A few weeks ago, I was in my local grocery store.  The one that I avoided for more than a year after Maxie died.  I hated being in there because I'd been in there so many times with Max.  I worried about running into the people that ran his daycare (because I'd seen them shopping in there before he died).  I also dreaded running into my friend, the grocer, who had a little girl about a month after Maxie was born.

I wrote about finally biting the bullet and going there.  It is really the best and most well organized market in our area.  It is also the closest - like walking distance.  So, for the past few months, I've been going there instead of the all of the other options.  I ALWAYS see my grocer friend and I avoid him like the plague.  The first few times, I politely said hi but then immediately darted off before he could make conversation with me.  But, then I just started to see him and go down whatever aisle he wasn't in.  Since he is almost always in the produce section, I had to make my away around without being wherever he was - which was awkward.  Finally he got the hint and started avoiding me too - and then he moved on to giving me dirty looks and shaking his head whenever he saw me come in.

Of course I understand why he thinks I am the A-hole.  We used to always catch up on our families together and then one day I disappeared, and when I reappeared, I wasn't the same friendly person.  The truth is that he is not the only one who is a victim of my unfriendliness.  I went from being a very outgoing and sociable person to MUCH more of a cold introvert.  I can't take chit chat anymore.  I'm looking out for my own well-being.  I'm just not that nice anymore.  And, honestly, that's ok with me.

But, I hated the dirty looks, eye rolls and head shakes he was always throwing my way - and, I am not sure why but I finally decided to explain to him why I ignore him.  About a month ago, I walked right up to him and said, "You may remember that my son was born about a month before your daughter.  You and I always used to talk and catch up about the babies.  I am sure you have noticed that I am not as friendly as I used to be (author's note: UNDERSTATEMENT).  My son stopped breathing and died when he was nine and a half months old while he was at daycare.  Catching up with people who had babies when I did makes me too sad, so I avoid them.  I am sorry."

He looked me right in the eye and said with a big smile, "I was wondering what was going on.  Ok.  That makes more sense.  Glad to know it."  Hmmmmm.  Not "I'm sorry".  Not "How effing horrible".  Not "Oh my god!  You and your poor husband"......Not ANY kind of acknowledgement at all that I'd just told him of the greatest possible tragedy that I could ever imagine suffering. Just a look of relief that he finally understood what had happened.  And, I know I caught him off guard.  And, I know that he meant well (did he? I'm saying I "know" it because that is what I've been told).  But, I don't know - sometimes I wish I'd just stuck with being unfriendly.


Sarah said...

Oh goodness, I can't imagine having that reaction. I'm sure my instinctual reaction would be one if sadness for you but maybe if I were so shocked by the change in our relationship that just maybe I would make it about me in that instant. I'd like to think that's not the case but it's hard to know. I'm hoping that after you left, that your news hit the grocer like a ton of bricks and that next time you go in, the reaction you get is the one you should expect. If not, then yeah, the grocer is an arsehole!

thefoodinista said...

I'm sorry, Abby. That kind of reaction, especially from another parent, is totally dumbfounding and awful. xx