The Weather

Until Clea died, I had no understanding of the importance of talking about the weather. I knew there was some significance in talking about the weather when you were trying to avoid certain issues or topics but I didn’t understand the depth of people’s need to discuss the weather.

I did not realise how much weight people placed on a discussion of the weather. I had thought that the weather was an idle topic that people used to pass the time but I have since learned that it is not simply a topic to pass the time; it is a topic to avoid time.

I have daily conversations about the weather.

People call me from long distances to discuss the weather in Canberra. They call when they’re passing through Canberra to discuss the weather.

Maybe I have become a meteorologist without realising it? Am I a weather expert?

I used to sit there politely and listen to this surreal discussion about the weather. Is it sunny? “I’ve noticed on the news that is has been rather cold and frosty in Canberra”. Oh, really. Why are you telling me this? Here is the link to the weather in Canberra. You can look it up whenever you feel the need but you do not need to phone me to talk about the weather.

It is not only the weather. People will talk about anything rather than ask me how I am or mention Clea’s name. Absolutely anything. People ask me about my parents; although I rarely ask people about their parents. People ask me about my sons and even, about common friends and their children. Anything to avoid mentioning Clea or asking me how I am. Some people seem to have a list of people or issues to discuss with me so that they do not have to ask the obvious or talk about the obvious.

I had an old friend call me only last week to let me know that she had been thinking about me. She started with my sons, then my parents, then my brother, then my sisters (each one individually) and even one of my closest friends (who is a friend we have in common) as well as telling me about her sister and her son although I had not asked questions as I was waiting for her to ask me how I was. I really did not feel liking talking to this person.

I find their behaviour bizarre. What is more bizarre is that these people are not strangers, some of them are my immediate family and some are old friends. I do not remember having such in-depth discussions about the weather with these people before Clea’s death.

I have started to tell people that I am not interested in discussing the weather; and that my extended and immediate family are fine thank you very much. Some people think that I am being rude but I think that they are the ones who are being rude.

I have come to understand that I am a scary person and people fear asking me how I am – I may tell them the truth or I may just say I am ‘ok’. It depends how I feel.

How can you open up to people who insist on avoiding that which is most important to you? These people say that I am being difficult but I would rather they did not call as I have no interest in the weather.

And yes, it was frosty this morning but it is a nice sunny day in Canberra today.

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About huntersoledad

Mother of three. Bereaved mother of one. Survivor and victim of 2009 Samoan tsunami. Could be if would be writer.
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4 Responses to The Weather

  1. Someone says:

    Perhaps the weather talk occupies conversation time, just so that they can avoid the ‘unpleasant’ topic.

  2. Cindyss says:

    I found it to be the strangest thing that I went from being a very social person who could easily talk to anyone, to someone who was unable to have a conversation. The only place I could seem to function somewhat normally was at my job where I had a lot of responsibility and people who knew me and were very supportive.

    It is one of the tougher things to get used to- that you have to often find new friends or comrades as the old ones, even family, just can’t figure out how to be ok with you and try to get you to be the one to straighten out. They can’t possibly know what you feel- it’s their discomfort and need for you to be “normal” again. You will make your way and those who can, will figure out how to stick with you. Others will drop off along the way but that is part of this too. It’s too bad people can’t just be ok with just “being” with you and sharing your pain. I hope you find some who will.

    • Thanks Cindy. Often I am not sure what to say to people myself, like at the physio yesterday. He asked me how many kids I had. I said I have two alive and he simply continued with the conversation. Sometimes I don’t want to ask people questions because then I will have to expose myself as well and that can be very hard at times. Maybe I have to learn to be ok with ‘being’ as well.

      • Cindyss says:

        Wow, I can’t believe he didn’t say anything to you. One thing you could try is to make up a little list of responses to some of the common things people ask or say to you and practice them so you’ll be ready with something. It’ll still feel awkward but at least you’ll be able to feel a little more confident. I’m afraid it never really gets totally ok, you just get used to it.

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