23 June 2009

So Tired

I opened my new bank account today. I have not been this tired in months.

I was going strong until 30 minutes into the process. The very sweet, very local-Oregon-boy customer service rep was cheerfully setting up accounts for Maddie and Riley when he innocently asked, "Do you want to name your husband as [blah diddy blah blah something about a trustee or something]?"

My reply? "Um, no, um . . . " I looked away. I mumbled. I might have even drooled. I'm not really sure. "I mean, um, yes, I'd like to, but he's dead."

As if that wasn't enough, I had to keep going! "He died. He's no longer with us."

Still, I keep going! "He had cancer. That's why the kids need accounts. For Social Security direct deposit!"

Then I just KEPT ON GOING. "It's awkward. Don't feel bad about asking. You didn't know. It's awkward. I haven't figured out a good way to say it."

I don't know why I was so caught off guard. For at least a year after John died, I went into all such situations prepared to be asked about my husband, prepared to say something simple and short, and prepared in advance for the emotional toll the interaction would take on me. This time, I just wasn't ready.

I'd been enjoying some pretty easy banter with the customer service rep, but after that exchange, it all kind of ground to a halt. By the time I finished blathering on, I was totally spent. Still am. Early to bed with me tonight.


Anonymous said...

That sucks. I'm sorry. I hope tomorrow is better.

Supa Dupa Fresh said...

Eh -- so your professional widow veneer cracked. Who could be so polished all the time when talking about the totally worst thing ever? I've had the same kind of experience, and still mostly just end up embarrassed for the other person in the conversation, the one who doesn't know how to deal with the fact that we are HUMAN.

You are beautiful. Rest up, momma! And happy birthday to your shortcakes.



Anonymous said...

Well, I hope the bank guy was at least sympathetic. When I was handling all the official stuff after my mom died, I was amazed at how many times I would explain that my mother had died and whatever bureaucrat I was talking to would just ignore that and keep talking. Somehow, I think I expected that everyone would be as shocked that she had died as I was, and when they acted as if it was no big deal, I was just floored.

Sorry this happened to you. And I'm still sorry about John.

Abigail said...

I have so been there. I don't really have an explanation for it, but every now and then you just want people to know. You just have to tell your story, explain something. It generally happens when you least expect it.

I remember when I first moved to Seattle four years ago, I was determined to shed my 9/11 widow status and not tell anyone. But there I was during a pool party, the very first birthday party that the kids had been invited to, blabbing the whole darned story to the first parent to ask where my husband was.

I beat myself up a bit, but then thought, who cares? For whatever reason, its a story I need to tell right now.

Like Supa said, its part of being human. Its part of dealing and living with grief.

J. Pannell said...

Didn't you mention how chatty people in Oregon are in public compared to Bostonites? Maybe this is a sign you just feel like you're back in the arms of your people. Your unconscious may be letting you know you're in the right place.

Single Parent Dad said...

Awkward is right. I am not a fan when that happens. Had a similar experience opening a saving account for my boy earlier this year. 'Luckily' the bank geeza was an arsehole so I didn't feel like making any effort, and awkward actually felt good.

Get some rest Snick.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, you poor thing. That sucks.

Annagrace said...

Nothing like a change of environment to make everything settled and on-the-surface-figured-out sort of slide and around and part seams... It was like this after my dad died, too.

It was so good to see you. The twins are amazing and fun and absolutely sweet as can be and Pea had such a good time.

Ginevra said...

Awww. Remember, it's OK not to handle everything perfectly all of the time. You probably handle everything so much better than you even realize.

ASH is thwarting my efforts to write more--ah! now he's done what I asked him not to enough times that I can put him in Time Out and type in peace! Whoo! Sorry that sentence was so convoluted. And sorry I never gave you back your copy of 1-2-3 Magic. Call me if you ever need some of its wisdom. :-) Or, of course, I can mail it to you.


Susan said...

I agree with that you can't be in control or plan what you will say in all circumstances. I think it is the surprise attacks that get us. You handled as best you could for the time. I bet you are tired. When you stop and think of everything new this past month, wow.

carosgram said...

thinking of you and wishing you the best

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

That must have been a really hard exchange. Who would ever get used to having a conversation like that?Plus, it must be exhausting to have to think about how to answer in the event that this question comes up again. Take it easy on yourself.

Watercolor said...


