In just 11 days Susan and I are going to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary. It had occurred to me to begin today to write about this incredible journey with the love of my life.
In so many ways this is an unimaginable and joyous milestone in our lives. Of course this milestone has its own burdens in light of almost losing Susan to breast cancer and then having that experience shape my life through the creation of The Actual Dance. We continue this journey on ‘borrowed time’ so to speak. We are at a magical moment in our own history.
So why was it in mid-sentence on the phone the other day with a concierge to make a dinner reservation for our Anniversary that: “AlI of a sudden I couldn’t talk.” “Hello?” (Silence, gasping sounds) “Are you still there?!” “Are you all right.” -- I barely croak out “Sorry, I’m just getting emotional.” Why does that happen? I wonder how it has come to be that I cry so easily and so often.
It is reflected in The Actual Dance, where I say: “I am on the phone with him and all of sudden I can’t talk, I can’t say those words.” It is true, in totally unexpected times and places – even when I am working hard to be “the strong one” and I think it is all going to be fine, I start to cry and I cannot control it.
At first I did not understand it --- and in some ways I still don’t. It wasn’t always there. I’m a guy—‘real men don’t cry.’ Right? Well I do on a dime. And it started in 1984 –I remember the event. I called to order flowers for the funeral of my father’s 1st cousin, more like an Aunt to me. I was in my office, for some reason my secretary (we had them back then) was sitting nearby, and all of a sudden I started to cry. I couldn’t talk. I had to end the phone call abruptly (sobbing I will call back later.) The secretary was confused and ask if I was all right. I had to go hide in my office and just sob.
And now it happens all the time – even when I am making dinner reservations! For the record, nobody in my family cried much, if at all. There were deaths in our family from time I was 4 years old – or at least the one’s I remember; and I remember the conversation about if I should be allowed to go to my aunt’s funeral and hearing: “He’s 9 years old, he is old enough.” And I went and I didn’t cry.
For a period of time I was very uncomfortable with this new phenomena. My reaction was to be embarrassed and to chastise myself. I have come to embrace this phenomena. I love that there is something inside of me that I cannot control that is tuned into my inner being in such a way that it will understand and tell me which moments are special. Yes, ordering dinner for your 50th Wedding Anniversary deserves a deep cry! What an amazingly fabulous thing. Stop and experience it, Sam. Don’t let it pass like another task on the to-do list. Isn’t that what it mean?!
And when you need to tell someone that your wife is really sick, it is okay to have to stop --- this is not a routine moment. This is a life changing moment. Pay attention.
And to feel so deeply and to have something inside of me that wakes-up and takes over my being is something I have come to embrace.
So when I cry and I don’t know why what I do is listen. My heart, my soul is telling me something.
And so I was prompted to write a poem about this phenomena. Check it out here.