Most of us are acutely aware of our own struggles and we are preoccupied with our own problems. We sympathize with ourselves because we see our own difficulties so clearly. But Ian MacLaren noted wisely, “Let us be kind to one another, for most of us are fighting a hard battle.”
Chicago Tribune, 1965
Its funny, going back and reading our correspondence, many of the emails start much like this: sorry for the delay … I have been out of the country … so good to hear from you. Sometimes it was weeks between emails, but no matter, one would always arrive. I wish I had words to describe this feeling that comes over me rereading these; like somehow I will get another email, one that starts just like the others.
I started to write this story because I believe it is worth telling. BUT, this story belongs to two people—and now one of them is dead.
When my mom died, I remember all sorts of people began saying all sorts of things to me. Of course I got the good ol’ “everything happens for a reason, only God knows what the reason is” story. Barf. Some people shared stories about her I had never heard before, some that were downright painful—shit I wish I had never heard, because now I can’t talk to her about them. I’ll never be able to ask her if they are true or not, and I can’t hold her, tell her I love her whether they are or aren’t. One person told me it was in her “sacred contract” to leave when she did, in the way that she did. Nice, she planned to hurt us the way she did is all I heard—I never spoke to that person again (not proud of that, just being honest). This morning sweetie gently reminded me how much hearing these stories hurt me. I cannot in good conscience do the same thing.
I started to write this story because I am grieving. I started to write this story because it is inconceivable to me that I loved someone so deeply yet we only knew each other via the very thing you are reading now, text. How does that happen? How can I hold something so dear that I never really held at all?
Friends, this is where the story has to end. I had hoped it could be more, but it just can’t. If I could fast forward to the end of this story, here is what the moral would be: Don’t judge a book by its cover. Listen to the spaces between the spaces. Follow your heart, trust your gut. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another. Lean in. Get out of your own way. And yes, love, wins.