Today is my birthday. I had to go to work, and I slogged through it. I naturally worried about how I would feel today - my first birthday without my mom. I missed her, of course, but it was all entirely tolerable.
One of the things that made it perfectly pleasant (besides the lovely weather) was the kindness of my co-workers. When I started this job, I had one hope - that my co-workers would be affable enough for me to eat lunch with. And, with the exception of Matlock, who has proven himself a stellar friend and is at the top of my favorite people list, that's just what I got. My co-workers are all nice people, fun to eat lunch with and complain about work, and perhaps have the occasional drink across the street. But that's about it.
When my mom passed, I talked a good deal with Matlock, but not at all with the others. Grieving is terribly personal, and ergo embarassing to share with people who only know a small sliver of your life. Still, I was strangely touched to look over at my mom's memorial service and see my co-workers there. And I was grateful that back at work, there didn't seem to be any expectation for me to be any particular way - happy or sad. For the record, my role, aside from Matlock's setup man for tasteless jokes, is to walk around making fun of everyone else, followed by a damning self-deprecating remark. And that's what I went back to, with no strange looks.
Today I went out to lunch with some co-workers, and then K presented me with a beautiful chocolate cheesecake with chocolate covered strawberries on top - she made it herself. After work, we all went out for a beer before my dinner reservation.
I was touched. Perhaps that is silly, but when you spend a large chunk of your day with the same group of people, the normalcy of seeing them becomes a comfort. Birthdays are ignored, or considered irrelevent by so many. I have always personally enjoyed them, and felt the significance of making it through another year, and perhaps pondering changes for the coming year, ought to be acknowledged. And while my co-workers may not be the people I spend my Saturday nights with, and while I'm certain they have no idea that I am deeply appreciative of the kindness, I am just that - much obliged.