I just kept staring, watching that finger be pointed at me and the words coming from her mouth cut deeply. Carrying them home like a weight dragging behind me I later learned that it was a noose that slowly strangled me until I was unable to think about anything else. Within a week I was sitting in the doctor’s office trying to keep my head focused on something personally significant, but all I could address was how I was going to make it through the weekend without racing my car in the opposite direction of traffic.
Her secrets had become my secrets and eventually they destroyed everything they had touched. So many times we could have straightened thing out if only I had done what I kept threatening to do, open my mouth. Tell someone what was happening in a way they could understand without the other things entering the picture. My health wasn’t the issue, the location of every dime I made wasn’t either; to me the only thing that mattered was getting her the best help available. I even began to consider that I couldn’t even offer that anymore.
Breaking the silence, it was what happened that morning. I didn’t have a choice anymore, the gravity of everything was pulling me so far under I could function. So I wrote an email to her father, a man who until recently I believed to be an honestly good man. It was a Sunday morning and I had no idea if he would see it, or rather when he would see it. I knew he checked his email at points throughout the weekends.
“I know you don’t want to hear from me, but I’m worried about how she is doing…” The exact words you don’t need to know, they still sit in my email program since I tend to keep everything I’ve ever written or received in their own little personalized folders. 12 hours later came that text message telling me to never contact her again, under any circumstances! So, was that the right thing to do? Open my mouth and lose everything I held dear for over 10 years, maybe?
Those same secrets were eating at her only she wasn’t willing to tell her family differently. Maybe she wasn’t able to tell them? Fear is also a fun emotional restraint. Maybe if she had been willing to lose something, things might have turned out differently. I know there are times when I need to hold back some information from my family. Especially about this cancer thing, it’s hard to know there is little anyone can do but follow the doctor’s suggestions. My aunt is the same way, here are the basics of some medical thing she was having done but she could handle it. I admire the attitude, but wished at times she just said “come for the weekend and mow the lawn!”
I know that my actions have had lasting repercussions. It was something I must have known as I was typing out that letter, waiting for what I also knew was going to be a negative reply from her end. Forced to chose, their help meant I had to go. I’ve hated myself for the cost to me, but have always known that it meant she was going to get the help she desperately needed. Those secrets weren’t going to be such a weight for her because I was no longer in the picture. That box closed quickly and with ruthless efficiency.
The prompt was about a time when you didn’t open your mouth, that’s rarely my issue. As evidenced by this blog, my mind doesn’t have a filter about my mistakes. I accept them and welcome the knowledge that others understand why I made some choices. You can agree, or disagree, or even sit there wondering why any of this matters months later. My foundation was set long ago by a mistake I made as a kid, one I didn’t talk about for years that became poisonous to my emotions, welcoming fear about future loss even before I had a chance to catch my firefly.
I’d give this advice to people, talk about the issue before it becomes so threatening that it destroys the foundation of everything and the chasm looks like an ocean. Hurt feelings for a few hours, or even days, is so much better than feeling hurt for a much longer time.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Break the Silence.”