Jason’s death is my every day reality. I think it is making me inured to the topic. Not inured to his death, but rather inured to the idea of talking about it. I live it constantly. I wake up in the morning to the knowledge that he is never coming back. Each day, I see his clothes that I never got around to putting away. I don’t ever get to look away from this reality.
I forget that not everyone looks at death every day. It makes for some interesting moments.
Today, I was working at the Guthrie. I was on stage gluing wooden rocks down (theater is weird) with two of my colleagues. My supervisors’ supervisor came in to check on the set. Then my direct supervisor came in from the other door. And in the middle of this, I was standing on my wooden rocks waiting for the glue to set (like I said, theater is weird). So, there is general shooting-the-breeze happening around discussions of foam vs glue, the correct placement of the rocks, and other scenic related topics. My supervisor asked the time, his boss checked his watch to answer. They got to discussing various smart watches and how they didn’t want to go back to watches that didn’t get text messages. I chimed in that I was considering wearing Jason’s watch, because he liked it for exactly that reason. My supervisors’ supervisor looks at me and says, “Doesn’t he use it anymore?”
Silence. My supervisor and colleague both froze.
I didn’t cushion that. I could have eased the emotional impact of that statement. I could have said, “No, he doesn’t need it anymore.” I could have said, “He doesn’t use it now.” I could have said any number of things that would have been true, but maybe a little less true. I could have said something that let the harsh reality slide past. I didn’t.
I didn’t even think to say something else. Why would I? This is the truth, this is my truth. Why would I cushion those words, soften their impact?
It makes for some really awkward moments. Some of which are really funny, from my perspective. I described that one as me putting his foot in his mouth.
I feel like I should try to be more tactful. I feel like I should make an effort to cushion the emotional impact for others, to protect their emotions. I also feel like it isn’t my problem. I don’t have enough emotional control to take care of myself, much less ease this for other people. Especially people who don’t know me and didn’t know Jason.
These moments happen pretty regularly. I’ve talked to other widows about this and it is actually pretty common. We all have these moments. We call them #TeamAwkward.