I had to cash a check made payable to Jason yesterday. It was a refund from Verizon because I turned off his cell phone…finally. I told Verizon the reason why I was disconnecting the service but I guess they think dead people can still cash checks. The bank teller was very polite and apologized for my loss when I explained to her why I was cashing a check made out to him.
I had to sign his name and then write the word “deceased.” My hand started shaking and I could feel the familiar lump in my throat returning. I kept repeating to myself “just make it through this transaction and then you can flee to the safety of your car.” I drove back to work and just sat in the parking garage thinking about how I should invest in tinted windows, or maybe car curtains? I pulled it together enough to head into the building and into the elevator…and then someone asked me if I was okay right as I stepped through our office door. I lost my composure again. I responded with the typical “I’m doing okay, and I hope you are as well” and quickly put my head down. I really hate crying at work. My face turns bright red and my nose starts to drip like a leaky faucet. My eyes become hot and turn into watery pools of brown and red. The more I try to hold it in, the more my lips tremble and my hands shake.
But it isn’t so much the contortion of my runny and streaked face that bothers me. It’s the feeling of being completely naked and vulnerable in a place where I don’t feel safe, even though I should. I wish our society didn’t try to sweep the emotions of grief under the rug. I think that’s why we all feel awkward crying in front of anyone other than our pets. Being a widow isn’t something I should feel ashamed of but I do because I’m admitting I wasn’t able to protect Jason. I failed the most important person in my life and writing “deceased” on a check, or hiding being the automatic response of “I’m fine” while tears drip off the end of my chin only corroborates this fact.
I finally gave up on holding it together yesterday. Instead I turned to the two things that prop me up throughout the day and give me enough strength to power through it. I popped a Xanax under my tongue and watched my dog play at Camp Bow Wow.