>A girl walked in through the front door at work last Friday, all perfumed and pretty with long, flowing hair and exotic makeup, almost like she was going out to some show or club. She was probably a few years younger than me, with a welcoming smile, and she immediately started making small talk about how nice it smelled in here (in the office??) and happy Friday to me, etc., so it was obvious she was going to try and sell something. Which she was – some new spa or salon, 90% off services that day only, etc. I said I wasn’t interested, and I was the only girl here – so goodbye, as nice as possible. I don’t have much patience for solicitation, either on the phone or in person, and cold-calling (cold-walking-in?) your salon services to a stand-alone professional firm is not appropriate, in my opinion.

She kept trying, to her credit. Oh, but what about Mother’s Day, she asked. My mother’s dead, I said, just as nicely as I had said no, thank you, to her only seconds before. I don’t need a Mother’s Day present this year.

We looked at each other. She said ‘Um, okay,’ and took a few steps back. Not an ‘um, okay, I can’t believe you really just said that’ but an ‘um, okay, was that really necessary? Couldn’t you have just said no? I was only trying to do my job; you didn’t have to say something for shock value.’ And then she left.

I hadn’t said it for shock value – I had said it because it was the first thing I thought of. I won’t need a present this year. I still need to buy a card – and it occurred to me that I should get Mom a present, too, some sort of lasting donation somewhere or something in her honor – that doesn’t mean 90% off salon services.

But every Mother’s Day anything makes me cringe a little. I didn’t think about this ‘holiday’ being more difficult than Christmas, but it is, and made twice as much so by my birthday being two days after, and the fact that we always celebrated Mother’s Day with mine & Krista’s birthdays at the same time. And I’m not going to get a card from Mom this year – usually with a picture of a cat on it – (I’m not a crazy cat person, I’m not) – nor a Border’s card, which I have gotten from her every year for as far back as I can count. It’s devastating.

It also occurred to me this morning how much trouble I have saying ‘I’m sad today’. John asks me how I am, how I’m feeling, and I can’t seem to come right out and say ‘I’m sad.” There’s this impulse to get rid of it, to hide it, that it’s wrong or inappropriate because I have so much to be grateful for. Or worse, that I should ‘Jesus it away’ by being happy in the Lord or reading enough Bible verses or holding true to some Evangelical bullshit that I’ve been taught all my life but that doesn’t really factor in the physical symptoms of grief or of normal life and being a human.

I think about how I might react if someone said that to me – ‘I’m sad today.’ I probably wouldn’t have had much patience for it before all this – which is awful for me to realize. I might hypocritically think what reason do you have to be sad, when in reality, what do I know? Nothing. I’ve never stood in that person’s shoes, been exactly where they’ve been, and chances are, I’d be a hell of a lot sadder than them if I had.

So for now, I’m going to practice saying ‘I’m sad’ to myself, and maybe it will help me accept that being sad is an okay place to be. And when someone else is sad, I can just say ‘I’m sorry,’ and try to sit with them for awhile.

Found this today – I think it’s beautiful.

Death can’t be so bad if Mom went through it.
It makes it easier for the child to follow. – Danny Aiello

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