So, I’m dashing through Tuesday in my familiar state of oblivion when I stopped to check out my favorite blog. (https://withoutwax.tv/) Today, Pastor Pete (I don’t know if he likes to be called “Pastor” but that’s what I call him in my head) talked about words and how powerful they are. And there was a video too, with one of my favorite songs, Say What Ya Need To Say. And now I’m sobbing. Anyone who knows me understands the enormous ramifications of me sobbing. Hell has most likely frozen over. (Yes, I know I’m deflecting with bad humor…)
Anyhoo, I feel sure that the message of that blog will unfold in different ways to different people. It hit me in a way I hadn’t thought of before, (felt a little like a Mac truck coming out of left field)here’s the thing…
When it comes to validating and experiencing deep hurt with someone close to me, I have trouble. Here’s what I mean…After my little brother died my mom would call me in the morning sometimes crying. She would pour out her heart telling me how much she missed him, and how bad she was hurting. I would grasp for something positive to say. “Mom, you know he’s healed now. He’s happy and he’s right where he wants to be.”
After awhile, when she’d call, I’d remind her that she had other kids and that my sister and I needed her. Her pain was so dark. So raw. It took my breath and I couldn’t find the courage to look it in the eye.
Then in the year before Momma passed away, several times she tried to broach the subject of her mortality. “I’m not going to live forever you know.” she would tell me quietly. I brushed her off with something like, “Mom, you’re going to outlive me and you know it!” (She was healthy after all.) I just couldn’t go there with her. But she needed me to go there. How I regret not going there.
When her emergency bypass surgery went bad and she was intubated, once when I went CCU to see her she was awake. She lifted her manicured finger to get my attention. Tears slipped down the sides of her temples and onto the pillow. She ever-so-gently shook her head “no”. I knew she’d always said she could never endure being intubated. I saw in her eyes what she really wanted to tell me. I knew she wanted to let go, she was ready. But, I leaned in close to her ear and whispered: “Today is going to be a better day Momma. The Dr. is going to try to get the tube out. You’re making a turn for the better.” Again, I just couldn’t go there. But, that was the last time I ever saw her awake. How I wish the words I’d whispered to her had come from my heart. Even if my heart was breaking into a million pieces.
I have a history of doing this. (But I’ve never faced it until today when I read that darn blog. ) Most recently, I did it last night. My husband was feeling really low. He lost his sister 2 weeks ago and he’s grieving. I felt his hurt twist my heart and then I did what must be habit… I rummaged frantically through the “positive” responses in my head. And I threw out as many as I could. He got quiet. I breathed a sigh of relief. I see now, it was not for him, it was for me. How selfish I’ve been. How dishonest. How cowardly.
But I didn’t realize it before. I realize it now and I’m sorry.
I think I’m terrified to feel pain too deeply. But that’s one of the ways we love deeply isn’t it? Sometimes love really does hurt.