Soft Speaker’s father passed away yesterday at noon.
As I lay in bed, I began thinking about the things we say at funerals and wondered, why do we reserve the most beautiful speeches for a time when they’ve gone? Why are we able to see past the differences, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies of our nature when they are no longer around to appreciate it? Wouldn’t life be all the more beautiful if we said what we truly feel right now?
Will it make our relationships different?
For the Husband
When we first held hands, I was mesmerized by how they seemed to fit, as though crafted for that sole purpose years before we met each other. I made you promise to never let my hand go and you did just that – through the bitter times, the laughter, the tears, you held on even when I wanted to pull away. And that’s how we got through life, with our hands held tight.
You saw me as a beautiful person and taught me to see myself the same. It didn’t matter if I was fat, tired, haggard, angry or down-right ugly. You loved the flaws as much as you loved the beauty. My shortcomings didn’t subtract from my beauty, if anything, you made me realize that it caused my gorgeousness to shine. Your acceptance made me a better person.
You gave me two darling children, little embodiments of our personalities intertwined forever in them and I am astounded by life’s very essence as I watch them grow. It wasn’t always easy but together as a family, we have so much laughter. We are captivated by the wonder that each day brings. We are children again, with them.
Thank you for working beauty into life, with your music, your passion, your eye for the quirky and your kooky humour. You have given so much and I know I don’t always take the time to thank you but now I do.
Thank you for bringing the magic in my moments. Thank you for being you. Thank you for the love.
For the Mother
The earliest memory I have is of us alone in the kitchen where I sat on the dining table reading a book out loud to you, as you cooked dinner. You were a busy woman but you always, always made time to listen to a child’s rambling. Even when father left you for another woman, you hung on because of me. You didn’t give up on life even on days when the exhaustion hit you so badly you wondered if you could get out of bed. I was your reason to live and you were my world.
But I reciprocated that love with rebellion. In your moment of intense frustration, you said something to me that I will always remember.
‘I give up on you. I’m letting go. I’m putting you in God’s hands and He’ll manage you.’
That was the defining moment for me because a few months later, I hit rock bottom and with nowhere and no one to turn to, I turned to Him. My life changed as I stepped into all that He desired for me, and you watched quietly from the sidelines.
You never flinch when I tell you the worst things about myself and although I know it’s difficult, you resist the desire to intrude or advise. You’d already handed me to the Ultimate Care Giver and in doing that, you became my best friend. There is nothing I hold back from you and you are my soul mate.
You love to make things grow. Whether it is a life, a meal, a flower… you don’t just mother me. You mother the friends around me and have adopted them as your own. You are a shelter, a source of comfort and wisdom. You are my mother and in You, I find home.
Thank you for the life you gave, the care you expressed, the tears you shed and the arms you kept open. Thank you for the love.
You were the hardest person to love. Every time I saw your frailty, I turned away disgusted with what I’d seen. I had such high expectations of who I wanted you to be and when I saw your imperfections, I picked, picked, picked away at your faults. You were, quite honestly, hard to live with and I remember wishing you were never born.
Then one day, I realized… if I could not love you, no one else could. So I opened up my heart to love and received what I could not give. In receiving another person’s acceptance, I began to accept you. In receiving another’s love for me, I started to love you too. In seeing how someone saw me as beautiful, I began to see your beauty.
It took a long time but eventually, the day came when I could look into the mirror – into your eyes – and say, I love you for who you are, where you’ve been and how far you’ve come.
I began to love me.
Thank you for not jumping off the side of the building. Thank you for not overdosing on the pills. Thank you for choosing to turn away from the dark alleys and walk instead, in the sun’s bright light. Thank you for choosing to live.
Thank you for the love.
she sang. she took.
she dissented. she enlivened.
she saw. she grew. she sweated.
she learned. she laughed.
she shed her skin.
she bled on the pages of her days,
she walked through walls,
she lived with intention.
– Mary Anne Radmacher