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.