I am officially tired of the MHID (my husband is dead) conversations. I’ve been trying to get through the paper work so I can put at least the legal ones behind me but it’s like battling a hydra. Every time I get one sorted out, it triggers another and I find myself back on the phone explaining again to a complete stranger.

I want to tell them how much I hate talking about the most devastating event of my life with strangers, that even the simplest interaction feels burdensome, that I am depressed and tired and I can’t think clearly. I want to tell them how much I hate their intrusive questions and bureaucratic processes. Instead I tell them politely that “my husband passed away recently”. I answer their questions and do my best not to cry until I get off the phone.

And those are the easy conversations. Acquaintances are harder – people we’ve known casually for years who we weren’t connected to by phone or email or Facebook. They knew us as a couple and the boy-shaped hole next to me attracts notice, inviting questions. I have no choice but to tell them in person. Sometimes I make it through in one piece. I’m doomed if they react too strongly. My run for Chinese food last night was one of those. The lady who runs the place cried, which set me off too. That’s what makes those conversations hard – it’s not just my loss. Everyone who knew him experiences a loss too, and sympathy for me.

Death turns out to be the universal path to a comp’d meal. So far I’ve had a free drink at our local bar,  dinner at the Chinese place, and the lovely fellow who owns the wood fire pizza spot picked up the whole tab when our families gathered there for lunch. He had lost his father recently.

I am the person people feel sorry for and worry about again. I suppose I should be grateful that we were able to set that title aside for so many years. It’s OK. It makes me a little uncomfortable but I get it. I’m sure I’d react the same way if our roles were reversed.

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