Bright lights, neatly packed rows and so many people walking around being so normal. There is nothing more ‘normal’ or ‘run of the mill’ than nipping to the shop to pick up a few things. But when you are feeling anything but normal it is the most abnormal of experiences. There should be warning signs for grieving people that supermarkets are absolutely not safe places to be. We had been in this shop so many times but the last time was when we picked up the last few items for my hospital bag. Just weeks later we were in the same shop the day before our son’s funeral – grim.
People were calmly filling their trolleys, seemingly not overwhelmed by the amount of choice and were walking around the supermarket in a methodical and logical order – they seemed completely oblivious to the fact the universe had imploded on the 18th December. It seemed ignorant and rude that people could be making decisions over something as petty as which bread to buy when Lenny had died!
We had masks and woolly hats on so that only a small section of our tear streaked faces could be seen. We had a list. We needed a list because our brains couldn’t function. We could hear a baby crying and then we couldn’t focus, my body still physically responded to a baby crying because we should have had our baby with us. I found myself staring at the baby clothes, I turned an aisle and saw aisles where we had collected things for the hospital bag full on joy and anticipation. It felt, like it has done on many occasions since Lenny died, like the universe was playing a cruel joke on us.
I am pretty sure our route around the supermarket was like we were in some sort of maze, it seemed to take an age to buy the few items that we needed. All the while everyone was being so obnoxiously normal! At some point I heard a loud wailing cry – this time it wasn’t the baby, it was something else – I realised it was me.
We cut our losses – anything we hadn’t managed to get didn’t matter. We went to the ‘grief lane,’ – otherwise known as self service. It is always our preferred method of payment now – it assures limited interaction and small talk with strangers.
After this we started shopping at a small local grocers. It is a family run business, with space for only a few customers in there at a time (therefore limited obnoxious normal people), it doesn’t sell baby clothes, has an excellent selection of spices and pickles and uses far less plastic. It is a win win for us – a more ethical choice and I haven’t had a public meltdown in there yet!