Greg and I talk every day. We see each other and share dinner most nights, and seem to always find some excuse for a phone call during the day. We both get up at o’ dark thirty, and share coffee and conversation. Starts my day off right, to the point where if one of us sleeps in, I miss it. One of the things that originally attracted me to Greg was his ability to communicate. He contemplates things and then puts them forth. I don’t have to guess what he is thinking. If I ask, he tells me. Even if I don’t always like what he has to say, even if his words make me mad or sad, the communication is precious. To be able to talk about logistics and statistics AND speak in the language of the heart is a gift I will never take for granted.
Jim and I learned a lot about communication through the course of 24 years together. I discovered that boys don’t read minds (even if girlfriends do.) He found out that telling me what he was up to prior to hearing about his plans through his buddies generally made for a more gracious departure from the home. I realized that he often put a great amount of thought into planning trips for the family, and the nicest thing I could say was, “Hey, that is a great idea!” He made a point of calling me to let me know if he was going to be later than expected returning from a trip or a bike ride. As the kids grew and flew, we discovered the joys of an evening of wine, dinner, and conversation. All of this went away when the cancer took ahold of his brain. Words were very difficult. We learned to communicate without them, and it was enough.
Last night I had a bad dream. The details are not important nor for public consumption, but it was one of those dreams where I tried to scream for help and nothing seemed to be coming out. Apparently, some noise did make it through my vocal cords as it woke Greg up. He shook me and told me it was alright. Greg is not one for much conversation in the middle of the night. Engaging his brain can keep him awake for hours. He held me until my heart stopped racing and we both drifted back to sleep. I did not need his words, I needed his arms. Sometimes words just get in the way of good communication.
Written Oct 23, 2010 3:35pm
We woke up this morning to a rainy day, the first we have had in a few weeks. Our beautiful Fall is now wet, and tomorrow the wind comes which will take all the leaves. Jim wanted to go on a hike this weekend, so asked, “Have you looked at the broadcast?” Broadcast must mean forecast today. I looked and relayed chance of precipitation for both days. He repeated, “No have you looked at the broadcast?”, this time with a subtle rotary hand motion. Ah…the radar. Radar says more rain for the next hour and then a possible break.
Usually when the ground is wet, we go to a south facing place on the mountain that shall remain unnamed as we have access that others don’t. I asked Jim if he would like to go there, and he said yes. One hour later, driving up to said spot, Jim told me I had missed the turn. When I said, “But we are going to _____”, he replied that that was not the plan. Let go of the past. “Where would you like to go hiking Jim, central mountain or _______?”. Quick change of plans.
Driving up the main Moscow Mountain road, there were signs for a race. I pointed them out. “Looks like there is a downhill race today, they will be in the Cabin/LaFortune’s Flight area”.
Five minutes later, we get to the bottom of the lower trail. “Do you want to hike here”.
He replies, “No, let’s go further”.
I hesitate, but go on. “Are you sure?. There is a race, parking will be hard.”
I continue driving, and he says, “There is a race?? We should rethink this.”
We turn around and do the lower trail. Nice hike, window in the weather.
On the way home, Jim starts talking about lunch. “What would you like?”, I ask.
“I’m thinking peanut butter and……”
“Jelly?”, I question.
“No, peanut butter and…..”.
Hmm. I am getting smarter. “We have turkey, would you like a turkey and cheese quesadilla?”
“Yes, turkey!” he replies.
Twenty seconds later, he says, “I don’t want it heated.”
“Would you like a sandwich instead?”
“Yes, it will be brown”
By the time we get home, I finally have learned this lesson. No past, just now. I pull out the bread, I pull out the tortillas. “Which one of these do you want?” Jim points to the tortillas, I make turkey cheese quesadillas with sliced garden tomatoes and carrots on the side. It was good.
Let go of the past, don’t anticipate the future. Now….is all we have.