Yes, indeed. I am mortal (in case any of us forgot). Just had my hair cut. And it took me down a notch. What was that story about Samson? He lost all of his strength when his hair was cut?
It’s been almost a year since I was last at the salon. I remember, because it was not long after my husband died, and at the time I couldn’t bring myself to tell my stylist. And today? Same thing. I couldn’t say it. There were a few moments in the conversation where I could have said it, but I felt my throat choke up, and it didn’t come out.
Why does it matter? Does she need to know? Kind of. I’ve been going to her for years. We chit-chat. When I leave out the truth, there’s not much else to say. My weekends are not full of adventures, my nights are not spent trying new restaurants. Any trips coming up? Why yes, I’m going to “Camp Widow”! That would have at least gotten the conversation started.
And those who do know, try. How are you holding up? You look good. Hanging in there? Yes. Not bad. Fine. Hanging in there. But they will never get it, and I don’t expect them to. I’m walking around like a “normal” person, upright, holding conversations steady. Keeping to the safe zone. But every day, there lies the potential for something to completely slay me. Boom. At the knees. Chopped down before I can even say splat.It was just a little hair-cut. Most would call it a trim. But I went home exhausted, weakened from the strain of holding in the painful truth. Carefully circling the conversation, on my toes like a boxer, arms up, blocking and dodging. Holding back the tears when she told me they were going to Arizona to celebrate her husband’s 40th birthday.
Ah, there it is. The Samson moment. The knock-out punch. My husband didn’t even make it to 40. Damn that hurts. She really caught me off guard. Just cut my whole fucking head off, please.
Her husband is 40? I know my stylist is younger than I am, so I assumed her husband would be younger than mine, too. I watched her in the mirror cutting my hair, and thought, if the tables were turned, if she told me her husband had died, I would fall off my chair, in disbelief. Why? Because 40 is too young for a husband to die. And actually, my husband was only two months into being 39.
How am I holding up? Suddenly, I feel sick to my stomach. Sick to my heart. Completely sick that I even bothered to do something to help how I look on the outside, to help carry on this charade, that I am “hanging in there”, when really, on the inside I feel as lifeless and limp as the discarded hair on the ground. Weak. Dead. Disconnected. Blow me away, and I wouldn’t even care.
I tip-toe around the truth, too. I try to keep the pain to a light trim rather than heading straight for the guillotine. Because the truth really hurts. In case anyone was wondering, yes! Yes, it enrages me that he didn’t get to live out a full life. I hate being reminded of it. He had things he wanted to do. Chemo and brain radiation were not on the bucket list. If I think about it too much, I feel myself heading toward a crazy place. An unhealthy place. And more often than not, others take care of it for me. Even the guy at the funeral home – a professional, in the “business” of dealing with bereaved people – he kept saying it, “wow, your husband was so young”….Really?! Thanks for rubbing it in, ass-hole.
So, yeah. I got a haircut. I asked for a trim, but instead I got buzzed, and I’m still reeling from it. Not because I feel sorry for myself. Because I am so sad for what he lost. His situation is permanent. Never growing back.