, Jason told me that he really hoped I would get something out of these conferences. I thought he was making a reference to the $$$ I spent on registration fees, so his follow up comment really surprised me. “Blogging is something you keep coming back to, maybe this is what will make you happy.”

Maybe THIS is what will make me happy. Maybe I can identify myself as a Blogger – with a capital “B!”

Remember That Time? When I Didn’t Go To The Halloween Dance

halloween

A long, long time ago, in another province, I was once a 14-year-old girl who lived in a house with spruce trees growing in the back yard. An older boy from my school lived the house whose yard was back-to-back with ours. I was in grade 9, and new to the school. He was in grade 10. He was tall and lanky, with dark hair, and his name was Scott or Shawn or something.

One Friday afternoon in October, Scott-Shawn-or-Something was in his yard kicking around a soccer ball. I could see him through the window above the kitchen sink. Andrea and I found some excuse to go outside and hang out in our yard. We three volleyed playful, flirtatious insults back and forth over the fence.

I should back up a bit here and explain my living situation at the time. My mother had just taken a job teaching in the Arctic and she arranged for me and Shannon to live with family friends so we could attend high school “Down South.” I was fostered by my best friend Andrea’s parents. They lived in a different school district than I had been in for my first two years of high school, so I was in the terrifyingly glorious position of starting all over again and being able to re-create myself for an entirely new peer group. Of course, I was 14-years-old and instead of seeing the wonderful potential, all I saw was the terrible inevitability that everyone at my new school would surely realize that I was a nerdy, dorky, socially retarded loser. I would never have believed that anyone might see me as an exotic newcomer.

So, we were in the yard, teasing and being teased by Scott-Shawn-Or-Something and then Andrea went inside. I did not.

Memory is a funny thing; I remember some details of that October afternoon as if they were being acted out in front of me by my own private troupe of actors as I type this, but most of the events are completely lost to me.

I can tell you that Scott-Shawn-or-Something ended up jumping the fence into our yard, but I cannot recall exactly what led to that. Probably, he accidentally – or “accidentally” on purpose – kicked his ball into our yard and jumped the fence to retrieve it. Although, that doesn’t really make sense, since I could have just tossed it back over. Maybe I engineered it by holding his ball “hostage,” daring him to climb the fence, and forcing him to come to me. In any case, we were both in the same yard all alone as dusk fell.

There was one huge spruce tree in the corner of the yard. It’s lowest branches were a few feet from the ground and spread out at least eight feet from the trunk. At the very corner of the yard, the fence and the tree formed a sort of canopied hiding spot. The ground was covered with layers of dried spruce needles that allowed one to sit without risking getting grass stains or wet spots on one’s behind. The branches and trunk of the spruce almost completely hid the spot from view from the outside, and just enough light filtered through the branches to make it seem mysterious and cozy.

I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that I found myself sitting with my knees pulled up to my chest, leaning back against the fence boards with a foot of Scott-Shawn-or-Something, my heart pounding with anticipation and anxiety. I was shocked at the idea that a boy – an older boy, no less – would ever want to sit with me in such close quarters. I was excited by all the possibilities that existed in this secret place. I was terrified that this was all some ploy on his part to catch me off my guard, trick me into revealing myself, and exploit my vulnerability. It may be that I had seen too many teen movies involving exactly that plot line; it may be that I was tainted by previous experiences with mean girls in my grade 6 class. The result is the same either way, I was elated to be alone with a boy in a romantic setting, yet I didn’t trust the situation one bit.

We sat and talked for a while. I have no idea what we talked about, but I remember that he did ask if I would be going to the Halloween Dance that night. I had not planned to go, and I told him as much. He made efforts to convince me that I should go – this just fueled my fear of exposure, what if the goal was to get me to show up at the dance expecting to hang out with him or be his “date” and then reject me in front of the whole school?

At some point, Andrea’s father poked his head out the back door, reprimanded us for “killing” his tree – looking back as an adult, I realize the tree was less of a concern than the two teenagers with raging hormones sitting together in such close proximity and relative privacy – and called me in for dinner. As we crawled out from under the tree Scott-Shawn-or-Something asked me again to come to the dance, and I started to consider it.

At the dinner table, Andrea’s older sister Tina teased me about having a crush on the neighbour boy, and my pride and need to protect myself kicked into high gear and I decided not to go to the dance.

Andrea went to the dance. Shortly after she left, I started to regret my choice to stay home, imagining that if I had gone Scott-Shawn-or-Something might have tracked me down, and asked me to dance, and maybe kissed me – my first kiss!!! – and possibly even asked me to “go out” with him – my first boyfriend!!!

When she got home, I asked her whether Scott-Shawn-or-Something had been there, praying that he was and that he had asked about me. As it turns out, he was there and he did ask about me. However, when it turned out I was not there, he hung around with Andrea and her friends for a bit, ended up dancing with one girl in particular quite a bit, and by the end of the dance they were “making out” and they had arranged to see each other over the weekend and would surely be officially “going out” by Monday.

The bus ride to school that Monday sucked, Scott-Shawn-or-Something had left home early to walk to that other girl’s bus stop, and when the bus pulled up, they were cuddling and giggling and I was filled with loneliness and regret and a sense of loss for what I might have had.

That’s the story of the time I didn’t go to the Halloween Dance. Obviously, there’s no way to predict how that night might have ended if I had gone; but twenty-plus years later I am still convinced that if I had been there it would have been me that Scott-Shawn-or-Something would have ended up “going out with” in the fall of 1990; and I’d remember his name today.

Can you remember a time when you let fear prevent you from doing something you would have enjoyed? Have you ever missed an opportunity you wish you had taken a chance on? Write your own Remember That Time? post and link to it in the comments section.