Well, I survived it. I didn't fall apart or have to run from the building bawling. It was very hard but somehow not as difficult as I thought it would be. I am now bone grindingly tired emotionally and physically.
I was really unsure what to expect. Mostly people tried to pretend things were normal but with great discomfort and sadness in their eyes. Lots of hugs and shoulder pats. I was surprised no one said the words, "I'm sorry for your loss." or anything about the baby at all. Mostly people asked me how I was or just patted me on the shoulder. LP bounced up to me with a smile on her face and hugged me. I didn't get that but whatever. KG offered to help me do quarterly testing even though she's terribly busy with the Holiday Program. Mrs. W came into my classroom while the kids were there and kissed me on the cheek. KO was very kind and talked to me of when she lost her mother, how she couldn't remember very much of the following year. Talking to her was the one time I choked up. Jae didn't offer sympathy on the phone last week or in person. I guess she tried to act normal, still offering to do anything for me and taking my recess duty so I could test kids. The other (now only) pregnant woman in the building did stop by at the end of the day to see me. She stood at the door as I complained to her about the substitute who left things in a bit of a mess for me. She was kind and I know she must understand how awful it will be to be around her for a while.
The most difficult part of the day was the Holiday Program practice. I guess the sub didn't take the kids to music last week and so they have no idea what to do during their song. Sort of a Mexican circle dance. I could hardly bear the cheerful music and when I realized I had to get in there and dance along with them to show them what to do, it was hard to hold it together. Very difficult to face all this damn jolliness when nothing seems jolly to me right now.
The best part of the day was seeing the smiles on my kids' faces and getting their hugs. It had been a rough week for them without me. I could see them relaxing into our routine like it was an old bathrobe. We worked hard, trying to make up what fell through the cracks with the sub and doing quarterly testing which we are far behind in.
I wish I could say it felt like some sort of triumph but I feel like I'm at the end of a marathon while somehow having just taken the first step. Not that I know what running a marathon feels like.
When I got home, my professor called me and asked couldn't I please work on and turn in the final exam tonight. I tried to explain that I hadn't even started on it, that I had looked at it over the weekend but couldn't make myself focus. I even started to break down. She pretty much insisted that I do it. When I got off the phone with her, I cried hard for the first time today. Here I make it through the day and this comes crashing down on me.
I did finish the final and had just mailed it when she called me back. She was so nice, explaining that the real teacher (she's subbing for a sabbatical) had been standing right there while we were on the phone before and had insisted that it was university policy that if a student didn't turn in a final, they had to get an incomplete. She told me to just write something down, anything, a sentence or two and send it. She would cover for me. I do think she was glad to hear I'd written it and sent it though. She was so kind. She had had a loss herself in the 15th week many years ago. She was so complimentary saying that she'd be glad to have me as a coworker.
Glad this day is over.