Say what you need to say……….
Lyrics by John Mayer
It has been over a year since I began this series of entries with the title: Grief Rebutted. I think my reasons for sharing these stories is complicated and yet simple too. My grief has been so deep and the suffering so pervasive that it was a seemingly small way to communicate this to the reader but much more to remind myself and hope to seal the memory forever in the embrace of my words.
This I think might be the final chapter of this series which began with: Changing the Channel and then continued 7 months later with Love Intentionally. This last one gives a sketch of our last full day together and our last date.
Grief Rebutted: Say What You Need To Say
Sunday morning December 7 2014. Lindsey got up before me and was excited to greet the day. We had no plans. We had no needs. We knew the week ahead was going to be a full week of diving and yoga and dancing and fun. We sat aside the weekend to relax and retreat. She came in and woke me up and in that excited tone of voice she always seemed to have when attempting something new saying, “I’m making soup with the leftover chicken, and I am putting lots of local fresh veggies in it too!’ She had my attention now, I asked if she could bring me some coffee and I would come and help with the soup and we could eat breakfast together. I found that she had left the chicken bones aside and I was happy to see she had not thrown them out. I told her ‘baby, the bones Make the soup!’ We fussed over that soup on and off for a few hours leaving it to simmer while we attended to other things.
Around 10am that morning I saw her practicing some yoga poses outside and I noted how beautiful she was. Lindsey’s mind raced most of the time with thoughts of tasks, goals, or responsibilities, at times anxiously too. To see her doing yoga was to glimpse yet deeper into how she handled herself and helped herself. It was one of the things she did to calm her mind and just focus on the moment and the pose and the breath.
Huge puffy clouds overhead bathed the grounds where we were staying in gorgeous light. I seized the moment. I intentionally did not bring my professional camera on our honeymoon. I slightly regret it now simply because getting to do this session with her would have been worth it. When I have it in my hand though I am very intense and I did not want that pressure on me on our vacation. I had never shot Lindsey with my Nikon digital SLR camera.
We had had beautiful pictures made of us on our engagement and of course our Wedding(s). I personally wanted to shoot her when I thought I could capture everything about her and that meant spending more time with her and learning how to shoot her. I regret that too. But that morning with the light so perfect I knew my iPhone 5s I had would do a very good job and I was right. My insecurity (about shooting her well) and my obsessive need to do things perfectly or not at all melted in that moment. When I said to her ‘baby the light is gorgeous, I wanna shoot you right now’. She caught my drift perfectly. She knew I was saying I wanted to spend an extended time totally focused on her. She gave a little squeal as she turned from her pose and said “REALLY”?!
My God, I lived for the moments like these. To see her light up was to fill my whole world with her goodness. To know I had the power to cause it also made me feel strong and secure and exceptional. The best gifts women give to men cannot be bought with money, they are priceless.
I grabbed the phone and started taking pictures and directing her around the courtyard and asking her to move and pose. We started to find our rhythm together just like we did doing all other things.
I cannot put into words what the images from that morning mean to me. They were cute, spontaneous,fun and in the moment. Less than 24 hours later they became priceless. I had seized the moment for us both and now I have their comfort forever. I “got” her too, mostly because she gave herself to me, she knew she was giving me not only herself in those moments but making me feel good too. It was a circle of love. We were happy.
Around 2 that afternoon we decided it was time to have the soup for lunch and Lindsey invited Eliane the owner of the resort to have lunch with us. She told us no one had ever invited her to have lunch and was so happy to join us. The soup was excellent and we all talked and laughed like old friends.
The rest of the afternoon we spent outside until it began to rain.
Rain in Cozumel is just a fact that time of year, a warm sweet experience. We napped and cuddled and fell asleep to its rhythm.
My friend Richard and I enjoyed watching Justified together whenever he visited Minneapolis. I have been a fan of Elmore Leonard for years and this TV series was based on a few books he had written. I had told Lindz about it many times and so out of the blue she said. “Baby you are always telling me about that show, Justified, you and Richard go on and on about it. Let’s watch it I want to see what the fuss is about”. I had my Kindle Fire along and we watched the pilot episode and she loved it. Night was coming on and it was still raining so she wanted to watch another episode. But I think everyone on Cozumel must have wanted to stay in and be on the web and out of the rain because we could not get it to play any more and it kept crashing.
