DEAR ABBY: I am a registered nurse employed in a hospital. My daughter passed away in December from breast cancer. I worked up until two weeks prior to my daughter's death.
During that time, I made no mention to my co-workers about my daughter's grave condition. It was just too sad. Three weeks before my daughter died, my supervisor called me into her office and told me I had a "bad attitude."
I admit that I had kept my feelings to myself, and of course my demeanor reflected a sad expression, but my attitude was never "bad." I quickly responded to my supervisor, in my defense, that my daughter was dying and asked her how I was supposed to act. She told me there were other nurses who had gravely ill children, but they didn't behave the way I did. I replied that she should walk a mile in my shoes. She reiterated that I had a "bad attitude." I responded that since she seemed to be such an authority on behavior and dying children, perhaps she could enlighten me on how to "act" -- because I really didn't know.
I have since returned to work, and I now have a strong dislike for this person. I see her daily, and she has the nerve to speak to me after that unpleasant encounter. Abby, how do I get past this? She has apologized for her comments, but the damage has already been done. -- FURIOUS R.N. IN THE NORTHEAST
DEAR FURIOUS: It's unfortunate that your behavior was misunderstood, but since your colleagues had no way of knowing what you were going through at the time, your supervisor was only doing her job.
Please accept her apology and find it in your heart to forgive her. If you cannot, professional counseling to help you rechannel your grief and anger may be in order. Life is too precious to harbor resentments.