A couple months ago two of my good friends, an acquaintance and myself made plans for a girls’ night getaway replete with spa treatments, dinner out, cocktails and a hotel room. The four of us met at my buddy’s house to discuss details. It was the first time I had seen this acquaintance since A died. She had sent a thoughtful card, but we hadn’t spoken or anything. As I entered my friend’s house this acquaintance’s face immediately went somber when she saw me. We hug and before she can say a word, I ask about her life and new house. Then I quickly move on to greeting the others. I know she wants to bring up A and the whole ordeal. But I honestly don’t want to discuss it right then. We’re gathered to plan a fun outing, there are a handful of small children running around. It just doesn’t feel right to me.
We pick a date and finalize it all. I am the first to leave. Again I hug the acquaintance and this time she will not be silenced. She tells me how sorry she is and that this is the first time she’s seen me since. “I know. Thank you.” I respond. I well up and say how very difficult it is to be here without A. The other girls tear up too. A minute later I leave.
I do want people to acknowledge A’s life and death. I want them to recognize the hell I live each day now. But I don’t always want to get into a conversation about it. Am I trying to have it both ways? It’s so awkward to see people for the first time since A died months out. Just another reason to burrow inside the house.
Fast forward to this week. Girls’ night out is approaching. I have emailed my buddy twice in the past 6 days and she has not responded. This is very unlike her. Then I get an email from her that opens, “I NEED to talk to you.” I panic thinking something horrible has happened. I grab my phone and dial her. She is calm and casual on the phone. “Is everything alright?” I ask. “Oh yeah. I just really needed to hear your voice. I didn’t respond to your (Dragon) email not that I didn’t read it hundreds of times, I just don’t want to say the wrong thing.” Me, “I don’t know how to do this either.” (PS – I’m the bereaved Mom here; your needs take a back seat. Including your need to hear my voice. Sheesh!)
Our conversation continues on and we discuss the overnight outing. She offers, “If you just want to come for the spa and dinner but not stay the night, that would be okay. I mean you’re pregnant now. Plus I don’t want you to be uncomfortable or any of us to be uncomfortable.” Ahh yes. There it is.
I realize that my depression, grief and effed up reality is difficult to witness and even harder to be around. I am awkward in social situations now. I know how uncomfortable it is to be so close to me and my grief – I live it EVERYDAY! But it’s not like I can just take it off for the evening.
I know that I’m not fun to be around. I also know I’m the worst friend ever right now. My survival cocoon doesn’t allow me to see, hear or really care about what is happening in the lives of others. My instincts are selfishly devoted to buoying myself and there is no energy left over to have concern for others.
I cannot offer more at this time. You can either choose to accept me as I am and what I can(‘t) give or not. I don’t have the resources to put on a front for you or anyone else.
This is all especially disappointing because this particular friend has often cried with me and always remembers and mentions A. Now what? *sigh*