Ah... the Walgreens Girl.

Oy. Just got back from a walk with bax to walgreens. That sweet girl was there. The one who would always ask Bax if he was going to go home and see “daddy.”

We used to go in there all the time the three of us, and I don’t think she has registered that it’s been a YEAR since she’s seen him in there.

So, today she says, “I have an idea! I love kids and Baxter is SO cute. Do you guys need a sitter for Valentines day?”

My stomach sinks,

“That’s so sweet. No, though… we’re all set.”

“What?! You guys aren’t going out for Valentine’s day? You should! Or are you just going to stay home and play with your cute boy here.”

“Sort of, yeah.” I reply.

“Well, if you’re interested, I’ll give you my number anyway if you want to do something some other time.”

“That’s a good idea.” And finally I’m like, dude, danna – just freaking tell her. Just tell her. This charade could go on forever and every freaking time this happens you feel like shit. Tell her!

“Umm, actually,” I begin, “There’s no way you would have known this, but my husband passed away this past summer.” She looked up from writing her number on a piece of paper, her face stunned.

“Oh my God.”

“Yeah. But, I do go out a lot with friends, so maybe sometime I could use a sitter.” Of course, inside, I’m thinking… ‘I have Annie and I have susan and Taylor and Michelle – no need for another sitter, but I’ll humor her.’

So, that’s it. Done. Finally the girl knows.


Jalena said...

Another step and a good one. And keep the number. Who knows, you may want to go out with Annie, and Susan, Michelle and and and sometimes and you might want to consider her after knowing a little more about her. She sounds nice anyway. And caring. We dont want just anyone keeping our little cutie though. Life does funny things sometimes and brings someone into our lives we might not have ever had there otherwise. Mainly, you said it. I understood why you didnt last summer, but now its time. Most of all, I'm proud you did it. Everytime makes it easier to say the next time although it may not seem like it. You continue to just make my heart sing with how you are handling things.

francine said...

yeesh. Good for you, Danna. There's no easy way to pass on that kind of information, especially to people you don't know well. I had sort of a similar experience last summer. My dad died suddenly in August, and i went to florida for a week for the funeral and to clean out his condo and tons of other stuff. When i returned to work, a coworker I don't know that well said "Hey! did you have a good vacation?" in a big booming voice. Poor thing really really had no idea of course, so i had no choice but to tell him why i'd been gone. He felt bad, and I felt bad.

marilyn said...

I recently found your site and it moves me very much. My brother died suddenly late last year leaving his wife, daughters, mother, sister, brother, son-in-laws all to question everyday events.

My niece sent me the following today regarding grief. Some talk to me, some don't but probably will. I hope you find it helpful.


Please talk about my loved one, even though he is gone. It is more comforting to cry than to pretend that he never existed. I need to talk about him, and I need to do it over and over.

Be patient with my agitation. Nothing feels secure in my world. Get comfortable with my crying. Sadness hits me in waves, and I never know when my tears may flow. Just sit with me in silence and hold my hand.

Don't abandon me with the excuse that you don't want to upset me. You can't catch my grief. My world is painful, and when you are too afraid to call me or visit or say anything, you isolate me at a time when I most need to be cared about. If you don't know what to say, just come over, give me a hug or touch my arm, and gently say, "I'm sorry." You can even say, "I just don't know what to say, but I care, and want you to know that."

Just because I look good does not mean that I feel good. Ask me how I
feel only if you really have time to find out.

I am not strong. I'm just numb. When you tell me I am strong, I feel that you don't see me.

I will not recover. This is not a cold or the flu. I'm not sick. I'm grieving and that's different. My grieving may only begin 6 months after my loved one's death. Don't think that I will be over it in a year. For am not only grieving his death, but also the person I was when I was with him, the life that we shared, the plans we had for watching our children grow, the places we will never get to go together, and the hopes and dreams that will never come true. My whole world has crumbled and I will never be the same.

I will not always be grieving as intensely, but I will never forget my loved one and rather than recover, I want to incorporate his life and love into the rest of my life. He is a part of me and always will be, and sometimes I will remember him with joy and other times with a tear. Both are okay.I don't have to accept the death. Yes, I have to understand that it has happened and it is real, but there are some things in life that are just not acceptable.

When you tell me what I should be doing, then I feel even more lost and alone. I feel badly enough that my loved one is dead, so please don't make it worse by telling me I'm not doing this right.

Please don't tell me I can find someone else or that I need to start dating again. I'm not ready. And maybe I don't want to. And besides, what makes you think people are replaceable? They aren't. Whoever comes after will always be someone different.

I don't even understand what you mean when you say, "You've got to get on with your life." My life is going on, I've been forced to take on many new responsibilities and roles. It may not look the way you think it should. This will take time and I will never be my old self again. So please, just love me as I am today, and know that with your love and support, the joy will slowly return to my life. But I will never forget and there will always be times that I cry.

I need to know that you care about me. I need to feel your touch, your hugs. I need you just to be with me, and I need to be with you. I need to know you believe in me and in my ability to get through my grief in my own way, and in my own time.

Please don't say, "Call me if you need anything." I'll never call you because I have no idea what I need. Trying to figure out what you could do for me takes more energy than I have. So, in advance, let me give you some ideas:
(a) Bring food or a movie over to watch together.
(b) Send me a card on special holidays, his birthday, and the anniversary of his death, and be sure to mention his name. You can't make me cry. The tears are here and I will love you for giving me the opportunity to shed them because someone cared enough about me to reach out on this difficult day.
(c) Ask me more than once to join you at a movie or lunch or dinner. I may so no at first or even for a while, but please don't give up on me because somewhere down the line, I may be ready, and if you've given up then I really will be alone.
(d) Understand how difficult it is for me to be surrounded by couples, to walk into events alone, to go home alone, to feel out of place in the
same situations where I used to feel so comfortable.

Please don't judge me now - or think that I'm behaving strangely. Remember I'm grieving. I may even be in shock. I am afraid. I may feel deep rage. I may even feel guilty. But above all, I hurt. I'm experiencing a pain unlike any I've ever felt before and one that can't be imagined by anyone who has not walked in my shoes.

Don't worry if you think I'm getting better and then suddenly I seem to slip backward. Grief makes me behave this way at times. And please don't tell me you know how I feel, or that it's time for me to get on with my life. What I need now is time to grieve.

Most of all thank you for being my friend. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for caring. Thank you for helping, for understanding. Thank you for praying for me.

And remember in the days or years ahead, after your loss - when you need me as I have needed you - I will understand. And then I will come and be
with you.

Meh said...

oh my god! you finally did it! it's good that you did so it doesn't get more and more ackward. the whole valentine's exchange is like something out of a movie, but instead of yelling at the screen "don't go down that dark alley!" you want to yell at her "don't bring up valentine's day!" for the love of god...

Anonymous said...

Oh jeez, Danna.....you are a brave one aren't you? Recently I was going over my therapist's advice about being direct and honest in my head and I was thinking about what a coward I usually am in all kinds of situations. I continue to wish all kinds of wonderful things for you. You are an amazing person. And now I have to go cry.....

Dannagal said...

Thank you for these wonderful comments, and to you, marilyn, for this poignant essay. What I find helps me is simply saying "I hate this," when I start to cry. "I hate it. I hate all of it. I hate that my old simple life is gone. I hate it. I f*cking hate it."

What the heck else is there to say, really. that's about it.