As we all move through the stages of grief, a handy tool to keep is the ability to see humor and irony on the journey. Never one to miss even the macabre humor of a situation I share with you a part of the story of my journey. Smile, and find your own story :)


The Art of Coping

I will tell you this first story to tell you another story that has to do with coping. I have an impish sense of humor, which is part of who I am, and partly a defense mechanism through which I find strength to cope.

I HATE shopping…always have, except for groceries. I mean this literally. When I realized I needed a white shirt for a special occassion, the first place I stopped was Kroger ( a grocery chain for you out-of-staters) on the outside chance they had white dress shirts in the gadget aisle. They didn’t, and I sent them a stern complaint via email…no response.

Mariann [my late wife] was a prolific shopper…I see balance. One Christmas season, Mariann told me that if I “toughened up” and helped her complete our holiday shopping in a single weekend, I would never have to set foot in a retail store “ever again!” Over the course of 3 days and 36 hours, I diligently accompanied Mariann, choosing items, schlepping bags, and otherwise enduring (ugh) holiday shoppers. I managed to survive the ordeal having hyperventilated only 2 times. At the end and when we had finished wrapping everything, Mariann kissed me and said “I promise you will never have to do that again, and thank you.” From that day forward, I never did it again.

Dress shirts, suits, sport coats, slacks, socks, shoes and underwear. It did not matter. All I had to do was open a door or drawer, and I was ready with crisp, clean new attire that honestly made me look better than I actually deserved.

A caveat to that story is that when Mariann had her [cancer] surgery I repainted the bedroom and bought a new suite of furniture so that she could recover in a more comfortable environment.

The second part of that story is:

Probably 3 months after Mariann passed [from pancreatic cancer], I opened the “underwear” drawer and found a couple pair of worn garments that puzzled me. I called the retail store that I had purchased the furniture and asked for the service department. I told the person who answered that someone needed to come and repair the dresser which was still under warranty. The polite young man on the other end of the line asked “What seems to be the problem?” I replied “Well, I opened my underwear drawer, and everything in it was worn and frayed. This has never happened before…there should be new stuff in there. I pulled the dresser away from the wall and couldn’t see any loose wires or pipes, so I need you to look at it.” That same young man, and God bless him said,” Sir, I think you are having a bad day, and I think you might need to go shopping. Try Target…they are very helpful”.

Well, as it turned out I did indeed go to the Target and purchase what I now realize was about a 7 year supply of underwear and socks (you do remember me saying I HATE to shop…right?). When I got to the checkout, the young man cashing me out gave me a bit of a look after seeing a cart FULL of “delicates”, and so I broke the ice by asking, “You folks don’t happen to repair dressers do you?”

“No Sir.”

“Well, do you deliver?”

“No sir we don’t.”

“Okay…it doesn’t hurt to ask.”

I’m just saying.