if asked to describe myself, i would say that i am an observer when it comes to people, that it takes me a while to feel comfortable around those whom i don't know very well and that i am initially shy. the disclaimer here is that once i get to know you, all bets are off. and because i am shy i don't like being the center of attention, having people watching me or trying to interpret my state of mind. this particular personality quirk is challenging when grieving. what i have realized and was totally unprepared for was how much people would be watching me and trying to get a read on my head space during this journey.
let me explain. every time i see a friend, family member or acquaintance for the first time since cooper died, it is like opening the wound all over again. it is emotional, it is raw and it is painful. but it is also uncomfortable because people don't know what to say or do and they look to me to try to figure it out. and i have to try to put people at ease before they say something stupid, not because they are trying to be hurtful, but because they don't know what to say which causes the the filter to be turned off and the words to come spewing out. my all time favorite is "don't worry you will have more children." yes, i will, but i would rather have cooper, thank you. lucky for them, my filter remains in the on position.
i tend to see new people in small groups because it is easier for me to control and not as overwhelming. but tomorrow i am getting on a plane to go to austin for the weekend where i will be seeing a lot of family all at once with no escape door. don't get me wrong, i love my family and as far as families go, they are pretty well behaved, but i am having some anxiety over the encounter. i know the initial few moments of the encounter will consist of trying to assess how i am doing and then how to broach the subject of cooper. but i also know that if i can put everyone at ease, the remainder of our time together will be swell.
and yes, i know that there is healing in the telling of our story, just as there is healing in being around family. but it doesn't make my anxiety about it any less.
so here's to being the center of attention this weekend.....