I thought that I could wear mascara yesterday.
Yesterday was the home opener for our high school football team. My nephew plays and I wanted to go support him. So all day I planned and prepared myself to be around that many people. I figured I could do it. After all I have lots of friends there and my sister-in-law would be there too. So the kids and I got ready to go and decided to stop at Subway to grab sandwiches on the way there.
Everything was going well. The kids ordered their sandwiches and I got mine. We were just waiting for the sandwich artist to finish them up when an old classmate of Vance’s walked through the door. At first he just said hi and ordered a sandwich. But as we both stood there waiting, he leaned over and softly asked, “How are you doing?”
Immediately my eyes filled with tears. I gave my standard answer, “About as good as you could expect I guess.”
“I miss him, too. Especially this time of year. He was my center.” It took me about half a second to realize what he was saying. In high school they had played football together. And all these 30 something years later he still remembered.
He then apologized for making me cry. I told him it was okay. That I was actually really glad because I got to hear that someone else misses Vance. That someone else remembers the good things about him. That he impacted someone’s life. I told him that tears were okay because grief is the final act of loving someone.
I was glad I had run into one of Vance’s old friends but I did regret wearing the mascara that was suddenly running down my face.
For what it’s worth, I did make it tonight the game. I took a half a Xanax on the way in, but I did it. One of my aunts was just inside the gate and was the perfect person for me to first see. She let me talk and even cry a little and recover before heading all the way in.
I’d texted my sister-in-law from the parking lot, telling her I wasn’t sure I could make it in right away and asking her to keep an eye out for the kids. She met me before I got to the stands and saved me a seat. I made it through the rest of the game with no more tears.
I’m glad I went. I’m glad I’ve got friends and family who support me. Who understand that nine weeks in, it’s still rough. That I still cry. That I still miss Vance every single day. That I’m getting out and going forward but I’m never moving on. Friends who don’t care that I can’t wear mascara.