During the week, I was rushing down a busy street while on my lunch break from work, when I passed a former colleague. He called out to me and we stopped to quickly catch up.
I hadn't seen this man for around three years, since he moved to London for work. As is often the way with old workmates, they plan such an integral role in your day-to-day, only to drift off into the outskirts of your Facebook friends network once life takes you in different directions.
In the past two-and-a-half years I've found not only are people reluctant to bring up the topic of my husband's passing in conversation, the fact that he died form suicide apparently makes it even the more taboo and uncomfortable. I'm sure this unwillingness to speak about it is more out of feeling unsure of what to say or worrying that the wrong words will upset me. In fact, I know this, because friends have admitted in the past that they've left him out of conversation in case it took me back to a sad place and 'reminded' me that he was dead (as if I had forgotten!).
I understand that talking about grief and consoling a friend is it's a very rocky path and I sure as heck didn't know how to navigate it before I joined this club that none of us wanted to be in. So I get it. And I no longer take it personally. However when this work friend took that time to acknowledge my loss, he validated it.
He gave me a permission to let my guard down and live my truth. To many, this wouldn't have seemed like a very big deal, but to a widowed person, I was very grateful he had the courage to take the conversation to a personal and potentially uncomfortable place.