You know that awkward moment of silence when someone asks “How are you?” and you know that, to answer truthfully would go deep into a conversation neither of you wants to enter, so you take a deep breath before you muster up a quick “fine” and try to change the subject? That awkward pause is the story of my week.
After my most recent miscarriage, I am pretty much everything that is the opposite of “fine,” but well aware that all anyone expects to hear is a cheerful reply, and maybe an interesting story of something wonderful that happened recently. So instead, I pretty much ignored pre-holiday emails and text messages from friends, claiming I was just too busy to check my phone erev yom tov. I’ve missed kiddush in shul and other large social gatherings. I’ve jumped down the rabbit holes of storybooks and Netflix, making friends with fictitious characters who let me enter their lives for awhile, and never ask me how I’m doing. I’ll do anything to avoid that awkward moment where I make a quick decision to once again skip over the hard truth of “what’s new.”
You see, I deeply appreciate my friends and relatives for checking in, and I’m starting to learn to answer this tough question more honestly, at least with my innermost circle. A year ago, I would have ignored your texts and emails until I was ready to honestly tell you that I’m fine, so please consider this brief-but-awkward pause a huge improvement. Just know that even if you dare to start small-talk, I’ll probably be a little quiet, for now. But one day soon, you might get the real answer and may be a lot more real than you anticipated. Hopefully, this newfound vulnerability will bring us closer, when I’m ready. But in the meantime, I’m not yet convinced you really want to know, so please try to pretend you don’t notice or mind my awkward silence.