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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Word play...

Yesterday at the grocery store I handed the cashier my coupon. She was a young, pretty girl- probably no more than 20 years old if I’m being generous. She noticed my wedding ring, complimented me on it and asked to see it again. I obliged her though I could feel the anxiety rising…I knew the questions were about to start rolling off her tongue. She oohed and aahed over how pretty it is and asked if he had picked it out himself. I replied simply, saying he had- offering no other details. “He must have really good taste in jewelry,” she said. “Yes he does,” I reply. Choosing to refer to him in the present tense because that is easier than explaining that he “did” have good taste in jewelry, that he “used to”, that he doesn’t anymore because he is dead. She continued to gush about how she and her boyfriend just recently went ring shopping and she was so excited….blah, blah, blah. Honestly I didn’t hear another word she said. I was lost in my own thoughts by then.

It was the first time since all of this began that I actually wished I hadn’t worn my ring. Not because I’m not proud of it, but because sometimes it’s just easier to not have a reason to talk about my husband. Sometimes I don’t want to do all the explanations, and occasionally I find myself making a split second decision about whether or not to let someone believe my husband is still alive, or jarring them with reality and telling them the truth.

Ironically, this young cashier is the same one who many weeks ago noticed the necklace I wear with a replica of his sheriff’s badge on it. In that interaction she asks where my husband works and I awkwardly stumble through the explanation that he used to work at Guadalupe County Sheriff’s office but doesn’t anymore because he passed away. She gave me the “I’m so sorry I asked” look and profusely apologized. To which I profusely apologized to her for making her uncomfortable. We both pretty much abruptly stopped talking to each other, and avoided each other’s gaze through the awkward silence of the guy bagging my groceries. Though she obviously doesn’t remember this interaction as she continues to talk about rings, and how lucky I am to have a husband who has such great taste in jewelry. This wide eyed, young girl, so in love, would be shocked to know what real life can do to you.

So I referred to him in the present tense. Letting her (and me) believe for a second that I was going home with my groceries to the man with “great taste in jewelry”. Letting her believe in happily ever after. No need to ruin her dreams. No reason to let reality come crashing down around her just because misery loves company.

I was her once. Excited and eager about sharing my future with the love of my life. I was young and in love, and didn’t know that it could all slip from my grasp so quickly and stealthily that it would leave my head spinning and my heart empty without the slightest warning.

He has been gone 7 months today. But I guess he still has great taste in jewelry.
Yes, he does…


  1. Ahhh I remember being "that girl" too. I remember being questioned by "that girl", and pretending Dan was still alive. I remember trying to decide whether I should stop wearing my engagement ring. Sometimes I get the urge to put it back on, and pretend that life never changed. Shitty part is, life has changed. But, I'm learning to change with it now, and accepting the new me. I won't be "that girl" again because life has changed that, and I don't think I want to be her again. But, there is the hope to be silly in love again. Chin up pretty lady, we'll make it through this!!

  2. I think what amazes me is that even when caught up in grief and dealing with your own sense of being blind-sided, you still continue to think of others (even strangers) and how what you say or do will impact them. It's admirable.

  3. I completely get this post. It's an odd dance and I find myself, like you did, apologizing profusely. Thinking of you today at 7 months.