CV said...

wouldn't it have been easier just to stay in boston? (wink)

hope today is a better day for you.

muffinandbear said...

Perhaps because you are in a different mindset now?

I think we all blabber on about something uncomfortably at one time or another. Not sure if that helps.

How about a hug instead??

(She says blabbering...)

liz said...


OTRgirl said...

I often answer those questions with, "I'm going to answer your question, don't feel awkward about asking it, but she's dead." That way they get the emotional setup before the 'punch'.

As others have said, it's tough to handle those moments, especially when they feel out of the blue.

Bethany said...

Just when you think you're so far through the grieving process, something pops up and completely catches you off guard. I'm working through having a miscarriage at 20 weeks and was just telling myself how very well I am dealing with things when a completely innocent song (not about pregnancy or miscarriage, etc.) comes on the radio and makes me start bawling. Who knew? The grieving process...it takes the rest of your life. You get to the point where grieving intervals are so far apart you don't feel as though you're going through it anymore, but it will always be a lurking constant with someone who was so loved.

Roads said...

I think sometimes we blather on (as you put it) because we just don't want to hear that sympathy any more. By explaining and explaining, we're saying 'It's alright, really it is. I can even talk about it.'

Tiredness is lethal. It can leave you in bits, if you're not already smashed up before. Enjoy that new life in Oregon -- and remember, that crappy moments can happen anywhere, so don't count this against it!

Best wishes from London. And spirits up.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Ugh. What a difficult moment. And I'd guess the young man who was waiting on you went home to his family and said, "Oh, this awful thing happened to me today -- I asked this nice young woman who came in to open bank accounts for her kids about her husband, etc. etc., and I felt so awful for her." It's not quite the same, but does remind me of women who have suffered a stillbirth or the loss of a newborn and are pregnant for the second time -- the dreaded question, "is this your first?" So innocent, and yet so loaded.

Bless you. I hope tomorrow is easier :)


Pam said...

Awww, Snick


Crash Course Widow said...

Ugh. (But I'm laughing at the exchange too...not AT you, just with you. Been there, done that sooooooooo many times in the last 4 years!! Someone at my support group came up with a term for it: "verbal diarrhea." Very apropos, I say. ;o))

Remember your jolt over Christmas about being reminded of Oregonians' love of chatter at the store, bank, etc.? (I don't remember what post it was specifically.) Sounds like you got an unwelcome reminder that our chattiness also means awkward things can come up. Like you, I expected to have to constantly mention my dead husband to bank tellers, the CPA, professionals, etc. in the first year or so, as we were unwinding him from the new me. But at this far out for me, I often forget that I might still have to mention it. And I've found that when I'm extra-tired and worn out--from work, from moving, from parenting...from ANYTHING--it makes the grief exhaustion come out more strongly too. So ya ain't alone, m'dear. Not by a long shot.

And I love, love, LOVE Supa's comment about the "professional widow veneer." So perfect!

Hugs! Can't wait til next week!! =)

NanarocksWeen said...

I'm sure it wasn't easy... kinda snuck up on you, not having to explain for awhile now. I'm sure I'd do the same thing. Rest. Yep, sounds like a good idea. You've been trying to do an awful lot lately.

Anonymous said...

I still get moments like that although my wife has been gone 16 months. I cringe whenever I still get mail in her name, and when I go online to get tickets and the accounts are in her name. Somehow, I cannot get the muster to change the accounts. I should, but just can't. I've found someone new, and have been with her for about 5 months, and she seems to be my doppleganger. We;re the same age and were set up by friends(although we've known each other for years). I'm going to end up marrying that girl. I've heard that men that were happily married usually get married sooner after they lose a wife to death. I wonder if that's truth or myth and if anyone around here knows the real answer. Needless to say, I'm happier than I have been in years, but I'm lucky that my son is 20 and I don't have little ones to have to explain things to.


amyinbc said...

Ouch... So sorry to read Snick. But so glad you are keeping it all real.

buddha_girl said...

I don't think you should ever feel guilty, anxious, or otherwise shitty about babbling, mumbling, and explaining.

Easy for me to say. I know.

In times of great stress and sorrow, I think it's easier to dump our babbling thoughts on strangers because the words bubble up so unexpectedly. I've done it and have it done to me even more often.

Here's to you giving up some of the tough restraint you've shown since John died.