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Day 64

Updated: Apr 22

Walking into a Target, a cart wrangler stopped and, with a theatrical look up and down, said, “Hey, I see you, looking good, mommie.” It took about two seconds for me to respond by bursting into convulsive, head-jerking tears. In my many years of responding to catcalls from strangers, I never considered the possibility of repelling them with wailing sobs.

[A brief aside, I am not particularly attractive. I just tend to find myself in environments when men catcall women.]

The cart wrangler came running over to comfort me. In an act of incongruity, he asked for permission before patting me on the back. Then, he explained, “It [the catcall] was supposed to be a compliment.” I should have replied with both an explanation of my tears [I am a grieving mother] and suggestions for more appropriate ways and times to compliment women [for example, saying they look lovely on a date]. Instead, I said, “Okay,” and ran away.

It was this charming anecdote and the death of my daughter that I shared at a dinner event three hours later. I also debated the merits of open marriages, early retirement, nuclear disarmament, refugee resettlement, sex workers’ rights, and a possibly racist thing someone said the day before. Clearly my fellow dinners had a wide variety of interests. With the exception of myself, they all knew each other from Stanford. [Not only did I not go to Stanford, I had to google how to spell it.] Fortunately, they had excellent manners and pretended to find my lack of decorum significantly more endearing than what was required.

I worry that me constantly mentioning the passing of my daughter is making it hard for other people to be around me. I don’t want to burden anyone with my grief, but it seems that’s all I do; that's all I am. It appears to be all I can think or talk about. I use up 90% of my energy to stop myself from crying, leaving the remaining 10% to cover everything else.


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