Tuesday, November 27, 2012
It's Nice to Meet You.
Welcome today's guest blogger Kathleen Fordyce Rohan, who is filling in for Amanda.
The words come easy now; the problem is the timing.
How and when is the right time to tell someone that I am a widow? That I am not simply single, or divorced, or separated? That my husband –my son’s father – died?
I feel the most conflicted when dropping-off and picking-up Logan from school, or on the sidelines of his soccer games. Friendly mothers strike up conversation, commenting on his smile, asking innocent questions, like, “Is he your only one?” I occasionally see their eyes glance my bare left hand. Sure, there are lots of other single mothers out there, but we always seem to be surrounded by couples and families of four or five or six. Just the two of us, we seem out of place. Is this reality, or all that I see?
I don’t want widowhood to define me but at the same time feel it is an important part of my identity. I want people to know I was once loved and married, and we were once a traditional family. But while Nolan’s death has changed me more than anything in my life, I don’t want it to be the only thing they think of when they see me. I want to claim and detest the title all at the same time, in the same breath.
So I try to navigate the tricky equation, calculating in my head as I indulge in conversation with someone new. I try to ponder the right moment, the right words. Sometimes people find a polite way to ask (So where is Logan’s Dad? Are you married or divorced?). Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes it just hangs in the air and I spit it out in a rush of words; other times I hold back. I know sometimes some people wonder and guess, and other times people just really don’t care.
I wonder if telling the story ever gets easier, more fluid and real, or if I will always feel this way: unsure. I wonder when – or if – people will ever stop wondering? When or if I will cease to care?
As with everything else in grief, maybe only time will tell.