When is enough, enough?
How much is too much? After two years of a severe illness that ravished my body, I decided to venture out in the big world. My best friend’s mother had just passed away, and I felt I had to be at the wake, funeral, and reception to support my friend.
I was escorted into the funeral home in my wheelchair and parked at the end of the receiving line. People would eventually stop in front of me and offer condolences. At first, I would explain that I was a friend of the family, but I soon grew tired of explaining... And just shook hands and said thank you.
People I knew well, but hadn’t seen for a while would stop and look at me with shocked looks and comment on my appearance. The comments went like this: “My God, you’ve lost so much weight!” “Have you been ill?” “If you lose any more weight, you’ll be the next to kick the bucket!” You’re so thin, are you on a diet?” How much, or how many times does one need to go into a full-length explanation?
It was hot and muggy and I had chosen to wear a light blouse that showed my neck and upper chest. Curious eyes stared at what appeared to be two hickeys on my neck. I could see the wheels turning in their heads. Well, she can’t be that sick.... I could imagine them thinking.
Thoroughly fed up at this point I decided to ignore them, and I didn’t bother explaining that my cat, Sir Trevor, liked to suck on my neck when I’m asleep.
I decided I needed a break, so I got a coffee and meandered outside for a cigarette. Some other people had wandered out seeking a cool breeze. I could see them in a little group, casting disgusted glances my way and talking among themselves. One lady even came over and asked in a horror-struck way, “Are you still smoking?” It was obvious she thought it was no wonder I was sick. “Yes,” I answered sweetly, Did you know Chris died of lung failure and never smoked a day in her life?”
I decided enough was enough and directed my escort to wheel me back inside to say goodnight to the family. I cringed to think about what the next day would involve. The funeral and reception were sure to invoke more questions, shocked looks, and other annoying things.
I’m well aware of my bad habits and faults, but I get very annoyed at the way people judge and condemn others. Why must people in a small town know every detail of your life? And when is it time to stop being polite and just tell them to go pick on somebody else?