There are times when I am choking back tears or even far past that, into snot running territory and I find myself reaching for a tissue for the listeners clear, dry face. I apologize profusely for my feelings, worried about the effect my sadness will have on them. Other times I don’t portray my feelings honestly enough, hoping to spare the concerned party the discomfort of hearing sad news.
In a conversation I had the other day, it came up that my mom had passed away. When the topic of my biological father followed, in the same breath of mentioning his passing too, I laughed, changing the subject. As it turned out, the friend I was having the conversation with had also lost a parent and my attempt at finding humor in the dark situation suddenly seemed very ugly. I was embarrassed to have stolen from both of us the opportunity to share in a similar grief. I was ashamed at trying to casually breeze by a very real, very sad part of my life for the sake of someone’s assumed reaction.
One of the most common experiences I have in sharing these truths is comforting the other person at the telling of my own sadness. I welcome this, the task of consoling them giving me something to do. Assuring them of my current, happy state is better than admitting the truth. In fact, it’s much harder to have them comfort me. So I apologize for my sadness, picking it up quickly like a shoe left out as I walk into the house, showing them around, and tuck it discreetly into a closet.
When asked what is wrong, I often answer with an easy wave of my hand, “Ah, hormones I suppose,” or a bright “Just feeling sick is all!” The reality is more of a struggle, not for the right words to express myself, but to do so aloud to someone else. Even now, I am fumbling for the right words to apologize for this forlorn piece of writing.
Instead of reciting the title of this piece, I’ll just take the part that’s hard to say. As practice maybe for a time in the future when I am brave enough to leave the shoe out, to bite my tongue at the inevitable sorry’s, and simply say-
“I feel really sad right now.”