Playing a Role

It still isn’t real to me.  I still feel as though I am playing a part in a play.  I am doing a very good job I think.  It felt that way at the memorial services also.  I was the widow, dressed in black, holding my smiling little girl, comforting others, standing by the casket, shaking hands and embracing 400 people in a traditional receiving line.

It’s funny, I remember the second or third day after the phone call, thinking about what I would wear to the funeral.  Since we’d decluttered a lot of our clothes, I had one drawer of clothes and a few in the closet- so I really didn’t have anything.  A good friend came over, and we were talking about it.  I was in no condition to go shopping, so she suggested we look online at places like Garnet Hill, Gap, J-Crew, or Anthropologie, and she said she wanted to buy it for me so I’d have one less thing to worry about.

Before we started to look, I decided I needed to see what Jackie Kennedy wore to JFK’s funeral.  I’m not some huge follower of hers, so it really strikes me as odd now that I thought of this when I was in such a state of shock.  It’s comical really.   I guess she’s the quintessential, graceful widow, so I was looking to see what my wardrobe should be.  We googled images.  She wore a suit.  I decided on a very basic, tea length dress with 3/4 length sleeves and buttons in the middle.  Laura, my friend, later ordered it for me, and I received it a couple of days before the funeral.  I hung it up in the bathroom to get the fold lines out of it.  It was a size 2 but it fit- I’d lost a lot of weight by then.

I was told by many that I was so strong at the funeral.  “I don’t know how you did it!” referring to the tribute to Dan I read at the end of the memorial.

I was acting you see, the role of the widow.

On the phone date with my good friend Abbie last night, she said something I thought was quite profound.  She is an actress we met back when we all lived in Brooklyn, who now teaches acting at a college up in Maine.  She and Brian have a two year old son named Oliver.

She was talking about how some people will want to pretend they were closer to Dan than they were- “I was ‘the friend!’, they will say.”  It’s awkward, uncomfortable,  “So,” she said, “they’re looking for their role.”  She continued, “But there are only three roles here- child, wife, and the one who died.”

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