I sometimes feel like I should have a script prepared. Maybe I should plan out what I will say when the inevitable questions come from the various people I encounter.
- Where is your husband?
- Wait how old are you that he died?
- How did he die?
- Was he sick?
- Was it unexpected?
- Did you know he was sick?
- Did you have any warning signs?
The trouble is I never know when I am going to encounter a person who is curious. I never know which line of questions it will get into. I never really know what I will say and to whom.
I get asked by people who knew him well, people who knew him a little bit, people who only know me, people I just meet, people I will meet.
Think about how many different scenarios we as Widows would need to prepare for and I am sure I am missing many:
- People who provide services to your family (Doctor, painter, etc)
- Person at the bar who is interested in you
- The guy online wondering why your profile says status: widow
It is nearly impossible to come up with all of the scenarios and the paths the conversations would take. Some people know he died, some do not, some know how, some do not. Because of my concern for his privacy I limit who I tell about how he passed away. Another reason is because quite honestly most people cannot handle it and then I have to deal with their feelings about that. I do not need to take on anyone else’s grief/fears/anger/questions in addition to my own (and neither do you).
So as Widows we decide who to tell what to for many reasons:
- safety (does everyone working on our home need to know?)
- privacy (his and mine)
- to save them from what they cannot handle
- because we compartmentalize our work/person lives as a general rule
- because we are tired of the sad eyes
- because we do not want your sympathy right then
- because it’s Friday night and we are out to have a fun/normal time not a widow wallow
When is it the right time to tell certain people who you plan to? No rules on this one either so it is just a factor that we go along with.
How much should be shared? This varies with whom your speaking to and what you feel comfortable sharing at the time.
And then people wonder why we are in our heads a lot…. think about this a moment.
We wonder daily who to let in, what questions to answer, when to answer them, and to what level we answer them. We are constantly hoping we choose correctly.
Sometimes people ask at the wrong times or ask insane questions and you are in such shock that even if you had a script ready to go for that scenario you probably could not pull from it anyways. So we do the best we can with handling who to tell what to and when…