I’m in Hawaii!!
And so far one of the best things about Hawaii is that there aren’t any people here with “Tilted Head + Sad Eyes”.
I know that eventually people will stop looking at me this way. I also know that people do so because they are compassionate and kind, and are looking to make a connection with me. So I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m not grateful for the attempted bonding, because I am. I love each hug and kindness I receive.
However, I can see how the bereaved feel guilty …
Because after a while, “Say Eyes” almost become a disservice to my Dad. Yes, I spent hours on the vacuumed, carpeted, comfy floor and didn’t want to get up. Yes, I cried a lot. But I’m not defined by this sadness, and to only remember my Dad by his death and the gap that is left behind seems like an injustice.
“Tilted Head + Sad Eyes” makes me feel like I can’t talk about my Dad without contorting my face into a forced, frantic frown. Like I have to reshape my face from pleasantly neutral, remove the glimmer from my eyes, and morph my jokes into appropriate conversational topics. When has anyone ever known me to be appropriate?! This just makes me extremely awkward and I end up looking confused (or constipated, I’m not sure?).
Sometimes, I just want to talk about my Dad just to keep him alive in my soul; and to be happy, ironically. You can expect that I will want to talk about his death; or a happy memory; or how annoying he was because he could always out “nice” me. I’m neither trying to make you give me sad eyes, nor force you to tilt your head slightly to the right like that … I also don’t want to make you feel awkward – I’m just trying to get happy again.
I think Camille Cosby said it best about her son who was murdered:
I could be sitting and reading a magazine, and somebody will come up and say, “I’m so sorry about your son.” I find that irritating and difficult, because I’m not focusing on Ennis’s death 24 hours a day. So I don’t want people to say “I’m so sorry” every time they see me, because then it becomes a consistently grim thing. You know? People should talk to me like they did before he died….
I generally don’t welcome sadness into my life, so when it forces its way in there, its frustrating to get out. I’m learning to live around the “sad”, but its so much more than that. You can help me by saying “how are you” like a normal person, keeping your head at a straight angle, and by allowing me to unawkwardly broach the subject of his death.
I feel a responsibility to heal and to live life – so I’m in Hawaii, trying to do that, and trying to take a break from the sad eyes for a week. Stay tuned for more on the trip and a possible guest blog! 🙂