People Don't Suck
I’ve been fading away a little over the last few weeks. My voice has left me, my head has floated up somewhere well above the clouds. The clouds are more comfortable for me than the Earth sometimes, so I dream, and float and stay here. Some people get caught up in life stressors or relationships with others. I escape to a world that no one else can see. This happens to me sometimes; I resort back to old habits that maybe once protected me, but now do nothing but hold me in place, stuck. I can’t pinpoint when it started, or how I let it continue, but it did.
My husband had to go back to the hospital on Saturday on our much awaited trip home, slamming the breaks on what we thought we wanted to be doing. So yesterday, instead of wandering around Asheville together and resting up for the last leg home, he was laid up in a hospital bed getting antibiotics and feeling all around pretty shitty. All of us were mad. We had our own plans, and expectations about this trip, and this wasn’t what was “supposed” to happen. Our self-pity set in. I screamed in the parked car. My daughter pouted about her plans and timelines. You know, human things. Being a human is hard sometimes, and we forget the bigger picture a lot. We just wanted so badly to be able to have things just as we wanted them. But that’s not how it goes. And that’s not how it will ever be. So….instead, my kiddo and I did a little wandering, and I had dinner at the hospital with my husband. What can you do, right? We had to make the best of it. After all, we could see the sunset over the mountains from his hospital room. I can find a sunset anywhere ya’ll. Anywhere. :)
We were finishing up dinner when his nurse came in. She had been lovely all day, just so kind and caring, but this time she stopped and looked at us both. She said “I don’t know why I’m about to tell you this”, and then proceeded to tell us how her teenage son had “passed away” a few months ago. He was in a car accident, and didn’t survive. She told us about how he loved to play the bass guitar and read and was always bettering himself. She told us how alive he was, and how he was so grateful to move to Asheville because of the opportunity it provided him with music. She said she couldn’t say the “D” word yet to describe what happened to him. She just couldn’t. She shared that her 12 year old daughter was struggling, and her family wasn’t sharing in their pain. This beautiful soul opened up to two complete strangers, sharing her story, and her feelings. She said she hadn’t been able to tell anyone about it, but she still talked to him, and that she didn’t know what to do. Ya’ll….this woman was truly in her realest moment, which I find completely beautiful. I think it’s the purest form of beauty, when we can say what we are feeling and be who we really are in that precise moment; and this woman was basically a supermodel for me right then. She stood there, and cried, smiled and laughed thinking about her son and how we brought light to her life. We chatted a bit more, and I shared my own experiences as best as I could. Maybe something I said touched her, maybe she just needed to tell someone. Either way, she left the room smiling and feeling lighter. You could tell. She glowed.
I believe in angels. I believe in them more than anything else, in fact. I have had the blessing to have a few lovely guides on this Earth to teach me about them and how to connect to them, and now I feel and see them everywhere. Once you see the world through this lens, you are forever changed. Everything looks different. This woman, sharing her soul was one of those miracles. She was put in our path as a gentle reminder to trust the process. We are where we need to be.
Here this sweet woman was thinking she was the one that was needing guidance, and yet in that moment I snapped out of my fog. We needed to be there right that moment. She needed us, and I needed her. She needed to remind me of who I could be for people if I actually stayed grounded and noticed. Her sharing her pain reminded me how we really are all just trying to find a little meaning in our lives every day, but that the true meaning actually comes from noticing and connecting.
Small talk has always made me feel “small”, just as it’s aptly named. I hate it. It makes me squirm and want to leave the conversation. The robotic scripts we follow when we encounter strangers is almost embarrassing to me. Every time I play along with it, I feel gross, like I’m faking it for someone else. My friends that truly know me are amused by my awkwardness with small talk. But this. This big talk is everything. It's a real connection, not some forced connection generated by an app, with hearts and thumbs up and filters. It’s real, and messy and powerful if we just listen and notice. I see posts on social media about how people suck. I can’t relate. I don’t understand, because I encounter amazing people almost every single day. Ya’ll….look around. People don’t suck...you get back what you put out. Just pause and think about it. Is everyone going to be your cup of tea? Umm...no. For sure not. But I bet if you look, you’ll find some pretty great humans tucked away where you least expected it.
I am forever grateful for this woman sharing with me, and I am going to be thinking about her healing journey for a long time to come. The best way I can honor her son is to show the fuck up every day; to be who I am for others. I truly hope that her opening up to us was just the beginning for her; that maybe it eased the fear of sharing and that eventually her son feels alive again in her home, even without his physical body. Thank you, wherever you are.