Friday, July 15, 2011

The same??? a cranky rant

Image from here....

First posted on my personal blog on June 25th, 2008 (Three months after Jeff died) while still in the throws of "death anger"...

The kids and I went to a small toy store to find a little toy for Liv and Briar on our way to the wedding on Sunday. The saleswoman was one of those types that drive you insane while shopping by following you around and making comments on anything that holds your attention for longer than 3 seconds. She must have been curious about why we kept referring to ‘Daddy’ in the past tense. (Daddy didn’t like that. Daddy thought that was funny. Etc…) When I went up to pay, I explained that I was trying to find a few things to keep the kids busy while I was doing photography at a wedding. She says, “Well, where’s your husband?” Like it’s any of her business. What if he left us for some skanky, gymnast with a leashed pet bunny named Gerome? I just said, “He’s dead.” I’m so tired of the questions and the ridiculous euphemisms for death (passed away, left us, in heaven, etc.) I find if I just say ‘it’ they usually stop. Not this chick.

After getting past her questions about the circumstances relating to his death (I STILL have a hard time telling people that it’s none of their business and that I’d rather not talk about it to a total stranger, she begins this fucking stupidly long story about her grandfather’s death in a car accident when she was 3 years old. I didn’t quite understand why she was telling me all of this. Now, I don’t doubt that her grandfather’s sudden death caused her family a lot of pain and that it was hard for her family. But she then says to me, “So I totally know what you’re going through.” Huh?

I fail to see very many parallels in these two events other than that they were both males and they died suddenly. UNLESS:
- She was over say age…..5.
- She was in love with her grandfather and not in the grandfathery sort of way.
- They had children.
- Her and her grandfather’s children were there when he died.
I could go on, but I am sure that someone will take offence to this anyhow and I think you probably get my point.

I think often people don’t know what to say and so they just spout off the first experience that they’ve had with death and assume that it’s all the same. Maybe after I left, she thought “God, I’m a dumbass.” But I doubt it.


  1. A great lesson Jackie.
    I am going to try to remember that when people tell me about their death experiences
    I have a immediate family history (three deaths in six years all from cancer) and then my husband - from cancer! I can make people cry by telling them that story.
    But I don't tell it.
    It is bad enough to have lived it.
    Like you i say "died" - it is the truth. They all died.

    I think people want to say "we"
    we have grief
    we have people die that we loved
    we are all in this fucked up crazy world together
    we have to hang onto each other - even when we act like a dumbass!

    Because we all have acted in ways that are not the best parts of us.
    We have all been insensitive ( this was particularly insensitive)
    We are all ignorant, blind, stupid at times.

    Some us have the experience through the deaths of those we love, to learn not to respond in this way. Because we are the eyes looking in. We are the ones who do not measure out our grief in that way.

    Being widowed is not like being a child and having your grandfather die.
    It can't be.
    End of story.

  2. Oh, Jackie. I so related to your experience as I'm sure so many others have. Like "anonymous" above I have learned. Just say nothing. They have no idea what I'm thinking and sometimes I even catch myself with thoughts so jaded and sarcastic that they surprise even me. No matter whom else in your family died and no matter what the circumstances, when your husband dies you are left drifting. Our spouse is our anchor. I wish that people would just SHUT UP.