Mentioning her death in passing
SATURDAY, June 12 – Yoohoo! Yoohoo! Jauntily she heads in my direction, just as I’m about to put the key in the front door. She’s come to introduce herself: the neighbor from three houses away, and the owner of a small dog that always begins to bark when I take Elsa out in the morning and again at night.
It’s a brief meeting: we exchange names and those of the boys, and because she was born in England, we automatically continue in English. It’s a good opportunity to explain that I live here with my two boys, and that their American mother Jennifer died last October. I also told her about the circumstances of her death.
I then realize that this ‘routine’ announcement has come as a bombshell, and that there are tears in her eyes. The cheerful sidewalk meeting has taken on an emotional charge which our neighbor has trouble dealing with. But to be honest, I regard this as something of a triumph. I’m in control. I can talk about it normally, with a stranger.