It's been three months since I lost my husband and people chirp at me that I am "out and about and doing so well." In their minds it seems to be a positive. In truth, I might smile, I might laugh, but inside, I am woefully unhappy. I am doing "well" on the outside but on the inside, I feel the pain even more because the shock has worn off and the full reality hits with a vengeance.
People have listened to my pleas on Huffington Post and know not to ask me "how am I doing?" They enquire about how am I faring this minute. I feel as if I have taught my immediate world a new etiquette on how to address someone grieving. They now hug me so much that I have to invest in Purell! The comments are amazing on the blog. People keep telling me to write more. I have touched a nerve and as much as the writing is painful, I have to convey what is in my heart in order to function. Those experiencing a similar loss write me "Please don't stop what you do. Those of us who know what it's like appreciate you. Someday I want to meet you if for no other reason then to give you a hug."
I went to lunch with a friend who gave me a big hug and then spent the entire time talking about her own troubles. I listened and then felt I had to get out of there. I know my limits now and I know if it doesn't feel right for me at that moment, I must be as kind as possible and leave before the sadness overtakes. Or to say it differently: "I'm so out of there!"
A few weeks ago I went to a benefit for a school that enables underprivileged youths to get a head start on education. It was uplifting to see the kids talk about their wonderful successes through education. But, it was really hard to be around old friends I hadn't seen which made the tears well in my eyes in seconds. It triggered the faucets of eyes to test drive my waterproof mascara. It was the first time I was out at a large event and my dear friends who were also honorees surrounded me like a phalanx. The main honoree was a television executive who also moonlights as a Cantor, and after his lovely acceptance speech, he sang one of the most beautiful Hebrew songs l'dor vador. That's when I lost it. The waves of sadness hit me like a punch to my gut and I dissolved into my friend's arms in a pool of tears and snot. They scooped me up and took me home. I am out and about. But, as for doing well, I think not yet.