Since we had not had dinner yet she said, “let’s go out for dinner, dress up and wear our new cowboy boots!” We had taken the ferry from Cozumel over to Playa a couple days before and we bought lots of Christmas gifts for friends and family. We had always wanted a nice pair of cowboy boots and after a very long back and forth conversation about spending so much money it was me finally telling her ‘baby I want you to have these, you can think of this as my Christmas gift to you’, that’s when she lit up and said “we can give each other boots for Christmas!” It was just another in a long list of moments of the sweetest joy between us , the simple joy of making each other so happy.
I wonder if any of you all have ever worn brand new leather soled cowboy boots on a rain slicked sidewalk or street. Let’s just say we were hand in hand slipping and sliding and laughing loudly all the way to one of my favorite bars in Cozumel, called Casa Del Mojito. This bar features Cuban jazz playlists outstanding Mojitos and excellent food.
We had a couple drinks with our dinner of fresh grouper and Sunday Nite Football was on the TV overhead. It was just about halftime and Lindsey was looking at her phone and I remembered that she had not had any time to work on her BeachBody business so I told her I would walk her back to the house and change my shoes and run back and watch the rest of the game with the boys in the bar. Tom Brady was engineering a comeback. Really though I just wanted to give her the space to work on her business as I knew that would make her happy. So again we ventured out and I was a little tipsy and for the first time in my life I let a girl tell me how to get home. I’ve only ever trusted Lindsey that much. So I changed into running shoes when we got back and then ran back to the bar and watched the game. About 45 minutes later I get a text from her saying that she missed me so I decided to leave. Brady had sealed the deal and it was an excellent game.
To this day what I am about to report here still gives me chills and to this day I don’t know what really made me start thinking about what I said to her when I got back to the house. I have told here that the day before I told her that I wanted to start “intentionally loving her” even more than I was already doing. I wanted to make sure Intentionally that I was never taking her or anything for granted.
SO on the walk back, its about a half a mile at least something stirred deep in my heart. By this time I am completely sober we had only had 2 mojitos apiece with dinner. A thought drifted into my mind and then to my heart and I determined to tell her something very personal when I got back.
Whenever grief has broken me down or depression has tried to crush me I have leaned on this moment over all others . I got back to Tamarindo (the bed and breakfast we were staying at) and when I opened the door there she lay in a bikini top and some cute bottoms I had bought her and she smiled and closed the laptop.
I looked at her and said “Lindsey I want to say something very important to you.” She was on the bed and stretched and leaned on an elbow. “There have been times and occasions in my life where I have thought everything in a relationship or a marriage was going well only to discover that they weren’t and I had been assuming wrongly that everything was OK.” Almost in a whisper now I continued, “If I have hurt you in ANY way and you have not told me about it, I. Am. Listening.” If I have said anything that hurt you in any way and you have not told me. I. Am. Listening. “ If I have needed to say something or do something, anything and you have not told me. I. Am. Listening”
It was as if there were no other sounds and maybe even no other people in the whole world, like a hush had fallen on the earth and its focal point was in that room with us.
Lindsey got up from the bed came over and grabbed my hands and interlocked her fingers in mine and looked up with a seriousness that matched the gravity of my naked heart I had just opened to her and said, “Baby, there’s nothing. EVERYTHING is Perfect”.
Two days later all alone in a tiny chapel there she lay in an open casket where I said goodbye to her before she was flown back to the states for her funeral in Green Bay. They asked me before they released the body from the ME office what I would like her to be dressed in for her flight home and for my private visit with her in the chapel. I said lets put on her the clothes we wore for our last date.
You can take me out of Texas but you can never take the Texan from me. I buried her in her new Python cowboy boots.
So here today October 17, 2016 on our second wedding anniversary. Through both bitter and joyful tears I can tell you the truth. I have no regrets. No doubts. No nagging longings that I should have told her something and I didn’t. I can say as she did “there’s nothing, everything was Perfect”