Bite Your Lip and Smile

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.

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7 Responses to Bite Your Lip and Smile

  1. Peg says:

    I see you and hear you and am so very sorry. Holding you in a pre-covid virtual hug.

  2. Debby says:

    I see you. Moreover, I understand. I wish I could help, but there is nothing that anyone can say that will make it better. You are a good person. What is happening is around you, but it is NOT you. That probably makes no sense, and I’m sorry.

  3. C says:

    I am so sorry. Personally, though raise similarly I tend to think we as women are “ladies” too often, and to make others comfortable. ((((HUGS)))))

  4. Julie says:

    I’m sorry. I’ve been heartbroken. On the floor. It’s okay to not be okay.
    A text is a shitty way to say goodbye. But I guess it doesn’t change the heartbreak.
    I’m sorry.

  5. a says:

    I’m sorry that your heart is broken. 🙁

  6. Scientist mother says:

    I am angry for you. You deserved more from J and I’m on that floor with you. We all are. Sending many many many virtual hugs

  7. loribeth says:

    I think you would have been forgiven for sending a less-than-polite text in return (although I’m glad he finally said SOMETHING — and I really admire you for taking the high road). We women sometimes swallow way too much in consideration of others’ feelings. Sending more (((hugs))).

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