I’ve never participated in the WordPress weekly writing challenge but thought I would give it a go this week. We are to write about silence.
I’m one of those people who don’t mind being alone. I welcome the quiet. I remember when I moved off to a different city to start veterinary school. I wanted an apartment to myself but my parents didn’t like that idea and wanted me to have a roommate. I can understand that from a parent’s viewpoint but I was adamant. I knew myself and knew I would study better and in general be happier by myself. Silence is usually a friend to me although there have certainly been times in my life that silence has been very awkward and “unwelcome.”
- I remember the dead silence I encountered after my miscarriage. When I announced my pregnancy to my family and friends, the news was met by much laughter, hugs, and happiness. My husband and I had tried for a full year to get pregnant and there were times during that 12 months that I felt that having children just wasn’t going to happen for us. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be. So when I got that positive pregnancy test, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. But I miscarried at 8 weeks. I had to have a D&C and this was awkward because it was done in labor and delivery. Believe me when I say I wanted to be anywhere but labor and delivery after just having had the dead remains of my fetus scraped and raked from my uterus. In the recovery room, there was dead silence. Silence from the nurses, from everybody. It was like family and friends didn’t know what to say to me in the weeks after my D&C, so they chose to say nothing. The silence was eerily awkward. And it made me sad.
- When my youngest son was a brand new teenager, he tried out for his first black belt in karate. He had taken karate since he was six years old and right out of kindergarten. He loved martial arts, he was very enthusiastic, and he really wanted this black belt. But his nerves got the best of him that night and he failed his first black belt exam. He was absolutely crushed. I remember the silence as we drove home that night (and this was always a very talkative, happy kid– this second-born son of mine). We got home and he went straight to his bedroom and shut the door. I left him alone for a while. Then I went in to say goodnight and found him laying on his back in his bed and crying. As a parent, I wanted to scoop this lanky boy child of mine up and tell him the things parents usually say to their child in situations like this: that he gave it his best, that he could hold his head up high and keep working until he achieved his goal and got that black belt, that there would be many, many more disappointments in life, that he wouldn’t always get what he wanted out of life, blah, blah, blah. But I knew this wasn’t the right time. It was the time for silence. I remember I just laid down next to him and held him and let him cry. Then I kissed him on the cheek and left his room. It was one of those times when I felt that the silence was necessary.
- This past August, I had to put my 19-year-old cat to sleep. I had had him since he was a small kitten of eight weeks– a little pouncing gray and white ball of fluff. Coming into the silent house that first time after losing him was almost unbearable. For almost 20 years I was used to his little gray and white furry body waiting for me at the top of the stairs, greeting me with his loud meows of welcome. I would pick him up and hold him close, all the while feeling happiness and love brewing inside me. I was so used to hearing the little bell on his collar tinkling away when he walked through the house. I loved hearing his loud purrs. Sometimes I think it’s the sound of his purring that I miss the most. I abhor the silence that euthanasia brought to him and to my house. I’m not sure I will ever get used to it.
- Lately, I’ve been going to a local cemetery to visit the grave of a very close friend who died this past summer in a tragic car accident. She was a childhood friend I had for more than 50 years. I didn’t get to say goodbye to her or tell her what our friendship had meant to me over the years. I didn’t get to tell her I loved her. I go to the cemetery and stand over her grave and the silence is sometimes deafening. I see the leaves dancing on nearby trees, and I long to hear the wind blowing. I listen for it, but it’s not there. There’s nothing but silence.