Boundaries in the Mirror

One of the last times I called 911 for an ambulance to bring my husband to the hospital two women came to the front door while I was standing waiting for the ambulance. I would suspect I was short-tempered with them, which is expected with the stress I felt at that moment. I told them they had to leave as they were in the middle of my driveway and an ambulance would be there any moment to take my husband to the emergency room. I also told them I had no time for them. They apologized and asked if they could visit at another time. I told them yes, but please hurry and leave. They left, the ambulance arrived and it was off to the hospital. With all that was happening so quickly with my husband’s health failing, I forgot about the two women.

About 4 months after he died these two women rang my doorbell. I was expecting family in a few hours, this would be the first time I allowed anyone to visit since my husband had died. The women explained that they had been there over the summer and I seemed very stressed and this was the first time that they had been able to get back to my neighborhood. They asked about my husband and I told them he died. They offered condolences and said they would pray for him. Then they asked if they could come in. I was thinking “no way” but said “okay but only for a few minutes as I am expecting family”. I was lucky, they had other appointments that day so we only talked, I should say I only talked briefly. They asked if they could return in the future. Once again I thought “no way” instead I told them they could return.

My family visited for five days. I thought it would be an uncomfortable visit. It turned out to be fine. Though many things we planned I was not up to, we did go out some. The reason I say the visit was fine is my family does not know of my panic attacks and my fear to walk out the door. My explanation for not doing all they wanted was the weather, which they understood. The morning after they left, while I was still sleeping I heard the doorbell ring again. I thought maybe it was a package or something else of that type. No, it was the two women wanting to visit. I explained, I was sleeping and was not up to a visit. I also explained it would probably be a little longer until I was up to visits. They apologized for waking me and wished me a good day.

The following Saturday, in the midst of a severe migraine, the doorbell rang again. Once again it was these two women. Again I told them I was not up to it. For the next several weeks they probably stopped by my house at least once a week, though a few times it was twice. Each time I told them I was not up to visits. The last time they rang the doorbell, which was last Saturday, I told them nicely that it would be a few weeks if not months before I was up to visiting. They told me to have a nice day and left. I thought, finally, some freedom from that doorbell and these two women. It was not to be.

This morning before the doorbell rang, I saw them walking up my stairs. I have windows on each side of my door, so they could see I was sitting there. I had no time or I would have gone in the other room and not answered the door. They also came at a bad time as I was looking at my ailing pet, thinking of my husband who had died, there were tears in my eyes but they were probably from something other than crying, an allergy most likely. I did not bother wiping the tears when I answered the door. They noticed the tears, but still wanted to come in and visit. I tried to hide my anger as I told them that on Saturday I had told them I was not up to visits. That I would not even allow neighbors to visit. I told them I was struggling, not only dealing with my husband’s death, I now had my pet who was dying. Surprisingly the women said my pets impending death must bring a lot of memories of my husband’s dying and what I went through before he died. I did not expect anyone to understand how my pets illness brings up what I went through. I still did not allow them in. In fact I tried to tell them nicely that I did not want any visits for at least two months, maybe longer. They were quite kind and said that mourning (they did not say grief) takes not only time, but time alone. I was surprised they understood my need to be alone as well as my need to look at the past, one even said it is best to look at the past so we do not repeat what we did not like about it in the future. It was nice to have someone understand that. Still I did not let them in. I know I need more contact with people, but I am working towards that. As for these two women, they are very nice but they need to learn to respect boundaries.

I did not mention who these women were as most people would draw judgement on them. They are Jehovah Witnesses. I am not. I had a very good friend that was. Our friendship was not based on religion but how we had so many things in common as well as our mutual respect for the other. Religion was never brought up by her unless she was going to an assembly and she would tell me what days she would be gone. I sometimes asked her about her religion. She would answer my questions. I am always curious about other religions and had never understood this one. My friend gave me explanations for her reasons to be a Jehovah Witness and a little about their beliefs. I sometimes joked with her about the knocking on doors. She did not like to do it, but did it once a year as it was part of her religion and service. When a Jehovah Witness comes to my door, I think of her. I would hope no one was ever rude and slammed the door in her face. She was very kind and sensitive. That would have hurt her immensely, though she understood why people did this. This is why I talk to these two women, out of respect for my friend.

I talk about my friend in the past tense. This is because I lost contact with her about 8 or 9 years ago. Shortly after my husband became ill, I looked to see if she was on Facebook. She was not, but her husband and children are. I messaged her husband to tell her I said hello, he asked for my phone number. I messaged back the number but told how my husband was so ill and all my time was spent caring for him. That I would like her to call, but I might not always be available. I never heard from her. Upon telling two who knew her well, they both said she must have died as she would have definitely called. I then went back to Facebook and looked at all the pictures her husband and children had posted. She is only in one, it is an old picture her son posted, someone asked who she was and he replied his mother. No other comments. She had two bouts with cancer, I see her son is battling cancer now. My only conclusion in seeing these things are that she most likely is dead. I was going to contact her husband again or her son or daughter, but realized I am not up to being friends with anyone at this time. So I have put it off until I am more sure of myself. I may not contact them even at that point as I do not want to bring up memories they might have already dealt with.

As for the two women that keep ringing my doorbell, I think they now understand I need time and will not bother me for a while. These two women also made me think of boundaries. When to say no. They obviously had not been respecting my boundaries or at the least did not understand. I know at times I have crossed boundaries thinking I am helping. Or I have crossed them with my husband’s doctors in order to talk with them when I wanted to, not at their convenience. My whole life I have crossed boundaries. I have spent a lot of time at race tracks or shops where the cars are built. To me being at a track or shop is more enjoyable than going to a spa. I know I crossed boundaries, used my looks to gain access to places others only dream of going. When I was younger someone very intelligent told me it was not fair I used my looks to get what I wanted. I replied one day my looks will fade, their intelligence would not, so I was using what I had before it was gone. I now see I was crossing boundaries. Would I cross them again? Most likely, but I think these two women have taught me a little. I will think twice and make sure it is not at the cost of someone else if I decide to cross a boundary.