Wednesday, September 16, 2009

To Tell or Not to Tell

When I first became a widow, (which makes it sound like a choice or a cool club to join - which is it neither) I told everyone.
The guy at the MINI dealership.
The lady at the dry cleaners.
The girl at the jewelry store.
If someone was in front of me, I told them.
I could not say it enough.
Perhaps because I was trying to convince myself.
Perhaps because I just needed to get it off my chest.

But then there was a line in the sand somewhere.
I am not sure when I crossed it.
Now, I do not tell anyone.
I try to avoid it.
If I do not have to tell someone, I will not udder the words.
Mr. X's family does not know although I plan to tell them eventually.
The friends I have met in the last couple of months do not know.

And when it almost does come up, I get nervous.
Extremely nervous.
My heart starts to race.
I want to quickly change the subject.

I was talking to my twin, Nicolle, about it and we both agree it gives people a chance to know us.
The real us.
Not the stereotype they believe it is.
Not to be afraid of us.
It gives us a chance not to have people freak out on us.
It gives us a chance not to breakdown in front of others.

The funny/weird thing is, I almost want people to read it on my facebook page when they befriend me.
I almost want to send an introductory message: "Please read my info page before further communication. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have afterwards."
I am okay with "telling" them that way.
I am okay with talking about it in person after they know.
But saying the words "My husband died" or "I am a widow" or anything along those lines, please do not make me.
Please, please do not make me.

Today I was in class sitting next to my young naive friend.
We noticed a teaching assistant had broken her foot.
We started talking about breaking bones.
And without thinking, I mentioned I had seen my arm bones when I was in the car accident last year.
She asked, "Where you scared?"
"Yes, very."
I did not mention why I was scared.
Yes, it was scary and weird and crazy to see the bones of my arm.
But that was not really why I was scared.
I was scared because my husband was unconscious and the police would not tell me anything about him.
However, I could not tell her the rest of this story.
The complete reason I was scared.
And as I sat there I was afraid of where the conversation was going to go.
I quickly stopped the conversation.
Tried to switch the subject.
And I survived another day without telling her.

It is strange to have this 180 degree turn.
To want to hide my widow-ness.
Maybe I want to deny it.
Run away from it.
Pretend it is not true anymore.
Pretend it does not apply to me.


Split-Second Single Father said...

I have had the same thing happen twice in the last two weeks. The first time it was with a fellow widower, but even when he told me he had been widowed, I couldn't tell him I was. It's not exactly a "me too" moment. And yesterday, the shock on two new coworkers' faces was just what I like to avoid. Though I am like you - once it's out there I don't mind talking about it. It's the getting it out there part I dread. Hang in there.

Mars Girl said...

I sometimes go to great lengths to keep from blurting it out. Which sometimes involves a great deal of effort when story-telling. For example, I will want to tell somebody about an experience I had in Mexico (cuz it's relevent to the conversation at hand). I went to Mexico on my honeymoon. So I'll turn any mention of being there with someone else into a single pronoun--we becomes I.

Unfortunately, I've slipped a few times. Someone was talking about their wedding and I'd accidentally throw a comment in about how I did something... then I get the, "I didn't know you were married!" or "You were married?" I let them assume I was divorced. I usually just say, "Yes."

I feel I do this mostly to not make the other person feel uncomfortable. People cant take the widow bomb. They feel like they have to say something and I just dont like doing that to people...