Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m not a good liar. I get all flushed and red in the face, I can’t make eye contact and inevitably I stumble over my own words in trying to make up a story that might be remotely convincing. I’m a terrible liar and have been good with that character flaw.
However, grief has made me a liar – a decent one I think.
The heartbreak and sorrow is so profound at the beginning that it’s impossible to even try to contain it. I avoided people at all costs because I knew that I would lose my shit if someone asked me how I was doing. I survived on pizza and wine for the first month….the pizza I had delivered and the wine, well the wine was already in the house (Tony was a wine maker). I’m pretty sure that the pizza delivery kid knew my address by heart and looked forward to seeing the weird lady in pj’s because I was a good tipper. We had a thing going – he was friendly, I barely smiled, he made a comment about the weather, I would then agree, I would give him a big tip and he wished me a good day. He didn’t ask me how I was and that was fantastic!
I had an intervention with myself and pushed myself to get into the world. It felt too loud, too bright….well, just too much life. I soon realized that I had to come up with a good one liner to answer people’s question of “how’s your day going?”. I couldn’t tell them the truth; that would be traumatizing for them when they’re just being pleasant to an utterly emotionally destroyed woman.
I learned to lie. To say “alright” when I wasn’t alright. To say “ok” when I sure as shit wasn’t ok. I learned to then say “how’s your day?” even though I honestly didn’t care and just wanted my husband back. I leaned into the lying and I started to feel comfortable with it. Grief made me a liar. I wish I could have been honest. I wish I could have told them how much my heart ached and how putting on clothes was a big effort. I wish I could have said thank you for asking me about my day and that they reminded me that life continued on regardless of my pain. I wish that my honesty could have been met with compassion, openness and acceptance. But I learned early on that people are just being pleasant and they don’t want to hear the pain. That’s ok, I get it. It’s heavy and messy and ugly. That’s how I have felt since the day Tony died.
Lying comes so easy now that I have to think about the truth. How am I feeling? How am I managing? What do I want? Funny how the pendulum swings in weird and unexpected ways. I guess grief has taught me how to soften the truth just enough to make it digestible. I now find myself lying because it’s expected that at almost three years, that I will move on and stop being so impacted as a widow. Grief makes people uncomfortable and they want to move on. I wish it was as simple as that. I really do.
I dislike being a liar. I’m not always safe to be honest and vulnerable. It’s a conundrum that I haven’t figured out yet. I’m comforted to know that I’m not the only one in this position. I’m in a group of amazing people who are excellent liars!!! And I’m so grateful I’m not alone in this.