• Brian L. Barefield


As I stand on the aisle in one of the biggest arts and crafts store in America. I can feel the warm tears starting to roll down my face as I am literally frozen in my tracks staring at this one particular product. Although I am in a small trance that has taken me back in time, the constant stares or sounds of shopping carts being turned around catches my attention for a brief moment, but not enough to pull me out of this time traveling moment I am having.

My late wife Jamila and I had this running date every Sunday like clockwork. She would wake up early to watch the church service being streamed on her iPad and then it was straight to her email to search for the latest coupons from Michaels. Jamila had taken a liking to this store because it had everything she needed to do all her DIY (Do It Yourself) projects she had seen on the internet.

It was heaven for her, but for me, not so much. I loved everything the store offered except the amount of time spent going up and down the aisle's. I literally blocked off no less than two hours of time going in there. But you know how the saying goes, "Happy wife. Happy life." Now that I look back on it I see that it wasn't so much the time in the store as it was the time spent with me.

As the cancer begin to take over her body and cause her to get fatigued on a consistent basis. Our time became limited. The joking and laughing two-hour sessions we were accustomed to was barely making 30-minutes. Some mornings her body ached just trying to get out of bed, but she would not let that stop her from our date. Getting dressed took a little bit longer now and getting her to the car was a task all in itself. Yet she made that sacrifice to get to the store. Even if she didn't buy anything. Just being there lifted her spirits.

After she passed it took me a long time to go back to the store. Over 19 months had elapsed before I walked through those doors again. As soon as I did all the memories of us being together took over and it over whelmed me. I could hear her voice jokingly saying, "Well we in here now. Time to spend some money."

As I wondered over to her favorite aisle my body froze as I looked at that particular product she loved and that brought on the aforementioned tears. Here I was, a big black man standing in an arts and crafts store balling my eyes out. Of course it looked weird to the public, but it was normal to me. Those memories are all I have left of her.

I am not the only person who has lost a loved one that goes through this. Many across this world who has lost a spouse, parent, sibling, best friend, etc share this similar feeling. It could be a certain song, smell, phrase, brand of clothing, etc. that can trigger those feelings at any place or time. Embarrassment has long left our vocabulary as we no longer can control the sudden rush of emotions that feel our spirits.

Our cognitive minds tell us that this looks "Weird" to those witnessing it, but our feelings tell us it's ok to just, "Let it go." And that's usually what we do. Cry our eyes until we can regain some sense of normalcy that snaps us back to reality. All of that is ok. Don't hold back or bottle it up. Let the tears flow. Let the laughter bellow out from your gut if need be. Your loved one would have it no other way.

If replaying those moments over in your mind brings you joy and helps the mourning process, then by all means be a "Weirdo."

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