Thursday, February 14, 2008

Say It All Out Loud

Last year it snowed right before Valentine's Day and it snowed the day of. It snowed so much the night before, I thought we would have to change our Valentine's plans. While it was still dreadfully cold, the snow relented and Bill and I and Mark and Jill made it to the dinner theater/show. (Jill lost her gloves somewhere there. We never did find them, but it made picking out a birthday present easy for her for later in the month. )

I remember being in a bit of a tizzy about what to get Bill for Valentine's Day. Having never dated much, I didn't have a clue. What would say to much? What wouldn't say enough? We had only been dating since November and had navigated Christmas and then his birthday January 14th. For Christmas I got him a Bible that helps you read it through in a year and the book I helped write. He had been asking to read it, but I was shy about giving it to him. I made him promise to read the whole thing and not just my chapters. (And he did, but he read my chapters first!) For his birthday he got slippers. Okay, that's kind of a practical gift. I typically like presents to have meaning behind them. But we were at the mall and he looked at them and really liked them and had been complaining for a month about the hole in his. Oh, and we also spent a whole day together in Chicago.

A month later, Valentine's rolls around. As I said before, I didn't have much experience in this holiday. Nothing jumped out at me. There was nothing he needed or hinted that he wanted. So, I had to get creative. I decided on two things. The first was making a peanut butter pie. I had never had one and definitely had never made one. But he had always talked about how good his mother's was. His mother had passed away a number of years before and there was no way to get that recipe. I don't think Bill even had it. I scoured the internet and came up with a simple pie recipe and decorated it with a Hershey Kisses shaped in a heart. The second gift was a heart felt letter.

I think they were good gifts. They made sense to me on an emotional level and I hoped they had meaning. But looking back, I also think the letter was my way of not taking a risk. I never heard my parents say, "I love you." I never saw any affection between them. Navigating this was really uncharted territory. So, I did what I felt safe with. I wrote.

Bill passed away unexpectedly the end of April last year. While I did manage to say, "I love you" at times, I never said it as much as I thought it. I never said it with as much depth as I wrote it or felt it. It was my fear of rejection or looking silly or sappy or whatever that kept me from it. But I knew that Bill longed to hear it. So, I wish instead of writing it that I had read it to him. I wish that I had said it out loud with all the depth there was behind it.

Whatever it is, say it out loud or in whatever way the person you love (children, friends, spouse) will hear it best. Don't let fear or embarrassment or whatever holds you back rob you and them. Say it out loud! Life is too short not to.

1 comment:

Heather@Mommymonk said...

Oh Amy - I love you! Your honesty about this akward and painful situation speaks volumes. Even if it isn't fear of rejection that holds us back, there is often something that keeps us mute. Carelessness or apathy. We think they know we love them, so why say it? How important it is to break through that barrier and touch a heart.