I had a friend whose marriage was failing and she and her husband went to marriage counseling. The marriage did not survive as not all marriages should, but she received a book that told a story of another couple. In that book was a simple story on communication a wife’s breast cancer came back, her husband found her alone upset she told him the news he walked upstairs to his office alone and their marriage slowly fell apart. What was she thinking, how could he leave me like this? What was he thinking, I need to compose myself and be strong for her. Such a valuable lesson in communication. No matter how long you have known someone you can’t read their mind, you just can’t.
Last night I had a terrible night, just feeling super lost and worrying about everything I had lost and what I might lose. I was venting to my partner in the car and just didn’t want to talk about possibilities I just wanted to wallow. So in an attempt to cheer me up he brought me to a local bar for a beer and some take out one of our favorite ways to shake off a bad day. And I sat there not hungry, not wanting a menu and trying not cry into my beer. Mad that he was trying and I went along to the bar because I knew that, mad that he couldn’t start a conversation with me if I wasn’t already talking, just mad. And as I wallowed and got madder and was holding back tears something happened.
The moment was this, my partner leaned over to me in the bar and whispered in my ear its not that I don’t want to talk to you its just I have no idea what I should be saying right now. And I said nothing being frustrated and realized I could be mad all night but I agreed to be here so I leaned back and said I know you are trying I’m sorry I don’t know what you should say right now either. Then we both started laughing and a tear rolled down my cheek and we ordered our dinner and finished our beer and went home to fight another day.
Because in the end I wasn’t really mad, I was frustrated, lost, scared all things he could help me with. But when you are looking around surrounded by loss it is so hard to focus on what you have. I don’t have a car anymore, but I didn’t die and he didn’t die in that car crash. I may have lost some great colleagues lately and in turn some opportunity, but I still have a lot of great colleagues and I will find other opportunities. We may be facing scary medical challenges and surgery, but we will come through it and the prognosis is far better than most. I may be still healing, recovering and shaken from everything, but I can do things and I am getting better. I will be ready to help care for the other person that will need it more.
But for this moment I wanted to share with all of you because it is so important to let those we love know when we just can’t, because we don’t know what to say or we aren’t strong enough to accept the next battle yet. Because if we don’t tell them we create space that is too big to over come.
Have you lived in these moments? How do you handle them?