I bought a blue suit for Gabe’s funeral. I had to buy a new suit and not wear an old one, because not only were my pre-maternity clothes packed up, they wouldn’t have fit me anyway. It was, as I recall, quite a nice one. Being practical, I had it taken in and wore it for several more years. It always did remain the suit I wore to my son’s funeral, whatever other places it took me. Never mind. You look the part. Bite your lip and smile.
If you needed to understand me, that’s all I can tell you. I wore a blue suit for my son’s funeral. My hair was done, I was wearing makeup, I was deliberately wearing waterproof mascara. If I cried at the funeral(and I did), if I was a bit of a zombie (and I was), I cried as quietly as possible. I stood in a receiving line and shook hands, accepted condolences, thanked people for coming. The words came out of my mouth without thinking. Bite your lip and smile.
I am a lady. I do not cause a scene, a spectacle. I am classy. Gracious, even when it hurts. I am classy and gracious *especially* when it hurts. That’s what makes a lady, my mother taught me. Not when it’s easy, but when it’s hard. Bite your lip and smile.
Yesterday I put on a matching sweater set, brushed my hair, put on some makeup to cover my red and puffy eyes, and went to the post office. I had a small parcel of the books J’s son had loaned me. A note tucked in, written on nice stationery with a good pen, indicating that I wanted to make sure that they were returned and wishing the son good luck studying for his LSATs. Emily Post could not have written a better note. While I stood in line I bit my lip so hard I can still feel the marks with my tongue. I bit and bit, while my mouth filled with blood to keep the tears at bay. Bite your lip and smile.
This morning I woke up to a text message officially dumping me. I didn’t scream, I didn’t rant, I didn’t rave. I didn’t even say my heart was broken. I got out of bed, fed the dog, got dressed, made coffee. Did my stretches for sciatica. Then I bit my lip again and sent a text back. I thanked him for letting me know where we stood and for introducing me to his children and letting me share his life for a bit. Bite your lip and smile.
I’ll finish this post. Answer a few urgent emails. Then, if you don’t mind, I think I need to curl up on the floor. I didn’t rant and I didn’t rave. I didn’t scream. I didn’t wail. I didn’t cause a scene, there was no spectacle. I was every inch the lady. Bit my lip and smiled.
But my heart? It’s broken. I needed someone to see the woman on the floor sobbing. I need someone to see what it cost to make it look this good.
I need just a little bit before I can bite my lip and smile.