To the lady in the Home Depot parking lot…

To the lady in the Home Depot parking lot, the lady who came out her car screaming, arms flailing, so eager to assign me the blame for the fender bender:  What you don’t know is I don’t really care.  As I looked at your pinched face, with eyes hidden behind sunglasses, all I could think was, “there are worse things in this world, lady.  My baby died, what’s a little dent mean to me?”

To my chiropractor, when you said I looked good today- better than I had looked last week:  What you don’t know is, my look changes day by day, minute by minute.  I cringed when you said it because what I was hearing was, “you look good, you must be done grieving. Hooray! Now we can all get back to normal life.”   I am not done grieving; I will never be.  There is no normal life, just different life.

To the woman in my exercise class who I introduced myself to and gave me a stone face and flat response:  What you don’t know is this was the first time since my daughter died that I took initiative to say hello and seeing your lack of interest was discouraging.  But then I thought, “She must be having a bad day.  Maybe her baby died too.”  That’s where my mind goes because losing my child is my everything.  I can’t think of anything else.

To my family member who acts surprised when I answer the question, “how are you?” with a dejected sounding “alright:”  What you don’t know is how hard that question is for me to answer.  I don’t ever feel like I will ever be able to reply with a simple “good” and mean it.  Because I’m sad.  Everyday I’m sad.

To the woman walking on the bike path with her teenaged son with Down Syndrome:  What you don’t know is I wasn’t staring rudely at your child.  I was looking longingly at him, trying to picture what my Mabel would have looked like at his age.

2 thoughts on “To the lady in the Home Depot parking lot…

  1. Thank you!

    This is precisely why I used to tell my middle schoolers about my “skin test.” The skin test is just that we never know what is really going on with another person beyond-under their skin.

    I would ask them if their body and actions always showed the truth, and if they ever wished people would treat them with (appropriate) love, compassion, and respect regardless of the day or time.

    You’re right that others haven’t a clue about what you’re feeling and living. That applies to us all.

    Wishing you the best and what you need in each moment.


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