The last session I had with Jean she used a word I didn't know. I did my best imitation of an intelligent person, but I'm afraid she's smart enough to realize I'm not.
I confessed to her this week. I had to. I had missed the complete content of her wisdom by not understanding that one word.
"Uh, I have to ask you, uh...you used a word last week. I know it started with an 'm'."
Jean looked at me blankly until her expression told me to give her more.
"We were talking about how people react and respond on the basis of how they've heard they're supposed to..." This was stupid. Now, I'm was wasting today's session.
"Oh, you mean market place thinking?"
"That's not a word."
"Who said it was a word? It's my own expression. It means the way the masses think they should think."
"Market place thinking. That was it."
Jean has nice straight teeth. She showed me all of them when she laughed in my face. Nice reaction from a bereavement shrink.
She's had thousands of 'patients' over the years and became a widow herself some 30 years ago when she was 43. She's acutely aware of the many paths grieving takes. Her market place thinking phrase was in response to my rant.
"About three years ago we were with my cousins and somehow the conversation
became 'Would you take a bullet for your spouse?' Everyone said they would, but Jimmy. Can you believe that?"
"No, no...listen to what he said. He said, "Why would I take a bullet for you? I've got a lot of living to do."
Jean smirked. I thought the smirk meant the irony wasn't lost on her. Nooo... she was smirking at me. In just a few moments this became clear.
"I remember saying, "We don't exactly live in a neighborhood with drive by shootings every other day. Lie to me! Then, Jimmy challenged me, 'Come on, you would take a bullet for me?' And, I said, 'Of course, I would. How could I live with myself if I didn't?"
Finally, Jean jumped in, "Well, here you are living, aren't you?" she said.
It wasn't a drive by shooting that killed Jimmy and I didn't skirt my opportunity to save him, but Jean explained that while Jimmy's comment would dim his chances for getting laid that night he was the most honest person in the room.
"I've worked with thousands (that's how I knew this) not hundreds of people who have lost their husbands or wives, even parents who lost children. The market place
thinking is that they can't go on. Guess what? No suicides in all those years."
Okay. So, I can live without him, but I didn't know this until I had to. How come Jimmy knew he could live without me?
I comfort myself by fantasizing if I had died he would have become Jean's first suicide. Romantic, eh?
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