I like to talk to people and strike up conversations with just about anybody. Right now, there are days when I’m better at it than others. I really hate telling people I’m a widow. I still wear my wedding ring on my left hand so it appears that I am married. When "the truth" comes out, I feel bad revealing that my husband passed away. Of course, the obligatory "I’m sorry" is said, the deer in the headlights look appears, and suddenly the conversation comes to a screeching halt. I end up having to soothe them. "It’s OK." "I’m alright." "He had cancer." I’m telling them that I am fine—even though I am not. Why do I have to be strong when all I really want to do is cry and tell you how truly awful losing your best friend is?
My husband collapsed and died in my arms in our house. As it filled up with the emergency workers and utter chaos was taking place, I kept repeating "I’m sorry". I’m sorry the light isn’t on. I’m sorry I can’t get off the phone, but his children need to be told now. I’m sorry I don’t know anything about the funeral homes in this town. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I still remember that night so vividly, and I’m puzzled by my reaction and my incessant use of "I’m sorry". Was I apologizing for inconveniencing them? Was I sorry for their having to see my husband and me at the absolute lowest point of our existence?
A very good friend of mine passed away last month. When his sister called to tell me, my first words were "I’m so sorry". It wasn’t insincere. Although our grief is different based on the relationship of our loved ones, it was heartfelt. I was sorry for the sadness and pain she was going to face. I was sorry for the void in her life that won’t ever be replaced.
Maybe I am too sensitive about "I’m sorry". Perhaps those people that I think don’t get it really do in a detached, polite kind of way. Maybe they just don’t know what else to say and "I’m sorry" just seems appropriate. I guess I’ll continue to endure the "I’m sorry" responses. I’m sorry I’m a widow.