By Priscilla Dressel and Bev DeFilippis
The mask. For those of us that are widowed, an explanation is not needed as to what that is. Truth is, there are many masks that we wear. It depends on the situation we are facing on that day. Or, they are taken out and put on at a moment’s notice. One thing is for sure…we don’t leave home without them.
It starts the moment you become widowed. You have one on during the service, automatically you say, “Thanks for coming,” nod, and give a half smile as they offer food, trying to be gracious. When you’re finally alone, you take off the mask and allow yourself to feel, cry, and grieve.
As time goes on, you realize that when you wake, you unconsciously decide which mask will fit the day. Dressing for work? On goes the professional mask. Attending a family gathering/celebration? There’s the “I’m doing fine” mask. Meeting for dinner with friends? Ahhh, there’s the “Look, I’m still fun” mask. No one realizes you are wearing the mask except you. But you always breathe a sigh of relief when you shed the mask when you are alone.
As the New Year starts, we tend to make resolutions, begin to think of new beginnings, and we try to envision ways we can better ourselves and move forward. Perhaps you could strengthen your faith. Take that step to trust in yourself, empower yourself, with the help of your faith and others. But you can’t do that while wearing a mask.
This New Year try, really try, to put at least one mask away for good. That could be the very beginning of finding you. Who knows—the other masks may follow, be put away forever and you will emerge strong.