Saturday, May 26, 2012

To Be Clear ...

I read this post and my breath caught in my chest.

What a remarkable young girl. What remarkable parents she must have, to have raised her to be able to be so clear and so mature about what she needs. And yet even her mother was struck by the simplicity and straightforwardness of her child, in emotional pain, saying, "Mom, I need a lot of love to get me through this."

Those words make me cry.

Because who of us haven't been in that exact place, where life feels overwhelming yet we're unable to ask for what we need?

I've surely been there. In recent years, I've been there quite a lot. Sudden deaths of those I love exacted a large toll. Anticipated deaths, as well. Parents in the hospital at the same time sapped my strength, more emotionally than physically, but physically, too.

And I've been very fortunate. I am very fortunate. In the wake of loss, in a sea of stress, friends and family rallied. Mom delivered countless meals. So many formed a continuum of caring, gestures large to small, all appreciated equally. From dinners out, to get me out of the house, to flowers to sympathy cards to emails to IMs to texts, all of them carrying the same message: I'm thinking of you.

Oh, how they buoyed me then.

One person was conspicuously absent and while I know I should not have let his absence affect me so deeply, it did. Our friendship ultimately ended. I did the ending. And in my heart, I know it was the right decision, for many reasons.

But this morning, after reading this post, I wondered what might have been if I had been able to say to him, plainly, "I need a lot of love to get me through this."

Perhaps he would have been able to provide it. Perhaps not. I'll never know.

But what a good lesson for the next time life presents me with an emotional challenge. What a good lesson for us all.

Women are "allowed" to be emotional but some days are more than we can take. On the flip side, men are "expected" to man up and muscle through tough times but, likewise, some days, they must need more than they can muster on their own.

There is much we grown-ups can learn from that young girl.


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