My dearest Christina,
It always happens at the oddest moments. Something happens. Somebody say’s something. And all of a sudden, we’re reduced to tears. Sometimes it’s me. Sometimes it’s the kids. Sometimes it’s all of us at the same time (THOSE are fun times). 😉 And while we all grieve in our own way, nothing breaks my heart more than to see the kids grieve. It’s an indescribable pain. And sometimes, it hits when I’m feeling my own grief. And it’s at these times that I feel at a loss. For example………….
I was out in the field for most of the day today with my new agent Jane (changing the names to protect the innocent). We met up for our first appointment on I-Drive. Since we had a few other appointments, we left my car in a parking garage, and I let her drive (she knew where she was going). Our last appointment was at the home of a really nice couple. The only down side…….they had 1 cat, 3 kittens, and a dog. A very, VERY hyper dog. As you can imagine, within about half an hour, I was starting to feel the effects of the animals. My chest started to get heavy, and I was finding it increasingly hard to breath. Fortunately, we didn’t stay long. Since we were so close to my house, I asked Jane to take me home so that I could get/use my inhaler. While I was home, I snatched up the kids, and we all went to get my car. On the way back to I-Drive, we all decided that it would be fun to go get something to eat, whether it be dinner or dessert. We opted for Carrabba’s, but somehow found ourselves in Outback. Still not sure how that happened. This is where the fun started.
We were seated quickly, and our waiter (who was absolutely fabulous) arrived shortly after. At one point, our waiter addressed me and referred to Jane as “your wife”. After he left, I mentioned it to see if anyone else picked up on it. None of them had. It happened a couple more times throughout our meal. I didn’t think too much of it. It was an honest, and innocent mistake. He didn’t know any better. I mean, let’s face it. Anyone of us would have made the same mistake. No sense really in making him feel embarrassed by pointing out the mistake, right? After about the second time, I started to feel that “tug” at my heart strings. And I realized……I really miss hearing that. It’s really interesting what gets me sometimes. And of all the things to get worked up about. Missing hearing someone say “your wife”. I hadn’t heard those words used with me for so long. And as I sit here typing this, the meaning of those two little words just really hit home for me. You were “my wife”. I was “your husband”. We chose each other to spend the rest of our lives with. You wanted me. And I wanted you. It’s one of the things that made being married to you so awesome. Knowing that no matter what happened, I could always come home to you……and you would always be glad to see me. It’s interesting to sometimes to realize the things that we miss. Something as simple as hearing the words “your wife”. Yeah. I had a bit of a moment. A moment that was short lived.
The last time our waiter slipped up, he addressed the kids referring to Jane as “mom”. I saw immediately in Alexys face, that one hit home for her. I could tell she was trying not to let it bother her. But then the anxiety symptoms kicked in. And as I tried to talk her through it, I could see the tears starting to well up in her eyes. At this point I decided that the waiter needed to be corrected. Fortunately for all of us, he didn’t make the mistake again. But the damage was already done. I had Andrew switch places with Alexys, put my arm around her, and try to comfort her as much as possible. And as we sat there, I couldn’t help but think that she must have felt something similar to what I felt. It’s been two years since anyone has used that name like that with either of the kids. And like me, Alexys probably hadn’t realized just how much she missed hearing that. I know how I felt. I can’t even begin to imagine how it made her feel.
There’s an old saying that goes “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. And while I understand what this is intended to do, and I agree with that intent. It does tend to undermine the fact that words are important. It’s our words that communicate things like love, compassion, trust, empathy, excitement. But I also think that the lack of words can sometimes have an even more profound effect on us. We may not realize it at the time. But eventually we will hear a word used, and realize just how much it meant to us to be able to hear and use those words. So while I’ll echo the words of a childhood song “be careful little mouth what you say”, I would also say “be careful little mouth, what you DON’T say”. Because it’s those words we use all the time, and so take for granted, that we will miss the most when gone. So use the words that build each other up. And don’t use the ones that tear each other down. Treasure those you love. And hang on every word they say. Because one day, you may find yourself realizing just how much you miss hearing those words.
Disclaimer: It’s almost 1am. I’ve been up since about 4:30am. Just throwing that out there in case it sounds like I’m talking crazy talk. 😛