The Mask

Karen you mentioned the Mask we wear. It's part of a daily survival kit, isn't it, but it also takes a toll. You walk away from encounters and ordeals just exhausted if not internally weeping. Today -- yes for the first time -- I was in a meeting and everyone was talking about their kids and I made the mistake of asking how old someone's kids were and then just like a boomerang, "EL KABONG!" it came back to me: "And how old are YOUR kids, Sarah?" The two people who know that Andy just died kind of looked at me like what will she say. "Mid-twenties," I said. I didn't want to drop a bomb on the conversation. "Oh that's great," they all say, "All finished with college!" Yup.
So I didn't lie but I didn't tell the whole truth, and I was DEFINITELY wearing a mask. Inside, my heart fell through the emotional floor. I had to come home to breathe and leak a few tears. Only had some yogurt with walnuts and raisins, though... I drove right past the bakery with the sticky buns. Yay me. I don't want my mask to get any tighter, y'know? Yikes.
And............... I'm thinking about when I see my sweet husband tonight and I think I'll tell him about this and tell him that I want to pay more attention to us and OUR emotional wellbeing and what we need to do to care for each other, all we've lost, all we need, etc. LOL I'm pretty sure he will say "Hmmm." Once in a while, like in the dark after making love, there's a door open for more emotional intimacy. OK, so, let's open the door! 
Meanwhile, we're putting a huge addition on my house so that it will really become OUR house. This isn't easy, on one level, since I had to put it on hold when Andy was dx with brain cancer, and every bang of the nailgun (and you know how many of those there are! like machine-gun fire, right now outside my window) is a reminder that he is gone. At the same time, it is all about new memories, new space, my new marriage, and the life that Andy wanted me to have.
We're going to have a stone terrace patio outside the kitchen where we can sit at night, and there is going to be a big copper fire bowl where we can have fires all year round and laugh and drink wine and maybe smoke a little 'cheeba' (Andy's word for weed) on his birthday, and stuff like that. Andy would have LOVED the fire -- he was a little pyro from the time he was born -- and this item is a gift from my friends. I think in the flames we will have connection with his spirit. Something about a fireplace means you don't need to say much but you feel this connection with the mystery of life and energy and spirit. 
OK, good, coming home from that meeting to regather myself seems to have worked. I'll do a few minutes of silence, a stretch, and then drive back to the office. Besides, it's too NOISY HERE!!! 
xox Love, Sarah

Replies

deleted_user
deleted_user

Sarah,
I know the questions of those who do not know is so difficult and it cracks our masks. Hugs to you Wendy
Abotsd
Abotsd

i told 3 people in a lecture hall the other day. israeli\'s so it triggered the conversation. when i said my son had died in israel just a few months ago, it was dropping a bomb. i said, \"oh, I shouldn\'t have said anything\", but it was too late and their faces were stretched with shock and sympathy. there is no way not to say it and no way to say it. it\'s just unbearable and we bear it.
biowoman
biowoman

After Alex died, I often dodged the question as you did with your aquaintances today...it is so soon...such an open wound...hurts too much. Now, I can calmly tell folks about his passing and because I do not crumble they do not either. So, I feel I can honestly say that most days I do not wear a mask. If I am happy, I am happy....If, I am down, sad...tearful and someone asks...I just tell them. It may make them sad too...for just a bit...but it is a reality check for people. I think that part of our jobs as grieving moms is to gently remind others how fragile life is and that in a moment your world can change. Perhaps it will make one person be a bit more patient with their child, hug them extra tight...tell them how much they are loved. So, one day, after time...you will be able to share about Andy\'s journey....and yours too. Love and gentle hugs...Karen
deleted_user
deleted_user

If I am not close to the person (and I have very few friends), I won\'t tell them. It\'s wierd, but, it\'s MINE. I do not want to share even that little (painfully huge) bit of information with them. Tara Lynn is too precious and so is the ending of her life, not to be shelled out to just anybody. She only died almost 4 months ago, so I sure that I will change on that count.

I agree with Karen, you will know how and what to say when you are ready.

Bye Sweetie,
Gale Sue
annsullivan
annsullivan

The mask is a wonderful thing - helps us survive in this new world we are thrust into. I have learned not to ask or be picky who I ask about their kids - there are times I say I had 3 kids but then only say the ages of 2 - I guess we all learn survival techniques. Hugs, Ann