How's my happiness level?
Today, when setting up an online account, I was prompted to select a security question. The first one on the list was, “In what city or state did you meet your spouse/significant other?” I automatically moved past it, instead selecting “What street did you live on in third grade?” (and, if you know, shut your mouth!). The spouse/significant other question wasn’t upsetting, but the options didn’t include “late husband,” so it didn’t seem appropriate for me.
Tomorrow we enter July, which means that we’re closing in on the anniversary of Ramón’s death, July 20. For me, there’s nothing about that particular day that will separate it from the rest. I imagine people will be reminded — via Facebook memories and the like — and might post updates or send me texts. And, just like other days, I’ll struggle with how to respond.
When people say that they can’t imagine my pain, I often feel guilty because, for the most part, I’m enjoying life. Alternatively, when I respond happily, it feels like maybe people assume I’m faking it — that there’s no way I could possibly be joyous after everything that’s happened. The past [almost] year has taught me that grief carries with it entirely too many expectations. I personally feel like maybe I’m doing better than people want/expect from me. However, other grieving friends regularly feel that people imply they should be further along.
Grief is weird. Period. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. If you know someone who’s grieving, I suggest making your check-ins neutral. Start with, “Thinking of you,” or “How’s your summer so far?” We (speaking on behalf of the Grieving Committee) want to be treated normally, but we also don’t want to feel like the entire world has moved on without us. Just like life generally, some days are better than others. And, like most people, we embrace the good days, and other days we look forward to going to bed and waking up with a clean slate. Cheers to July!
P.S. Here I am looking happy, but hopefully not inappropriately so. (How's my happiness level?)
P.P.S. Yes, that's my reflection in my glasses. I'm the apple of my eye.