You Can't Win With Me

If you say to me, "How are you doing?"
With such sympathy and meaning in your voice,
I reply, "I'm fine,"
And brush you off,
Because to talk about my loss with you is just too painful.
If you see me
And don't mention the loss that is consuming my thoughts,
I think you don't care enough,
Or are too scared to mention it
For fear that you might upset me.
You can't win with me.

If you say, "I'm sorry your daughter died,"
It is hard for me to reply to that.
What do you expect me to say?
I want to say, "I'm sorry too!" or "It's awful!"
I want to scream, "It's not fair!!"
But I won't because I don't want to upset myself today,
Not in front of you.
So I reply, "Thank you."
That thanks means so much more than that.
It means thanks for caring,
Thanks for trying to help,
Thanks for realizing that I'm still in pain.
If you don't know what to say to me, that's okay.
Because I don't know what to say to you either.
If you see me smile or laugh,
Don't assume I must have forgotten my daughter for the moment.
I haven't, I can't, I never will.
Tell me that I look good today.
I will know what you mean.
I'm getting good at picking up unspoken cues from you.
If you see me and think I look upset or sad,
You are probably right.
Today might be an anniversary day for me,
Or some event might have triggered a wave of grief in me.
If you don't say anything
I'll think you don't care about me,
But if you do say something,
It might make me feel worse.
You could try asking if I want to talk,
But don't be surprised if I say no.
You can't win with me.

Don't give up on me, please don't give up.
I need your attempts however feeble,
However trite you might feel they are.
I need your thoughts.
I need your prayers.
I need your love.
I need your persistence.
I need all that but most of all I need to be treated normally,
Like it used to be before all of this happened.
But I know it's impossible.
That carefree, naive person is gone forever,
And I am mourning that loss too..........

So you can't win with me.

~ Jane Warland