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It's OK to Say the 'D' Word Around Me

I’d like to make a PSA for myself and for at least a few other people out there who have suffered a significant loss:

You can say the word “dead.” You can say the word “died.” You can say “I’d kill for _____ right now.”

It’s OK.

When you are around me, you can complain about how annoying your husband is being. I get it, husband’s can be annoying. It’s in their job description.

You can talk about the wonderful anniversary plans you have coming up.

You can be excited when your child meets a new milestone.

It’s OK!

In the almost seven months since Joshua passed away, I have witnessed countless moments where someone says one of the aforementioned words or phrases and a slight flinch and awkward silence immediately follows.

The flinch is more painful to watch than to hear about how you were, “dying laughing.” Last I checked that was a good feeling, anyway.

I will admit, in the first few weeks hearing about anything involving death made me flinch a little bit. It took me a couple of months to say that my husband died instead of “passed away.” I do still prefer “passed away” though.

But I’d really like for people to feel like they can be “normal” around me. Nothing about this situation is “normal.” It isn’t “normal” for someone to suffer from so much mental anguish. It isn’t “normal” to be 29 years old with a dead husband. But I can feel and visibly see your discomfort around me and it amplifies the “abnormalities.”

If I have to be the one to use the words first, I will. But be warned I have a flair for the over-dramatic.

My husband’s name is Joshua. He is dead. He died on September 9, 2016. His death has affected me greatly. But I am still alive. I want to hear about how awesome your spouse is. I want to hear about that annoying thing your spouse did. I want to know what amazing and romantic anniversary plans you have. I am excited for you when you find out you are expecting a baby.

I am still here. I want to be reminded of how “normal” life can really be. And sharing your life experiences with me will allow me to share some of the awesome and romantic things Josh did for me, how annoying he sometimes was and what plans we had for our future.

I know about death — don’t let that stop you from being open with me about life.

And please, don’t flinch or pause or cringe or look at me out of the corner of your eye to see how I’m going to react. I say those words, too.

Follow this journey at Ready, Set…Grieve?

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Thinkstock image by AntonioGuillem