I found myself clenching my jaw, fists tightened, fighting the urge to not shout in frustration. It has been that kind of day. I am not, normally, a very good communicator; preferring the written word to formal speaking. In high school an English teacher continuously hinted for me to join his speech/debate team and I flatly refused. Years later when I began to speak at public seminars and conferences his words would come to haunt me. One of my regrets was that I did not choose to learn the art of speech; though I could see my audiences were affected by my words.
Words are so powerful and I have to continue to remind myself to choose them wisely. This morning they were simmering to the surface and I kept trying to push them down and away; hoping they’d stop flashing through my mind. There are times to be a quiet listener, encouraging; and others when you must speak your mind, no holds-barred. The discussion, again, is about death and dying; a conversation, sadly, that I know all too well. When do you decide to not resuscitate? When you are told you have a 2-4 month prognosis; how would you choose to live out your life?
I chose my words carefully, but succinctly, as I shared my thoughts and memories repressed in my subconscious. Dave’s parents stared at me, in surprise,their tears flowing; knowing the words I shared have been locked within me. It’s partially that darn book, Me Before You‘s, fault; the words coming unbidden, freeing me from ten years of silence. Dave’s maternal grandfather has just been given this prognosis and his mother shared this with us, this morning, as we sat in the conference room at work. How do you make someone want to live? And can you, justifiably, take their choices into your hands?
The phones were ringing, orders were being bundled and shipped out. I assumed the clock was wrong when it read 1:00 PM but my stomach was grumbling as I counted boxes and hunted for shipping labels. Everyone seemed stressed and flustered today so I would smile with my St. Patrick’s day antennae and green shirt; willing the frustration away. Whenever I wear my antennae people smile back at me. I sometimes forget they are upon my head; my kids think nothing of their mom wearing it. And so the day wore on, slow and tedious. Oppressive; the weight of the world on your shoulders. After the umpteenth time of printing shipping labels; Dave’s mom was at her wits’ end. Dave was everywhere that I was getting whiplash. But alas! The order was complete and the shipment is on its merry way.
At 6:00 PM Dave and I sat wearily on the couch, at home. I had no dinner, ready. One son was working on multiplication tables, the other programmed on a computer and another was banned for disruptive behavior. Nothing went according to plan on this day. Isn’t it always that way? I stared at the hubby without words, silence between us, and was grateful. There is no other person on this Earth who knows me better than this man. He could feel me seethe. He is the Yang to my Yin
I am playing Someday by Mariah Carey on repeat; the song that was on my headphones that fateful autumn day in 1990. The day I crossed paths, unbeknownst to either of us, with my husband. I am recalling the memories and imagery of the USC campus, the students surrounding us. He passed but I could see he was talking to me and as I reached the end of my path I turned; realizing he’d spoken hello. Oh yeah. He’s the guy in my calculus lab. The one who sits by the door and the trash can. He’s always wearing some kind of uniform on Thursdays, I think. I yelled, “hi” in return (Mariah was on high volume) and went on my merry way. That Someday is here before me.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7