"He died," I said in a small voice.
Her hands flew to her mouth and she was struck silent for a moment herself. "I'm so, so sorry," she said.
I willed myself not to start crying. "Thank you," I said. "It was just under two months ago."
She kept shaking her head. Her face was a little red. "I didn't know..."
"I know," I told her. "You couldn't. I didn't have a reason to call the pharmacy..."
"I didn't know he was sick," she said. My will was breaking down. I blinked a thousand times to keep back tears. "What happened?"
"It was suicide," I said. I looked her in the eyes, totally unafraid. Totally unashamed. She couldn't hold my gaze.
Her hands flew up to her mouth again. She kind of gasped. "I'm so, so sorry," she said again. "I don't even know what to say."
I used my catchphrase: "There's nothing to say. There is no wrong thing to say, because there is no right thing to say." I'm getting better at this "telling people" thing. I've added it to my assorted and random repertoire along with giving subcutaneous fluids to wiggly cats and putting up shelving units post-manicure.
"I knew him for 13 years," the pharmacist said. "He used this pharmacy for 13 years."
I nodded. The pharmacist knew my husband longer than I did. I felt like I needed to share a length of time as well. "I was only with him for 7 years," I said.
She stumbled over the beginning of her sentence several times before finishing. "At least you had 7 years of good memories," she said. Not long enough. Never long enough. I wonder if that's what people think when they've been married for 60 years and a spouse dies. Probably. Still...
There was nothing left to say. I walked away. I imagined for a moment the countless times that scenarios such as this one will present themselves. The thought itself is enough to make a person stay home and never go anywhere local again. I hate the unpredictability...the unexpected surge of pain when I stand face to face with someone who knew Rick BUT DOES NOT KNOW.
How can anyone not know? My whole life, my every day, is a heavy weight of sheer KNOWING. Waking up to the knowing. Going to sleep to the knowing.
Every footstep forward is heavy with knowing.
Since knowing is heavy, I focus on feeling lighter. Time with friends makes me lighter. Laughing with my mom makes me lighter. Snuggling the cats makes me lighter. But most of all...writing this blog makes me lighter.