I asked a friend if she was going to an event we were attending. She just looked at me and smirked no. I was taken aback and asked why. She just said, “You know why. The look.” Yes. I know the look.
Since I started going out in public again after Richie’s death, I have gotten the look. It is now a year and four months later and I still get the look. I was visiting another church a few weeks ago and got the look. At first, the look made me want to scream at people. I was getting this look because in this small town, I was the mother of the boy who got hit by the train. What made it worse was his cousin being in a freak deadly accident ten months before his. One person asked one time if I thought there was a curse on the kids of the family. I guess the poor ignorant soul did not know that the boys were cousins by marriage. (Even though we do not believe in the word Step Family) In the car rider line the first day I went to pick up Krista after the accident, the lady who gets the numbers of cars was the mother of one Richie’s closest friends. She got me to roll the window down to give me her condolences and talk a bit. When I rolled my window down, every window in the line went down. I didn’t know if I should sink into the floor or tell them to line up for a Q&A session.
The worse looks are the ones were people know who you are and look at you like you are a saddest person on the planet yet shy away from you as if death is catching. A very good friend of mine, or what I thought was a very good friend, actually turned and went back down the aisle at the grocery store like I had snakes for hair. I brushed it off as it was too soon for her to find words. The next time, I said she was just in a hurry,. The third time, I knew she was a coward and wanted to scream at her that her kids wouldn’t die if she talked to me. It’s not like I have the gypsy power from Thinner and if you touch me you get a curse. Death is not contagious. I certainly hope that their stupidity and ignorance isn’t catching either.
How long must I go around with this Scarlett Letter D on my forehead? D for Death, I know I carry the death of my son with me every single day. I try to live a life full of smiles and laughter for my two living children. I feel as if they have the same letter D on their forehead. Same for my husband. Someone actually asked my daughter one time if her brother was the dead kid. She was mortified! We live everyday with the fact that Richie is o longer with us. We do not need the head cock, the sympathy stare or the hanging of the head. What we do need is your smiles. We need your prayers. We need your “glad to see you” hugs. We need your laughter. We need you to say our names. We need you to say Richie’s name. We need you to be our friends and family that you always have been. We need you to just be so that we can learn to just be also.
2 thoughts on “The Scarlett Letter D”
I know that “look” all to well. I thought I was the only one that wanted to to yell “death is not contaigous”.
I like to say Zack’s name and talk about him. I like that people still remember him and that he was here and was loved. He was funny and liked to pick at people and laugh. He was very active and happy go lucky.
We do need love and laughter and people to be glad to see us.
But I do think we will carry the “D” on us forever. That’s the way it is.
Our identities have sure changed. There is always a whisper before I am introduced to someone new and then the pathetic look follows. That’s the woman who lost her daughter … I loath that label and wish they were instead gossiping that I gained 10 lbs. btw: my daughter’s name is Krista too. Pretty name.