These occasions — engagements, wedding showers, weddings, baby showers, graduations — call for gift giving. We’re accustomed to sharing in joy with our hearts as well as our wallets. During the happy times, everyone wants to partake. So we don’t mind letting them or even asking them to, with carefully curated registries to direct their generosity.

The same isn’t true for the sad or difficult times. It doesn’t matter that it is then that financial support or material items are often far more needed — that after a divorce, one party might end up with mismatched spatulas and an old couch the dog peed on. You end up missing the simplest things, the ones you didn’t think of needing, like a sharp knife to cut a pineapple. So instead of eating it, you watched it rot on the counter of your empty apartment until the fruit flies came.

Of course, I wasn’t expecting money or presents once I got separated. But the irony of it strikes me now, as I’m piecing together this new life, dragging someone’s old dirty futon into my apartment and buying dollar store plates because after the rent check cleared, I didn’t have the money to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond, let alone the grocery store.