What is my response to someone who has no idea that I lost Steve? They didn’t even know his name. They never met him. They don’t know what he did for a living. They never shook his hand or saw his smile. Yet they assume he exists, he’s just at work or at the store… or just “out.” 

I had a contractor over the other day. The project was to install new garage doors. It was the last project Steve and I had talked about on our infamous “list.” We would choose one thing, save for it, then get it done. 

These garage doors were ordered before Steve died. Due to the shortage of everything, it took the better part of 10 months for them to arrive. 

The contractor was installing them and I told him I came within days of canceling before he called. After all, while I’m going to enjoy the benefits, Steve’s not here to see the final product. Some things aren’t important if you have no one to share with. It’s just a thing that needs to get done.

The man proceeded to tell me that we ordered one of the best quality they offer and he was sure my husband just wanted to please me…. 

And there you have it! 

What do you say?

Do I be honest and tell him my personal business? That could set me up… either to be taken advantage of, or get some sympathy and maybe throw something into the deal for free. 

What do I say?

Do I not say anything and just agree with him? YES! My husband wanted us to get what I really loved. And just move on after this. 

What do I say?

Do I not say anything but talk about Steve in the past tense? For instance, “he would have really loved this.” And then, would the contractor really pick up on it? Probably not. That leaves the door open – am I divorced or separated? I’m neither of these.

What do I say?

Do I say he’s going to love this, like when he gets home from wherever he is? 

At the end of the conversation, I sauntered up the small hill to the house. Tears were starting to run down my cheeks. I knew the story of the garage doors and how they came to be. At the same time, I knew how we… the new Steve and I …. are still coming to be. I knew he saw them, loved them, and he was saying “Honey, as long as you’re happy, I’m happy.”

That happiness was bitter sweet. Check that off the list, but it was the last thing Steve physically had a part in. I know he’ll always be a part of my decisions, because we’re a team. He’ll guide me. 

I think, in the end, I can’t worry about what I say. People are always sorry because that’s the societal thing to say. But, they don’t get your heartbreak, the hurt, the emotions which you can’t control over silly garage doors. 

What do you say?

Sometimes it’s best to say nothing at all.

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