I was standing in front of the refrigerator holding a jar of salsa that I am sure, had been purchased sometime during the Eisenhower administration.
(Ok, so they didn't have salsa back then.)
Keeping the fridge clean and up to date is I admit, not a strong suit of mine. I have hotdogs in the freezer that were purchased two years ago, and condiments? Don't even get me started! This concept of when is the time to let go should be easy when it comes to food: just check the expiration date, right?
Intangible concepts, such as emotional issues are more complex. I had posted previously about a butterfly release ceremony I attended a year ago this month. I had asked an older woman at that ceremony who had lost her husband three years prior, if it gets easier and her gut reaction was "no." It shocked me at the time but now I understand.
There is no black and white freshness date to let you know when things will be better after a loss. I am a year and 4 months in and still have many days when it feels dewy fresh and raw. However, I'm thankful for other days I find moments of joy and blessed distraction.
On a recent business trip to Miami, I was traveling back to our hotel with some colleagues after consuming a gorgeous gourmet meal and many glasses of wine. During the ride one of my colleagues, a nice woman in her 40's who has been married for 20 years, took it upon herself to lecture me about being alone.
"Martha, you're young, you'll meet someone else. It's time for you to try," she urged me, in what I had wished was a stage whisper, since everyone, including our silent and courteous driver Julio, could hear her loud and clear.
I tried to get her to stop, but alcohol and an all-knowing attitude would not be squelched. I find it offensive that anyone would tell me that my time of mourning should be over. It may never be over. Or it may be better tomorrow. I may never want to engage with another partner at this stage and am totally fine with that. Shouldn't everyone else be then too?
The lesson here is don't stamp people's feelings and actions with your own freshness date. If you know someone struggling emotionally whatever it is, let them evolve on their own schedule. Offer help, but give them space to adjust, grieve, make decisions about what to do next – and when.
"Eh…" I placed the salsa back on the refrigerator shelf and closed the door.