I wondered why John was moodier and even more difficult to get along with for the last few days. Initially, I attributed it to the passage of the first holiday of the season; after thinking about it further, I decided there had to be more to it. After dinner tonight, I asked him point blank if something happened over the weekend of which I was unaware. Gradually, the rest of the story trickled out. It wasn’t something. It was someone.
A family member called John the night before Thanksgiving; apparently my explanation as to why we didn’t attend a family function the prior weekend was unsatisfactory.
“Hey! Wanted to call and find out why you didn’t show up last Saturday.”
“Well, the roads up there have all been re-routed again; it was confusing and we got turned around. After getting lost twice, I realized I didn’t feel like being around anyone after all. This time of year is hard for us to handle, with Grace and Brian’s birthdays, then Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years in rapid succession. Rather than bring any of you down, I decided to go on back home.”
“Well, it’s been a year and a half. You’ve got to get over this thing. Time to move on.”
You.Have.Got.To.Get.Over.It. Move.On. Words uttered by a relative.
No wonder John’s off balance. Or that my fury is burning like a white hot coal…
I wanted to pick up the phone or even better, jump in my car to make a surprise visit on this so-called relative. I wanted to tell them how their thoughtless words cut like a knife, and congratulate them on being a first-class jackass. Instead, I spoke soothing words, encouraging forgiveness to my hubby, while a vicious tirade ran endlessly in my head:
Who the hell do you think you are? What gives you the right to say such a thing? What do you know about us, our life, and what we are going though? Your two phone calls have given you great insight into our struggle? Have you buried a child? Exactly what qualifies you to determine John should be ‘over’ the death of his only son? Every single day, my husband gets out of bed, takes a shower, brushes his teeth and goes about his business, earning a living, providing for his family and doing his best to carry on. He’s broken- hearted, imperfect in his execution, but fighting hard, nevertheless… What has happened to us is so unthinkable, there isn’t a word in the English language that describes it. If you had lived this nightmare yourself, you would know.
YOU. NEVER. GET. OVER. IT.
You learn to live around it, to tolerate your ‘new normal’, but at no time does it leave you…
It’s never been as obvious to me that we fall firmly within the category of ‘other’ now. Heartbroken. Atypical. Different. Changed. Grieving. Misunderstood.
Hopefully I can add 'more forgiving' to the list too…
Wishing you sunshine and always, hope…tg
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