Buzz Cut

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.

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7 thoughts on “Buzz Cut

  1. i too find it easiest sometimes to just not tell the truth… its okay though… i just try to feel the situation out and weigh what saying the truth or not will accomplish. i will also be at camp widow and would love to meet you!

  2. When people ask me how many siblings I have, I lie and say three. They ask about my parents, “Do they live in Houston?” “Yes, they live in Houston.” I don’t want to explain. I don’t want to confirm their deaths over and over again.

    I too am pissed off about a life that was stolen too soon.

  3. Ya know, I heard Oprah talking about her age today, and how she cherishes it and celebrates it. She celebrates it for all the people’s lives who were cut short. She said she feels as if she owes it to them to make every year count. That is a beautiful way to look at it, isn’t it?

    Katja, I hear you–One day, sitting in a Social Work class, minding my own business, suddenly the conversation jumped to drinking and driving–my husband was killed by a drunk driver. Suddenly, out of no where, I hear one of the girls in back laughing saying something like, ‘well, what if you are drunk and tired’ and some other nonsense that didn’t register because I was so floored, but I did catch all of the laughter after, as if it were a joke. As if they were laughing that I lost my husband, like it was funny. I wasn’t as stoic as you, I burst into tears and left the room. Every ounce of me wanting to scream at them and tell them every miniscule detail of how terrible it is to go through lose someone. I had no idea that was coming, no time to prepare myself. Caught me off guard. The professor came out to talk to me, I wasn’t sure I wanted to see him, much less discuss anything with him. I gave him the short version and what I wish I wanted to say. He didn’t coddle me, no questions, and no assumptions. He simply said, ‘Maybe they needed to hear what you had to say.’ That has stuck with me, for 6+ years now. I think he was onto something. As the years have passed, I have lived his advice (not so easy in the beginning, it just hurts too much). If they go into coddling me as a disguise for their own fears (which is what it is), I simply nod my head, say thank you or some other kind words to make them feel better (which is what they want).

    Still, every once in awhile, someone still manages to ‘buzz’ me. Now, instead of just giving them what they want to hear, I give them a little dose of what they need to hear. 🙂

    By the way, seems as though you haven’t posted in a little while (longer break that what seems normal, but I haven’t been able to keep up as well as I’d like), so I hope you have found your way past the birthday and not into a funk. Just thinking of you and hoping you are well.

    • Sara, thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. I also saw a quote the other day about being thankful for growing older, as some people never get the opportunity. That attitude does stick with me – but as you said, there are times when the loss just blind-sides you. And losing someone so suddenly, and unexpectedly, as you did, even harder to imagine. Thanks for supporting me, and my blog! I needed to step away from online activities for a while, but have actually been doing pretty well. I also need to get caught up on some of my favorite blogs. I love what you are doing with your 365: days. Take care!

      • I love supporting other widows, where ever they are in their journey and however I can. Thank you for your presence as well. I’m glad you are doing well. I just worried since you have been so active online. Glad to hear things are going well for you. That does my heart good in a time when I need it (grandparents are not doing well and there is lots of pressure on me these days). I hope to see ya around, when you are ready to head on back to the online world of blog. 🙂

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