Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Shh! Here She Comes.

Monday, January 21, 2013
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I was walking to get coffee at work when I heard two people talking in low tones.  When they saw me, they immediately said “Shhh!” and stopped talking.  I had a definite feeling that they were talking about me. We exchanged hellos and when I walked away, they started talking again.  I looked at my shirt to see if I had a stain or maybe my hair was sticking up.  I couldn’t see anything unusual.

A little bit later, I hear that a former employee that worked at my company had passed away over the weekend.  Oh, then the realization hit me.  No one wanted to talk about this in front of me because they knew that my husband had passed away.  My first reaction was to think that they were very considerate of my feelings and/or sensitivities that I may have.

But then I thought – gimme a break! My husband has been gone a few years by now.  Do they think that I am such a wreck that when I hear about another person passing away, that I will crumble into a ball of emotions?  I didn’t even know this guy!  The mention of another person’s death will not make me fall apart.

I start to remember how many times I probably reacted the same way (before this happened to me).  If I was not sure how another person was handling their grief, I felt that sometimes the easiest thing was to not talk about it.  It is easier to tiptoe around the subject rather than address it head on and ask how the other person is feeling.  God forbid, I cause someone to show true emotions. 

Now that I have had this significant of a loss, I feel like I want to open up and talk about it to others, not squelch these emotions.  My husband was full of life and should be talked about, not brushed over or avoided. 

Later, I walk up to co-worker and strike up a conversation about this stranger – How long did he work here? Did he have any kids? Was it an illness or something sudden? I am hoping my attempts at conversation will show others that death is something that can be talked about.  That instead of tiptoeing around this loss of life, the person should be recognized and celebrated.  Too bad it took this loss in my life to learn how to discuss death with others.

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