The brilliant...my husband...2 weeks before he died.
It is my belief that Eric would want this particular message to be heard. Life lessons are not always complicated. It is often the most simple words of wisdom that aren't applied to our everyday lives.
There are so many times in my life that I've done or said things that just sucked. I put my own ego and self importance before the feelings of others. This behavior is part of my past.
After Eric's death there were many people in our circle, including myself, who were filled with anger, resentment, and bitterness. I would much rather have thrown something at someone rather than yell, but that's not acceptable behavior. Calling people names and insulting them is absolutely acceptable...I actually think it's encouraged in todays society.
There's nothing Eric hated MORE than arguing. Being from southern Illinois there is no such thing as an argument. Just a big pile of shit brushed underneath the carpet. No sense in arguing about something that already happened I guess. This would drive me crazy. Over the years, I was able to move him to my side of a disagreement. We would say things to each other that for sure we didn't mean. But we did intend to be MEAN at the time.
I'm not sure I was trying to hurt his feelings as much as I was trying to make myself feel better. Now he's dead and my sorries don't mean anything. I am so terribly sorry for the things I said. The time I wasted being angry or annoyed. I would give most anything to just be able to tell Eric how sorry I am for using words to hurt his feelings...I just didn't have time.
Over the last year, since his death, I have learned so many lessons. One of the more important was that other people matter. Their lives are important and their feelings are important.
In the past I wouldn't have looked at the cashier and wondered "What is he going through right now?", or at the CEO making a kabillion dollars a year, "Her life appears so complete, but what might she be going through?". If you don't think about others then others don't really matter. Ahhhh, but the shitty part is if THEY don't matter then neither do YOU! That's where it gets tricky.
This ephiphany'ish started after I watched, Words Hurt, video for the first time. It was months and months ago that I watch it, but it didn't resonate with me right away. It took various things happening for everything to click together.
There's some name calling and bullying at my kids school. Nothing more than most other schools. I the "sticks and stones" way of thinking.
Then there was a massacre at an elementary school in Connecticut where twenty children were shot to death. Twenty children between the ages of 6 and 7. How does that happen was the question. A crazy person some said. The gun he used said others. While still others blamed Hollywood and video games.
I began to think, obsessively think, why the hell is this happening? I figured it out for me. It's our lack of care for others. It's a "I'm more important than you" philsophy that we have grown accustomed to.
How have I contributed to the "I'm important AND you're not" way of thinking? Whose feelings might I have hurt either intentionally or not? The list was born.
Putting my own ego aside I managed to do something that was harder than I had thought. I admitted I was not nice and apologized. When you apologize you get different reactions from different people. Some say, "I'm sorry too." - "I forgive you" - "I appreciate you apologizing" - "Go fuck yourself"
In my case, some hearts were open enough to say, "I get it, let's try this again." Some weren't open and "moved on". Some were genuinely forgiving and were sorry things "ended the way they did." While others pretended to accept but really don't. Whichever way things end up isn't the important part. For me, the most important part was being able to put my ego aside. I genuinely apologized for using Words that Hurt. I freed myself from the self blame I have been carrying, while hopefully allowing those that I've hurt to be freed as well. I expected nothing - but as my husband said - I gained so much.
|Their father died 24 hours later|
I watch this video and I wonder how could I have been so dumb as to not have learned this before. Why did it take so much for me to realize just how important what what we say really is.
I've learned that "after the fact" is often too late. In the interest of my children I'm going to try and change this way of thinking.
If you'd do me a favor...Write, call, or text someone you've been shitty to. Tell them you're sorry for hurting their feelings. At the end of the message, ask them to do the same to someone else. Just do it. If you can let me know how you feel after you've done it.
Thank you Eric for teaching me so much.