Truly it is. The screensaver on my computer at work is about death. It is a visual of a small child in a state of despair overwritten with a message about speeding and those we leave behind because of our irresponsible behaviour. Death is not written out as a word, but the innuendo, the unspoken, is about loss – DEATH.
I work for a large organization with thousands of employees. I work at the main office and my computer is part of the centralized network. In the last week someone in authority okayed the use of the screensaver as a broadcast mechanism to relay this message. Ticks a box of sort I suppose. I don’t go to work to think about death, dying, loss or any of that stuff. I do that well enough on my own, especially this week. The last week of March brings what would have been my anniversary; it also marks one year since Kevin’s death. Needless to say, I am thinking about death a lot. Work provides a distraction where I can immerse myself in activities that take my mind off of death, loss, dying – all those sad and sorrowful thoughts. At least it did.
After the first day or so of “the message”, I emailed our technical department to politely ask to have it removed from my workstation. It is upsetting, morbid and, personally, I find it quite stressful. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if it only popped up first thing in the morning, but it doesn’t. It pops up all throughout the day; every time I lock my screen, whenever I don’t utilize the computer and it is dormant up pops that screensaver. Unlike a television channel I don’t have the option to turn it off or make it go away.
I have learned over the last few months that there are triggers that can start a downward spiral. I know, for example, that if I go into Kevin’s art room I will invariably cry. I may choose to go into the room but I don’t have to if I don’t want to. When I do, I accept the consequences of my actions, I am prepared. Mentally prepared; I either steel myself emotionally because I want to work in the room, or I may open myself up because I feel the need to be close to my late husband. At the end of the day I have a choice. This silly little screensaver does not give anyone a choice – you can’t hit escape to get rid of it.
My request to the technical department was acknowledged but identified as a low priority item – for them. For me it is not. How dare they take away my safe space! I found myself so angry this morning when I had to go in and face that messaging yet again. I had a meltdown and ended up with my manager at my desk telling me she’d do the best she could to remedy the situation. Admittedly I am a bit out of sorts and I knew I’d have a tough week, but work had factored in as part of the solution to getting through this time, not as part of the problem. The busier I am the faster the time goes; I am using the head down and get through it approach.
I don’t need a screensaver to serve as a touchstone to loss, sorrow, sadness. Really, who does? Does the employer think that the employees feel good and positive after viewing this message? For the normal person it’s a downer, for me it’s an emotional brick they keep throwing at me. Truthfully, I am strung so tight right now, I feel if I have to face that message again tomorrow morning I may just head back home.