I have been thinking about what to say about healing between the genders. Once again, these words do not come easily but that is okay by me.
Life would be so boring without a good struggle with which to motivate ourselves.
I miss the men in my family. My Dad, who died in 1990. Two older brothers, deceased in 1992 and 2009. Finally, I miss my brother (by my father’s second marriage) who died in February this year at 26. All of these losses are tragic but I still have hope.
Sometimes when I am in the drug store, I stop by the after-shave department, twist off the cap of one and take in a nice long inhale of Aqua Velva. Then I head for the hair product, Brylcreme. With both of those scents fresh in my nose, I enjoy a strong memory of my father. I loved him! So very much. I thought I would die when he did — the pain rocked my already-fragile world.
Many men in my family were alcoholics, violent (beating spouses and each other) and had little or no respect for women. However, one man taught me about healing.
Steve was the most gentle, tough, compassionate, well-intended male I ever knew. Unfortunately, it took his illness to bring us together. Everything fell by the wayside when it came to him. I lived three thousand miles away but we were just so close emotionally. And little did I know that by trusting him and that love, my whole world would unfurl and flutter its wings.
Many times, we sat together and I would watch his mouth, eyes and facial expression, as he tried to speak. Prior to his first brain surgery, his language skills began to deteriorate. So we decided it would be useful to him to have cue cards to flash as he needed things. “May I have some coffee?” I wrote on one, while listening to the squeaking as my fingers clenched the fat marker and formed the letters.
“Promise you’ll never take me to a church that uses incense.” No. He didn’t ask me to write that. My brain just unfiled that one. A nice memory. Yes. Steve fainted during Midnight Mass while the priest made the signs of the cross with incense.
I remember his look of pale horror as he slid down between the pews. Now I see his face when, close to his death, he said: “Nobody can understand me at all.”
When it got right down to it, we both felt that way in life. In each other, however, we found our way. My love and acceptance of him was unconditional and infinite. And his for me? Later, I’ll tell you how much I changed due to our friendship.