For those of you that don't know what to say....Read this and remember, it's all about what you're not saying.
There are about a million thoughts and feelings running through my head and my heart. I can’t say them because I don’t have the words, and often feel awkward and stilted when I try to convey the things inside my heart.
So when I next see you, I’ll probably call you a slacker for taking time off work. What’s going through my head, and what I can’t say out loud, is that I’m amazed by the courage you must have to get up and face the world with the bravery that you do. I’m sure you’ll be bombarded by many questions and well-wishers, and I will struggle with the balance between wanting to convey similar sentiments that they are, but also to want to give you a sense of “normalcy” – a reprieve from it all, so that if you want to, you have the option to pretend like none of it happened, or is happening. A break from the reality of it all.
I’ll probably make some offhand compliment about your hair, or your shoes, or something… and what I’m thinking about is how much effort you put forth into thinking about everyone else – thinking about how to provide the emotional support that Geoff, Dawn & Holly need, and how you’ll try to explain to the kids what’s happening - and what they can expect to happen next. I’m thinking that you give so much of yourself to everyone around you who needs you, and hoping that you are getting what you need from those around you who love and care about you. I’m thinking that I hope you know I’m one of those people, even if I’m just the girl who said that your eyelashes look particularly nice, and did you get a new mascara?
I might take some time to bitch about the crappy customer service I had over the weekend. What I’m thinking is that I spend the greater part of Saturday afternoon trying to get flowers for you – not sympathy flowers or some random bunch to say that I was thinking of you, but an arrangement of hyacinths, lilacs and sweet peas – something that might make you smile, even briefly. I won’t tell you that I think I made the third person who told me that lilacs & sweet peas were out of season cry, because I was so frantic and upset about the fact that I needed to DO something for you and I felt like I was failing miserably at it, and I might have possibly taken it out on them. I’m sure she’ll get over it.
I may say something about how when all this is done, we should get drunk together – that doesn’t really have an alternate meaning, so much. I mean that – we’ve never gotten drunk together and I think it’d be a hoot. What I’m not saying but what I also mean, is that when you’re ready, I’m there – for whatever. If that’s being a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, or just a person to pour the shots – I’m there.
My heart aches and my eyes well up whenever I think about the loss your family has suffered, so I take the coward’s way out and try not to think about it, or talk about it. Instead, I’ll call you a slacker, ask you where you got that cute top, briefly complain about bad customer service and suggest that we get smashed. Those around us will probably think I’m insensitive and uncaring… I don’t care about them – I care about you. I just wanted you to know that, even though I can’t say it.