Updated: Aug 10
I looked up grief buttons the other day -
I think I needed something akin to the old-timey black armband or widows weeds;
the exhaustion of telling people over and over again is getting to me.
I probably tell more people than need know.
I'm not sure who might need know?
Does the car mechanic?
Well, yes, because my husband knew where the registration was, not me.
(What I thought was the registration was just proof of insurance coverage;
They look similar, similar size.)
And I had to tell the mechanic this is why I did not know where it might be.
Do I need to tell them on the corner - buying used books?
I felt compelled to, to explain why I had brought them such an odd podge of disparate titles…but it didn't help me get rid of them.
They were only interested in filler books.
Books that fill the space, that aren’t best sellers, but they will sell; will fill the time for the reader waiting for the used Toni Morrison or Jennifer Finley Boyle to become available. Which are not filler books. They are golden, for which she'd have paid me more than $8. (Sorry, James McBride. I happen to think you are more than filler.)
At any rate, they thought the rest of the books were no-gos.
“Sorry. So sorry you carried them all the way out to this table from God knows where.”
I shrugged it off, no problem, you'd made no promises.
They didn't even just give me the Hafiz book I was thumbing my way through
(I covered this already),
looking for answers to the biggest life
(oh yeah, and of course death)
What is Love?
How long does it last?
Mostly full of Hafiz just talking about
giving and giving and giving
And laughing and laughing and laughing
And grieving. Freely.
Filler books they will buy.
A button would make others ask me first, gingerly,
“Whom did you lose? Someone significant, I can see.”
Make people treat me with gloves and care,
As my hurt would be more visible;
they'll feel privileged if I choose to respond.
Maybe I'd just shake my head as if it were too much to speak.
Which is entirely untrue;
I’LL TALK To ANYONE;
I'm an over-sharer.
If I had a GRIEF button;
they might ask me, rather than
Me quantifying “my loss” every time.
I HATE THAT.
ANDREW IS LOST.
HE'S NOT JUST “MY LOSS.”
A THING. A GENERIC NOUN.
I’d much prefer:
“I'm sorry you lost the love of your life, dear Andrew Leynse, the warmest, kindest, most generous guy your world ever knew, a great father, a patient artistic director, a kind, and loving source of comfort, inspiration; hope.”
But that would take too much time.
It's very exhausting.
(I'm nothing if not exhausted all the time.
I feel like at any moment I could take a big nap.)
So, I did a Google search.
Etsy abounds with grief buttons.
Found one that said:
Thank you for being kind.”
That one was pretty ok, just that it had pink and yellow flowers on a backdrop of rose and blue and yellow hues, and light blue lettering; frankly was hard to read, too busy.
The button maker was trying to convey too many disparate emotions or attitudes in one simple message.
I thought up some:
My skin has been ripped off and I am walking around with this intense liver-red, pulsing, dull underlying pain in my gut that never goes away, and the rest of my parts are moving through heavy sludge;
Thank you for being kind.
Got arrested seeing a Dad walk his kid to school, and another carrying his daughter on his shoulders- and I got stuck in the street, comparing his age to Andrew’s (younger);
Think that is why I forgot to bring a bag today to Trader Joe's.
Please give me the 5 cents credit.
Brain not working due to all blood pooling in my abdomen from sorrow,
Please be patient.
Overreacting to small inconveniences like missing the subway
Someone taking my parking space.
The sobbing they induce is not mental illness.
Please, again and again,
These are too much!
I know this! This grief button writing takes talent and efficiency!
Now I think, the Etsy one says it all:
Thank you for being kind.