Friday, February 26, 2010

the bomb

Image from Heberger

Occasionally, I will meet a stranger in a line-up or a clerk at the store who notices my oft-perceived masculine purchase of a hammer, a litre of oil or a case of beer. Sometimes, people standing closeby will make a comment about my husband and how lucky he is that I'm buying him this case of beer, picking up the oil or replacing this hammer.

When Jeff first died, these comments hurt. They broke me. They reminded me, as if I needed it, that he was gone. Dead. And I was alone.

I felt hurt and angered at these people. I wanted to scream at them that they were not only sexist but insensitive and nosy. So I'd just simply say, "My husband is dead."

They'd stare at me in shock and search my face for signs of jest. I'd stare back with tears streaming down my face wishing they could understand and hating them for not.

Now, I actually find some form of morbid humour in shaming these people into submission. I find it amusing to watch the horror, embarassment and guilt cross their face. I know I shouldn't enjoy it. But it is kind of....funny.

I don't wear my black veil and dark clothing. I think my eyes have mostly lost their hollow depths. To anyone looking at me, I look like one of them. The 'normal' ones. The intact ones. The married ones. There are no markers to alert someone of the bomb that I carry around. The thing that most people don't want to talk about. Death. Grief. Mourning.

Many people shy from these topics. Steer around these landmines. Avoid discussion of this eventuality.

So when it enters a conversation so abruptly and without forewarning, it's sudden unexpected elephant in the room and no one knows how to remove it.

I find that use of this giant pachydrem to chase away masogynist and preconceived notions is endlessly entertaining.

"What did you do to upset your dog so much that he's on antidepressants? Ha ha ha"

"My husband died."

"Hey Sweetcheeks! Can I buy you a drink?"

"My husband died."

"I am sure your husband will be able to unplug the toilet with this snake in no time flat."

"My husband died."

Dropping the 'bomb' has its' uses and I am finding it so....perfectly perfect that Jeff is still providing laughter and protection to me in death. (Although I realize that this is most likely a cruel and immature way to get my kicks)... Honey, you the BOMB!


  1. Shortly after my husband died last November, I was at REI with a friend. The clerk asked if I had a membership card, I said "My husband had one, can I use that?" He said "Yep, you can use it, it is good for life, until he dies." My friend said, "Well, he just died." Then we laughed our heads off as the clerk stood there, mouth open, just staring at us! It was a bad joke but so funny we could not help ourselves.

  2. Last year, when I was driving across Canada, the halogen bulb on one of my headlamps burned out. I bought a new one at an auto supply place and changed it out in the parking lot at the motel where I was staying. A young guy stepped outside of one of the rooms to have a cigarette. He watched me for a little while, then shouted, "Hey, Lady! Where's your man?! He should be doing that for you! What kind of man lets his wife change the headlamp?!" I turned and shouted back, "A dead one!" That shut him up pretty quick.