In general, I’m pretty much an open book. You want to know something about me, just ask, I’ll probably tell you. That would be why I didn’t bristle when approached to write this blog; share my weekly inner musing with the internet – sure why not?! However, there are times in life where the truth is just unnecessary. As a suicide widow, maybe I should have seen this lesson coming.
Friday night, I was on a date with someone I’ve been seeing for a few weeks. We’d gone to dinner and an arcade bar where I dazzled him with my skee ball prowess. We were ending the evening sitting at a local bar. The couple we sat down next to was chatty and a few drinks past sober.
After a while, the wife asks what our story is and if we’re married. We told her we were on date number 5. So she asks if we were divorced.
This is the first moment I should have lied.
I told her he was, but I was a widow. Then she asked how, and I said because my husband died. This is always my go to response that I hope people read as, please stop asking me questions. But I have yet to have someone realize I’m not being cute here. I am trying to nicely end the line of questioning with a little humor.
So, I tell her he died by suicide. She gasps and again asks me how.
It is 10pm in a bar, I’m on a date and she wants to know exactly how my husband died.
I tell her that I’m not comfortable having that conversation.
Normally in these situations I’ll drop what I call a’ trauma bomb’. If someone questions me inappropriately, sometimes I will drop too much information on them and make them feel really uncomfortable for pushing me too far. But what made this situation unique was that I was out with someone who only knows the high-level details of losing Tony. I didn’t want to drop a trauma bomb on this woman because my date was sitting right next to me. He knows that Tony was secretly struggling with mental health and died by suicide, that is all. Dropping the trauma bomb on her, would have also dropped it on him.
After we left, we talked about it how awkward it was. How he wanted to help me but had no idea what to say to stop it. This was something I had to handle. I let him know there wasn’t anything he could have done. We joked that I needed a new story if this even happens again. We’re still settling between I’ve locked my husband in the basement and he went out for zebra cakes 3 months ago and never came back.
However, none of this needs to pass again. If a toasty stranger at a bar asks me if I’m divorced, there is no reason I need to tell the truth. Not every person we meet is entitled to our full truth. We can hold our truth for those that matter and for ourselves. Our complicated messy lives are not always fit for the random strangers we meet at a bar on a Friday night. It’s okay to lie sometimes.