Friday, February 3, 2012

The Scarlet W

Photo by Leo Reynolds

These days, I feel like I am wearing a Scarlet W on my chest.  I have seen acquaintances who used to speak to me look the other way as if they didn't see me.  Or worse, I have overheard them whispering to others, pointing me out, "That's her, the one whose husband died."  It shocks me quite a lot, and hurts me a little.  Do people think that widowhood is contagious?

But I get it, I do.  Acquaintances don't know me well enough to know what to say or how to comfort me.  And it's hard to see someone in's personal and private and uncomfortable and let's face it, not pretty.  So I shouldn't be surprised that acquaintances run the other way.  I've been guilty of it myself, in the past.

But I'm here to tell you, those people who don't know me well but say something anyway...I love them for it.  I love it when an acquaintance shares a memory of Mark.  I love it when acquaintances tell me Grace and I are in their thoughts and prayers.  And I think the best approach of all may be one shared by two male work colleagues--one a gruff retired military man, the other a young guy just a few years out of college.  I mean no disrespect to either, but neither would win awards for being especially sensitive.  But both of them, on separate occasions, saw me walking toward them in the hallway at work, pulled me into a big bear hug, then patted my shoulder and went on without a word.  It was the perfect way to show that they care, because truly, there are no words.


vintage girl at heart said...

Thinking of you and Miss Grace.

bamber said...

My name is Amber Thomas, and I do not know you, but I did know of Mark, through PC Schools. I must say that the world lost a remarkable man. You and Grace have been in my prayers daily, since I heard of Mark's illness. I pray for you to find peace, and strength needed during the grieving process.

Zen Mama said...

For a writer as gifted as you to tell us all, "truly, there are no words" is a gift. Thank you for helping us to navigate our way through uncharted waters. I hope you can feel me thinking of you and Mark and Grace and holding you all in my prayers as I live my life day to day, hoping you are doing the same and knowing you will.

ps - when I think of you two, I swear I can feel Mark's place in this universe.

ain't for city gals said...

There really should be a book for people (actually I think there is but can't remember the title). People just don't know what to say so they say nothing. Just an acknowlegement of your husband's life would help I would guess. I do know and share your grief and I am wishing you well in the coming days, weeks, months and years. Write about it on your does help and I will be here to read it...

Suz said...

I totally get the "W" and the wondering about whether time is better or going quickly is better. It is hell to watch Jud suffer but, honestly, I think, when time passes, I will be grateful for it. Do know I am thinking of you today and of other members of the sorority that none of us would choose to join!

Milly said...

luv you and that girl named after me

Francy said...

it's a tough row to hoe you got.

only time will help.


your gonna make it.

Suz said...

jud died ten days after i wrote the above letter. I had no idea how close he was. I have been plugging along, totally overwhelmed by all the financial details, alternating between uncontrolled tears and numbness. I wear a "W" now. Friends have been incredibly nice but I truly feel odd, and feel the weight of being a WIDOW.
I hate that word!

I hope you are continuing to heal.