We and us

November, 2018

"But if Hugh dies first, would I ever be able to stop saying "we" and say "I"? I doubt it. I do not think that death can take away the fact the Hugh and I are "we" and "us", a new creature born at the time of our marriage vows, which has grown along with us as our marriage has grown." - Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L'Engle 

I find myself struggling when I talk to people who don’t really know me yet. I think when I say “we” I confuse them. But, so many times it’s just not the right time to tell the whole story. And If I just say, “My husband passed away last year,” they are left in an uncomfortable position sometimes. They always say, “I’m so sorry,” but then there is this awkward silence.

And I really don’t like being introduced as the woman who just lost her husband. I’d rather tell people on my own terms, in my own time, in my own way.

So, yes, I’ll always be a part of “we” but I’m also “I”. Whoever that is.

Communication or Waiting?

c/o neurosciencemarketing

The PAD prompt for April 17th was “Waiting”. But, I got to thinking, the poem I wrote on April 3, with the prompt of “Communication” could have done just as well here.

The past ten months I have done a lot of waiting. Waiting on hold. Waiting on mail. Waiting for the right house to come along. Waiting on other people. In all of this, I have waited on the Lord. Not always patiently I am sorry to say.


Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart;  Wait, I say, on the Lord! – Psalm 27:14

So, here’s my poem from April 3rd.

Communication

Press one
Your wait time is 14 minutes
For the next available representative
Name
Phone number
Date Of birth
Last four of your social
Repeat  
Press two
Your wait time is 23 minutes
How may I help you?
I’m sorry, but I can’t help you with that
Let me transfer you
Repeat
Press three
Please remain on the line
I’m  sorry for your loss
Your husband’s date of birth
Date of death
Last four of his social
Call us if you haven’t received it in 60 days
No, it takes up to 14 days after processing
No, it takes up to 28 days
Repeat
Press four
A death certificate
A driver's license
A marriage certificate
Repeat
Press five
Your address
Your former address
Beneficiaries 
My supervisor isn’t available
Leave your name and phone number
Repeat
Press six
I’m sorry, our office is closed

Texts from the past #7: I Corinthians 13

” vs. 5… does not seek its own…”

There were so many times that Chuck did things for me, not to gain anything for himself but just to make me happy, or to make my life easier.

April 18, 2017

Me: Thank you so much. You didn’t have to. Especially in that horrible traffic. C: I know but I wanted to and I could, I had time.  (He brought me something I forgot, probably my phone. I was subbing at Pelham High School that day.)

August 1, 2017

C: Your gas is very low. Do you want me to fill it?

Feb 27, 2018

C: Hey, would you be interested in eating out tonight since you’re going to be gone this weekend? Me: Sure, I’m going to get fatter anyway. C: Anywhere particular? Me: Either Beef O’Bradys or you can just bring home Jim n Nick’s. C: Hmmm, prolly bring J & N, my goal was to give you the night off.

July 13, 2018

(I was on my way to meet my cousin, Paula, in Arkansas.). C: Diagnosed diabetic. (I don’t remember this!!!!!!!). Me: Made it. C: Praise the Lord. You two enjoy.

April 5, 2019

(Discussing the poetry meeting in Orange Beach) C: I’ll go with you unless you happen to know someone who might want to go. Me: Let me think on it. It would probably be boring for you. C: We’ll talk about it. I just wanted to help you enjoy it.

April 10, 2019

C: I was going in order to support something you love and because I hate to see you spend 8 hours driving on top of 6 hours of meetings. I was willing to do Driving Miss Angie.

Oct. 2, 2019

Me: I’m already planning to go to Tampa in January for Grandparents’ Day. Could I go in early November, too? C: Why not?

It’s the big and little things I miss. Having someone who will bring you your phone or fill your car with gas. Someone who offers to accompany you to something they have no real interest in so you won’t be alone. Someone who hates to see you leave, but knows your heart’s desire to see the grandkids or meet your cousin. Someone who seeks your happiness.

