The next morning, Day 2 of our outing, did I mention Dunkin’ Donuts was across the street? We were again grateful for the DD gift cards that were given to Archie when he was in the hospital. We used the last of his DD cards for breakfast. Then we were off to figure out the “L”.
The subway adventure:
It was pouring ran. We had an umbrella, but the wind kept turning it inside out and it was COOOLD! We stopped at a CVS and bought inexpensive hats and gloves. We were glad our seats for the cubs game were under the canopy and we hoped the rain would soon stop. Back to the journey at hand: the Red Line on the “L”. It was quite the little walk in the rain, maybe 3/4 of a mile, and we ducked into doorways whenever possible for a little reprieve.
We found the Red Line entrance and down we went. That was the easy part. Not a soul around to ask how to use the subway or buy a ticket. Next challenge: how to use the automatic ticket station. It was a bit out of our comfort zone, but we managed, buying our round trip tickets, then headed through the gate and down another level.
The subway systems must have been spectacular at birth, supposedly in the 1940’s. The tile work is gorgeous, but has been deteriorating, making the platform unwelcoming. We were standing with other Cubbie fans when I grabbed my phone, just receiving a text. All of the other Cubbie fans did the same…game postponed. Stink. BTW, subway tickets are not refundable. Now you know.
Now we had an entire day…in the rain…yeah… . My oh my did it pour. We meandered around Chicago, stoping in the basement of Macy’s for a Chicago Style hot dog for Taylor. She had her first one in the basement of Macy’s, 10 years ago. Click, got a picture. We visited the chocolate shops, Hershey’s and Ghiradelli’s. We used a gift card for Starbucks and sat in one of the many 8 floor malls and chatted.
Taylor waited for the coffee and I snagged us a seat. As I was sitting there a realization hit me: Taylor had been checking her phone and quick texting her “extended” family during our weekend, totally cool with me. Not once did I receive a text… . I did text one person about the cancellation of the game, but it was a short conversation, totally appropriate.
It hit me: I have no one to share my excitement.
If you tell someone at work about your weekend, they are happy for you and “file” away the information. Later on if you bring it up, they pause, dig deep and say, “Oh! I remember you telling me about that!” Normal. When you share it with the intimate people in your life, the ones who know you and love you, even when you are “ugly,” that information gets put on the “shelf,” kind of a trophy or maybe a guide book. Either way, the information gets referenced, laughed about, cried over, whatever, on a fairly regular basis until more trophy’s or books have pushed those further down the shelf–but they are still there, just an arms length away. Those experiences/memories shared, can be pulled off of the shelf for “inside jokes” or gag gifts.
How about when one of your family member’s ticks you off or does something to make you laugh your butt off? What do you do? You tell another one of the intimate friends or family members that knows you so well they either point the finger back at you and set you straight about your ill feelings or roll on the floor with you, but never tell another soul.
My only intimate friend/family member is Taylor and she was with me. There is no one I have in my life to share either feeling. This fact was screaming even louder as she is communicating with her other family, and I sit solemnly. I didn’t need any human bffs, because I had Archie. Even this year when everything was so very bad, I still had the dream of getting to “the other side.”
As I was sitting there, a gentleman came to mind that visited Archie and I in the hospital while Arch had chemo. This gentleman’s mom died of cancer and he shared that his dad remarried. His stepmom is nothing like his mom and none of the kids are comfortable with her. As Taylor and I talked, these conversations came to mind. This is what I texted him as Taylor was texting her extended fam:
“Sooo…Taylor and I are having a heart to heart in Chicago. Arch and I wanted to take her some place amazing for graduation, but it’s just me. More than anything, tho, I really feel like I need to share what we talked about.
As Taylor is texting her friends…no texts ever come in for me because my bff was, of course Archie. Everyone we knew or hung with have family activities, so if I were to text them, they may take the time but #1 no one else really wants or needs to hear about my daily moments or things that make me smile.
The reason I feel like I needed to share this with you is because of your dad. I know you have shared that your step mom is so very different from your mom. If your dad didn’t have her, who would listen to how his day went….everyday? When he would decide to paint a room in his house, who would he share the new beauty with…everyday? On weekends when he was not at work, who can he share his time with…every weekend? Taylor and I saw a few things we might consider rearranging in the house but Taylor said,”who are we going to share the changes with?” No one in the family knows what to do with us because everyone else is in couples. Not only have we lost friends, but all our family have their own families, just like you and your siblings have your own families.
How excited would you have been to text back and forth with your dad for 20 minutes because he was so alone he needed someone to fill his emptiness for just a little time? How would you feel if he did that everyday? 20 minute each day, away from your family but only 20 of person to person time each day for your dad. The rest of his time at home would be quiet….everyday….quiet.
Which one of you kids were going to take time everyday to listen to thoughts or dreams going thru your dad’s mind? I don’t want to intrude on your family time, again, I felt you needed to hear this. Have a great wkwnd w/your fam.”
I have Taylor, and I am grateful. Someday she may go off on her own and I will be excited for her…but I’m not going to think about that now. Hopefully I’ll get some more healing under my belt before God allows that door to open.
Why did I share this? I love my family. They love me. They have their own families and cannot take Archie’s place, nor do I expect or want them to. I know God has a plan for my emptiness and I have to fully understand it before He can use it, and that’s going to be a while. I do view other widows/widowers with less judgment for the choices they make based on who their spouse was and what that person may have wanted for them, because…they aren’t the ones that are here…trying to survive…the everyday…quiet…emptiness.
I used to have opinions on “what I thought was best” for people that have been in my shoes, my measuring stick in hand for length of time and duration of pain. I will never again sit on my throne of judgment ready to exonerate people for whom I decide have finally “suffered enough.”
Matthew 7:1-3 “ “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and [a]by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”
Guilty. Shame on me.