Dear Whole Foods Salesman

Dear Whole Foods Salesman,

I’m sorry I cried….and swore at you.

It was just awful timing you see. I was only back from the hospital for a few minutes to have a shower. I’d not slept properly for about 48 hours, I’d had to feed my daughter through the tube that keeps her alive, every hour, on the hour since 6pm the previous day.

I think you might have been in training, there was a senior looking guy with you, he had a clipboard. You were so youthful, enthusiastic, cheerful and smiley. By crying (and swearing) I felt like I was kicking a puppy.

Believe me I was playing it down when I said I was ‘having a bad day’

On top of the sleep depravation and stress, you knocked on my door to sell me vegetables (cue laughter from those who know me well) just as I happened to glance at the words to the hymns we will be singing at my granddad’s funeral on Tuesday. It’s difficult to explain the emotions associated with funerals. Ever since my 3 year old daughter was diagnosed prenatally, with a life-limiting condition, I regularly play out in my head what it will feel like the day I have to say goodbye to her. It’s perverse I know but I feel like I can protect myself from the horror of it by running it over and over in my head. So naturally when faced with an actual funeral of someone I love it brings the feelings so close to the surface that they spill over with even the slightest provocation (like, for example, being sold vegetables!).

On top of that of course, when you knocked she was lying in hospital with an as yet undiagnosed infection (or infections). This meant that the fear of losing her was much closer to the surface than normal. She has this remarkable brain Whole Foods guy, and it’s no exaggeration to say that a cold could kill her. The wrong cold, the wrong combination of germs. Don’t even get me started on how many hours I’ve laid awake worrying about her developing resistance to antibiotics. She has them regularly you see, the strong ones. Sadly no amount of vegetables could help her immune system.

All these feelings are usually relatively easy to manage. I have well established coping mechanisms and a pull-yourself-together mode. The problem is the sleep. Once the sleep goes all the coping strategies are at risk. I can’t remember my own name, let alone remember how to subconsciously self-protect.

You were very sweet, I don’t expect there is a page in the training manual about cry-ers? You actually said exactly the right thing without any knowledge of the situation. You just said, that you were very sorry to hear that and that you hoped my day got better and you smiled. Thank you for that.

For the record, my day did get better, and my daughter is home from the hospital with her mega-strength antibiotics (shelve that worry for now, eh!) and life is creeping towards normal. Our normal of course.

So I wanted to say sorry and explain. I hope lots of other people on the street bought veggies from you that day, I’m sure they are lovely veggies.

Best wishes
Lizzie (the one who cried)

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