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Denial

February 19, 2014

Here’s another post from Cyrus. I didn’t even have to ask for this one, he just emailed it to me!

***

Pure unadulterated denial.

That’s the only way I know how to handle things I can do nothing about. I know this annoys my wife. I suspect it makes me seem cold. I’ve watched throughout the pregnancy as one fear dropped out after another. “What if he has spina bifida?” “Apparently I carry the gene for Tay-Sachs.” “If I drink this cup of coffee what will happen to our son?” In these moments sometimes Clementine wants to hear I’m afraid also, sometimes she wants a hug and a promise that everything is going to be alright. Most of the time, not always, I’m good at recognizing this. I also get that this is a typical man woman thing. The cliche complaint is that a man will try to solve the problem when all the woman wants is to be able to communicate it and not feel alone. (This is my very limited male understanding, I’ve learned from my mercifully put to rest single life and am reminded daily in my married life, I’m not qualified to speak for what any woman actually wants). Well sometimes I can’t solve the problem because the problem isn’t real, it’s just fear. In those moments, I ignore, deny, reassure, basically do anything but address it. It really works for me.

My grandmother died when I was in my early 20s from complications related to stomach cancer. I remember the day I was visiting my aunt and we decided to drive over to my grandmother’s apartment because we hadn’t heard from her all morning, which was unexpected considering she had been released from the hospital the night before. We opened the door, the stench hit us and something took over. We found my grandmother in her bedroom, alive… but in a state, the description of which would undeservingly soil the memory of a life filled with grace. The terror and utter despair that overcame me as I pleaded for anything I could do. We jumped into action. One of us called 911. I opened the window. Got my grandmother water. Then we waited. I can’t remember a time I was happier for her to call me by my Uncle’s name. If she had known it was me she would have been even more devastated. The ambulance was there in minutes. And it was out of my hands. There was nothing I could do. I rode in front with the driver and cracked jokes. The jokes weren’t funny and didn’t land well. “Have you ever hit anyone while driving the ambulance? Cause if I had to get hit by a car I’d prefer it to be an ambulance because then you could just scoop me up”… awkward silence… “My chances of survival would be a lot greater.” … awkward silence again… he responded… “Why would you want to be hit by a car?”. I have since learned that when there is nothing to do, do nothing. So many times since then I’ve been confronted with the same feeling I felt when we opened my grandmother’s front door. “Just give me something to do, anything.” And when that faceless nameless fear hits me as it does, I catch myself doing exactly that, something, anything that will delude me into the belief I’m helping. I’m sure it’s a control/trust issue, a supreme lack of faith or maybe just human nature.

In emergencies, I’m grateful for the little things I can do that might actually make a difference, sometimes that’s a getting a glass of water, opening the window, getting out of the way.

In not emergencies, I’m learning that while doing nothing is always the right answer for my life, sometimes better than doing nothing in married life is a hug, a ‘me too’ and a slightly less morbid joke.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. The Wonders of Inner Life permalink
    February 19, 2014 8:52 am

    wow. really, really love this!

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