All the Feels

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I wasn’t sure what to title this or how to start. Right now I am typing on my chromebook as I listen to a virtual concert on my laptop.  I have been a subscriber to Garden and Gun for a number of years. Today as I read their email I found out there was going to be a virtual concert live tonight. I was able to pass the word along to people I thought might be interested, and then I settled in to listen and I’m having a grand time!

http://luckreunion.com/tilfurthernotice

 

This whole COVID-19 thing has brought with it a lot of different emotions.

Joy in the way people have pulled together for the good of all – like this free concert. I did donate a little because I was grateful for the entertainment and generosity of the musicians.

Disgust in the way people have gone crazy hoarding toilet paper, and more importantly, meat and potatoes. What are they thinking?

Gratitude for all who have been kind and offered help to others. Including advice on how to schedule the kids at home and stuff like that.

4:00, wallow in self-pity. 4:30, stare into the abyss. 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one. 5:30, jazzercize; 6:30, dinner with me. I can’t cancel that again. 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing. I’m booked. Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness.” — The Grinch 

Community in the conversations I’ve had when I did venture out.  Like the woman in Aldi who was clearly trusting in Christ and we shared Bible verses with each other.  And the couple in Sprouts – the woman told her husband she was buying “Stress flowers” so I just started a conversation with them. Turns out they were from New Orleans and we agreed that this was worse than how people act when a hurricane is coming. Then there was the lady in the Dollar Tree who told me all about the psychic who predicted all this and then told me all about her bladder infection. I just listened and nodded until I could politely get away. I figured she’d been quarantined a bit and just need to talk.

Doubt about how all this has gone down. Something just doesn’t seem right.

Claude Lacombe:
Mr. Neary, what do you want?

Roy Neary:
I just want to know that it’s really happening.

From Close Encounters of the Third Kind

 

Avetts in October #18: I and Love and You

In talking about  how we act toward survivors when someone dies, Madeleine L’Engle said,

“What is there to say? Only, ‘I love you, and I care,’ and sometimes we are afraid to say even that.”

The Avetts have a song about telling someone you love them. I’ve mentioned it before and posted a video, but I think the version below is my favorite.

Three words that became hard to say

I and love and you

 

 

Smell the Roses and Settle the Stout

guinness1

photo-spokesman.com

 

Everyone’s heard the cliche about taking time to smell the roses. After reading this glimpse of a pub in Ireland, I think “take time for the stout to settle” is better.

“He poured half my pint of Guinness, then let it stand for three minutes, in the time-honored way. This lets the stout settle. It also allows the barman to ask you who you are, where you’re from, and why you’re here. The other customers listen and nod. Then, he fills the pint, smooths off the head with a table knife with a parchment-coloured handle, and waits for you to take the first sip. And then the conversation continues.” – from McCarthy’s Bar by Pete McCarthy

 

Google It

eb

“The young writer will be drawn at every turn toward eccentricities in language. He will hear the beat of new vocabularies, the exciting rhythms of special segments of his society, each speaking a language of its own. All of us come under the spell of these unsettling drums; the problem, for the beginner, is to listen to them, learn the words, feel the excitement, and not be carried away.” – – An E.B. White Reader

Have you heard the beat of new vocabularies? Nouns turned into verbs are used all over. We google subjects and we tweet, though we aren’t birds. We text and snapchat each other, but our communication is often abbreviated to words without vowels; we have a new shorthand to meet the needs of a fly by friendship.

I am familiar with several special segments of society that have a language specific to its members. One of these is the field of education, a world full of acronyms and oft used terms. Overuse certainly kills the charm of some words. I can think of some that need to be retired, or at least put on the back burner. Some of these would be: partner (as in ‘partner with’, not ‘Howdy, Partner!’), relationships, ownership, mission statement, intentional, and unpack. Contemporary religion also has its share of overused expressions, such as authentic, relevant, passionate.

The best point White made is to “not be carried away.” Words are wonderful and repetition has its place. But like a parent who threatens “if I have to tell you one more time”, frequently repeated words lose their appeal and begin to fall on deaf ears.