I can't not talk about my family. I love them as much now as I ever did, and the fact that they're gone doesn't mean I lose the right to brag about them.
People were complimenting me on my belt today, and asking me where I got it. Like about half my wardrobe, it was a gift from my mom. At some point, this led into a conversation about the incredible fashionista she was, and how proud she was of me when I started becoming more interested in fashion.
I feel like I lie to people - when they refer to her (or my dad, or my brother) using the present tense, and I don't correct them. I feel as though I'm consciously and intentionally deceiving them. But do I have a right to - in the middle of a friend's birthday party - say "oh, well, she passed away"? Of course I do, it has nothing to do with rights. But somehow it's my responsibility to protect people from the same style of emotions I experience. The shock, the not knowing how to react, the fears of one's own current situation. It's my responsibility because if I don't take that responsibility, I end up an outcast. I made that mistake once. I ended up having to extricate myself from a community because I was no longer viewed as 'normal.'
But at what point is it appropriate for me to tell the truth? Or, at least, to put an end to the assumptions? I never have lied about the situation, though I have on occasion told partial truths.
At the end of the night, a friend and I were walking in the same direction toward our homes. It came to a point where he was calling me a girly-girl, and then he started to say that when I was 30 my mom and I would go shopping and go out on the town and have a blast. For me -- immediate grief. I went dead silent. What do I say? I've gotten to know him over the past few weeks, but do I know him well enough to cut into his merry disposition to tell him she's dead?
I was lucky enough that we hit my street, and we parted ways before it could progress. (I think he may have assumed my silence was a hesitation to believe that my mom and I could hit the town as friends. He countered it with, "Oh yeah, you will!"). I walked home trying my best not to start crying. I could so easily have stopped his conjecture (which, in my world, is now pure fantasy) and ended my pain, but instead for 'his' sake - or the sake of my newly-found friendship with him - I suffered and let him prattle on.
I don't think I would've even had the heart to let him know that the words he considered kind were like hollow-point bullets --- right through the armour.