I like to talk about you. I talk about you a lot. But I always wrestle with what seems like the inevitable outcome when I am talking to someone who doesn't know the story... when I have to say that you're gone. That's a conversation killer.
After that awkward silence, people often try to express their sympathy (and that is kind and thoughtful of them). But I'll admit that I can't bear to stand there and receive that kindness. I just hate it.
Last week, I think I discovered the solution, and it seems like another one of those subtle shifts that are part of this process. When I talk about you, I need to replace "my husband" with "my late husband." Maybe I should have realized it before, but maybe it was just too hard to say.
I said it for the first time today, and it seemed to work. It was out there, right up front, but the conversation continued. There was no room for the sympathy. No awkward silence.
I'll try it again, and see what happens. In some ways it feels like a step away from you, but it makes it so much easier to talk about you. A step away perhaps, but a way to keep you in my life every day too.