There’s a lady in front of me right now. She’s wearing a necklace of two sparkly owls sitting on a branch. I told her I liked her necklace and we got into a lighthearted conversation. She is known as the “owl lady” and I told her I was always known as the “monkey lady” in my crowd. My father’s girlfriend is known as the “turtle lady” and my friend Marybeth was always the “pig lady”.
We become associated with certain colors, animals, items, and people instantly think of us when they see them. On the merry-go-round the other day, I was holding onto Miriam riding her prized zebra while trying to get a photo of the emu for my emu friend Deb. I have another friend that always thinks of me when my favorite extra offensive curse word is said. There’s a lady at work who loses her mind and squeals like an 8 year old girl when she sees anything shaped like a flip flop. We all know a “purple girl” like my brother’s ex-wife and I had a boyfriend many years ago who was a “green guy”. His room, his car, his jacket, his rug, his coffee mug-all bright green.
My mother’s flower was the peony. My cousin Arlene has a snowman obsession. My husband loves anything Charlie Chaplin. Stacy loves giraffes. Jodi and Elana are forever linked as my “french fry friends” and I won’t even get started on my brother and his baked potatoes.
I am also known as the lady whose son died. And who knows what else that entails. I don’t want to know. Five or so years ago, my friend Bob Magee wrote to me, as I went through fertility and grief struggles, these amazing words. “Keep going. I don’t want losing Noah to be the end of your story. This can’t be the end of your story.”
Maybe we should start ending fairytales with “Not The End” because it’s never really the end, is it? Until it actually is. And then it may not be. Change your label. Change your story. Change your animal. Change your color.