I've stopped looking at people when I talk to them about it. I just look slightly down and to the left and I smile and say something brutally honest followed by something dismissive, a sort of verbal shrug. Then I just walk away as quickly as I can. Sometimes I just smile and nod at people and avoid eye contact altogether. I've stopped thinking about it myself even. I'm just going to live through it, I'm not going to think about it. Whatever will happen will happen either way. I just think about stories, about jokes, about work, about nothing, but never about it. There are no useful thoughts, no useful words. Frank Herbert, in his book Dune, which I love, wrote a litany against fear:
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
It's like that, I guess, though it isn't really fear, just a kind of inevitability of sadness.
And then, of course, there is hope. When I avert my eyes from other people I am trying to look, I think, into the eyes of hope. I am trying to ask hope, nonverbally, what I should expect. Hope doesn't make eye contact, though. Hope looks slightly down and to the left.
Hello, friends. I hope you're well.