Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Lunchtime Topics

Today I was at a business lunch.

The woman we were meeting with was grieving the loss of her 14 year old lab-husky mix. She talked openly about her loss with tears in her eyes. “I miss him so much. He was my baby. Losing him was like losing my child.”

The words hung in the air losing him was like losing my child.

My co-workers/lovely friends were at lunch too and know my story well.

We all averted each others eyes.

I took a roll and started picking the sesame seeds off the top.

The woman pulled out her phone and started showing us pictures. She went into great detail about how sick he became; how he barked aimlessly at the door, lost bladder control and couldn’t walk up the stairs.

They had to put him down.

And I know it was very, very sad.

But I don’t think it was losing-a-child sad.

I continued to pick sesame seeds off my roll until the phone came my way. I looked into the brown eyes and grey muzzle of 14- year old Fido and told her how sorry I was for her loss.

I was surrounded by a pile of sesame seeds so I tore at my bald dinner roll.

I wondered if in return I should pull up pictures of Samantha and tell my story….no really, I didn’t wonder that but it would have been interesting to see the outcome.

Instead I mutilated the bread.

Two hearts; one that I share with the world and one that I hold very close. I think it’s a way of survival in order to function during awkward luncheons…..the closed heart is a little scary for those who do not know me.

Because you can talk about losing your dog over lunch with strangers. Many people have lost a pet….you can compare stories about a lovable companion gone too soon. You can talk about how the pain is comparable to losing a child among those who have never lost a child.

To talk about losing a child over lunch with strangers is a little too close to our hearts. You have to be invited to share that heart….trusted with a sense of intimacy and even then, there are times when it is too much.

I get that.

So instead I debated between fish tacos and a tuna wrap. I excused myself for a call that I really didn’t have to take. I refreshed my lipstick. Upon my return, a coworker shot me a supportive glance.

I was happy my coworker knew about my other heart. I was grateful that she handled it with subtle care across the table.

Scooting back into the booth, I slathered butter on my mutilated roll and asked our lunch guest if she planned on adopting another puppy soon.

2 thoughts on “Lunchtime Topics”

  1. Thank you for sharing. I know what it's like — maybe not in the exact way you do, but in my own hurt and misery.Often times I am blind sided by the reminders. That is when the pain is most unbearable: when I have not prepared. It pours out of me uncontrollably.I'm sorry for you loss. I'm sorry for the reminder. Thank you for being brave enough to share and provide support and comfort to others.


  2. So glad I read your post today. You handled your situation with grace. I reminded myself of grace today while signing my son up for kindergarten and pretended he was normal so I didn't have to show a stranger my other heart. Thanks.


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