Sometimes I get writer’s block. It is more like writer’s stifle. There are days when I can fly through a story, and my fingers will not go fast enough to keep up with my brain’s narrative. Other nights when I lay in bed something has reminded me of something that gives way to falling into another and before you know it I am knee-deep in the well of my memories. These stories do not come out easy; they have been locked away, wrapped in satin, tucked in the side pocket of my memory trunk.
We all do things that we look back on and can have no witness to tell the tales. We were alone. Well, alone with the deafening sound of silence. It is a unique sound, unlike the reassuring effect that contentment has. Different from the relaxing sound of a lull. It is not the heightened sense of urgency that a sudden blackout of sound will cause…This is a void, an ache, a longing for sound…it is a lonely fear of being left in a forgotten state of oblivion…unable to talk to someone who will not, and cannot speak back.
Anyone who has experienced a loved one in a coma understands this deafening sound. I had forgotten how loud it was until a friend of mine reminded me of it this week. His son is “asleep” in that state of the in-between. The body shuts itself off to the distractions of the world so it can focus on it is a most important job; healing itself from all things foreign.
My Father lasted for just over 15 days in this realm. It was agony, beyond anything I have ever in my life had to experience, and something I would not wish upon my worst enemy, and certainly not a friend whom I love dearly. You talk and sing and beg and cry….you promise, you yell at the Heavens…you immediately ask forgiveness for fear you may have prevented the Grace to restore by somehow insulting God. Which is hilarious because God of all people knows that you are not speaking your heart, you are speaking your fears. He also knows you are not the woman you look like on the outside, but the scared, frightened little girl you are on the inside.
It’s been a rough few days readers. I have honestly not known what to write. We have yet another friend who had a lovely, kind and always smiling young bride…They had just started to embark on the journey of family…they had a baby shower last week. You could never have asked to know and be in the presence of nicer more lovely people. Suddenly Friday evening, their world changed. Unknown complications and situations came on, an early labor ensued. A beautiful baby girl was brought into this world…A few hours later her beautiful mother left it. Our friend had in a matter of hours became a father and a widower. I cannot imagine his silence or the pain of his goodbyes.
I believe with all my heart that we are at our most honest in this silence. We are the people we want to be when the world around us is not crumbling. We want to be as sincere in the midst of the silence as we are when life is so loud around us we cannot think. I walked to the chapel in Charlotte on one of the nights I just couldn’t take the noise of the machines. The whoosh and bells and ringing. The nurses are coming and going, the hallway chatter of people walking up and down, back and forth….life carrying on as life does completely immune to your personal Hell.
I remember being alone, sitting in the aisles of the dimly lit chapel. Wondering if I should just pray silently, or if in the sanctum I could just talk. Like use words, out loud. It occurred to me that I had not done that, spoken, in hours…maybe a day or more had passed since I had an actual conversation. As I began to speak, another person came in, and I immediately fell silent. I am sure that me being there interrupted their need to chat with God as well. I walked over to the large journal book on the podium where people had written prayer requests. I started flipping through the pages and the heartbreak and pain poured out on those pages broke me.
It felt like I was invading their privacy, but at the same time, it felt like I had found my tribe of wounded warriors. I picked up the pen and began flying through the personal profession of all my fears, and anger, and hopes…the guilt I felt for praying for a liver to save my father. Knowing that what I so desperately needed would cause pain to another family. It would take a life that had value to maybe another daughter, mother, sister, brother….father. How Lord could I be so selfish? How could I want something that carried so much weight? What was so impossible to deal with that I simply could not imagine going the rest of my life without to make such a request?
I needed to hear my father’s voice. It was a desperate need. It was a heart’s desire that surpassed all logic and reason, spirituality and reality. I had things to say; I had things I need to hear. I was not ready for this to be goodbye. To this day, I get a feeling in my chest, a strange rush of tingly hands and anxiety that erupts when I spend even the time it takes writing this blog, thinking about that. It will never go away. It will never stop. I will never get to hear his voice…ever again.
It took me a very long time to come to some peace with that. As a Christian, I rejoice that my father is with my Father. As a daughter of a man who to me, was the strongest, force of nature that ever walked the face of the Earth, my flawed human heart breaks every time I long to hear him say my name. Sometimes when it gets dreadful I sneak upstairs away from the noises of life…unscrew the lid to the bright green bottle of “Skin Bracer” aftershave…a smell him in. I trade one sense for another…and it is kind of like a “fix” of sorts. It will never be the same…however, then again, neither will my life.
So I am using this blog in two ways. First of all to ask for all of you readers to pray. Get down on your knees, sing in the car, gather with friends, coworkers, family…pray and give thanksgiving for all the beautiful, chaotic, topsy-turvy noises in your life. Then pray long and pray hard for the people out there in life dealing with so many different stories and situations. Lift them up, cover them in Grace, and believe with me that God will give them peace in the Valleys they are currently walking through.
Give strength to the little boy who is laying there sleeping that he will open his eyes and whisper his Daddy’s name. Give calm to the Father who is raising his daughter with only the memories of her mother. Give blessings to all the other faceless, nameless strangers out there dealing with their personal versions of silence. ~ Thank you.