Posted by: Robin~AllThingsHeartandHome | October 14, 2008

Love really does hurt…

So, I’m dashing through Tuesday in my familiar state of oblivion when I stopped to check out my favorite blog.  ( Today, Pastor Pete (I don’t know if he likes to be called “Pastor” but that’s what I call him in my head) talked about words and how powerful they are.  And there was a video too, with one of my favorite songs, Say What Ya Need To Say.  And now I’m sobbing.  Anyone who knows me understands the enormous ramifications of me sobbing.  Hell has most likely frozen over.  (Yes, I know I’m deflecting with bad humor…)

Anyhoo, I feel sure that the message of that blog will unfold in different ways to different people. It hit me in a way I hadn’t thought of before, (felt a little like a Mac truck coming out of left field)here’s the thing…

When it comes to validating and experiencing deep hurt with someone close to me, I have trouble.  Here’s what I mean…After my little brother died  my mom would call me in the morning sometimes crying.  She would pour out her heart telling me how much she missed him, and how bad she was hurting.  I would grasp for something positive to say.  “Mom, you know he’s healed now.  He’s happy and he’s right where he wants to be.”

After awhile, when she’d call, I’d remind her that she had other kids and that my sister and I needed her.  Her pain was so dark.  So raw.  It took my breath and I couldn’t find the courage to look it in the eye.

Then in the year before Momma passed away, several times she tried to broach the subject of her mortality.  “I’m not going to live forever you know.” she would tell me quietly.  I brushed her off with something like, “Mom, you’re going to outlive me and you know it!” (She was healthy after all.)  I just couldn’t go there with her. But she needed me to go there. How I regret not going there.

When her emergency bypass surgery went bad and she was intubated, once when I went CCU to see her she was awake.  She lifted her manicured finger to get my attention.  Tears slipped down the sides of her temples and onto the pillow.  She ever-so-gently shook her head “no”.  I knew  she’d always said she could never endure being intubated.  I saw in her eyes what she really wanted to tell me. I knew she wanted to let go, she was ready.  But,  I leaned in close to her ear and whispered: “Today is going to be a better day Momma. The Dr. is going to try to get the tube out.  You’re making a turn for the better.”   Again, I just couldn’t go there.  But, that was the last time I ever saw her awake.  How I wish the words I’d whispered to her had come from my heart.  Even if my heart was breaking into a million pieces.

I have a history of doing this.  (But I’ve never faced it until today when I read that darn blog. ) Most recently, I did it  last night. My husband was feeling really low.  He lost his sister 2 weeks ago and he’s grieving.  I felt his hurt twist my heart and then I did what must be habit… I rummaged frantically through the “positive” responses in my head.  And I threw out as many as I could.  He got quiet.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  I see now, it was not for him, it was for me.  How selfish I’ve been.  How dishonest.  How cowardly. 

But I didn’t realize it before.  I realize it now and I’m sorry.

I think I’m terrified to feel pain too deeply. But that’s one of the ways we love deeply isn’t it?  Sometimes love really does hurt.



  1. Wow, ouch, painful. I feel your pain and I can now hear myself doing the same thing. I did it to my sister today. She tells me she is in touch with her sadness. Ouch, I quoted scripture to her. I tell her most of the time I do not have time to be in touch with mine, and in some ways it is a relief to me to be able to brush it aside.
    How deep do I really want to go. Denial in somethings is bliss for the moment but I think I have a pile of it and the burden gets heavy.
    God please make me able to listen, weep with those who weep, validate them, and some how leave them encouraged and feeling loved. Maybe they cannot feel encouraged just listened to. Maybe that is enough. I hear myself telling people so many different things.
    I think I judged my mother. I used to call her crying and every time she would tell me to trust the Lord I would say, why can’t you just listen and tell me you love me. I think I judged her and I am now worse than her.
    BOY have you given me a lot to think about and ask forgiveness for.
    Love you, thank you for your vulnerability.

  2. Robin I really, really get what you’re saying. I can say your words for you Mom came from your heart, they just came from a different part. They came from the part that wants to move forward, the part that wants to think the best…the part that wants to go on loving and living the same way. But I know exactly what you mean.

    I stood watch over my grandmother as she was passing away, I took care of whatever needs I could. I told her I loved her, but I never said goodbye. I went to see my Aunt Sandra as she was passing away. I said “I love you” but I didn’t tell her all she meant to me. I think she knew. I watched her husband and sat with him a bit, tried to encourage her daughters…that was how I loved in that situation.

    You loved your mother by holding on to hope. That was your way, that was how you loved. I wouldn’t be surprised if she not only understood that, but found it endearing. You were being you, even if that means you were ceaselessly optimistic.

    And it is good that you see that your husband needs to grieve. That optimism may not be what he needs. I remember throwing a couple of hissy fits in the first couple of weeks after my brother went to be with Jesus. Not my usual self. I think I scared my husband. But part of my life was ripped away. He held me and let me cry, and he didn’t get offended when I needed to cry alone. That was what I needed at the time.

    I’m sorry this is so long. I need to go watch the video, and maybe I will understand more what you are saying. And I’m doing that thing you’re talking about, aren’t I? Trying to make you feel better instead of being a good listener.

  3. Beautiful blog, Robin. I added the withoutwax blog to my favs. Cried, of course, during the video. The simple cardboard message got to me.

    You are an amazing listener–one of the best–and you can write. Your heart is so tender.

    Love you bunches,

  4. Anita said it so well… we all love and grieve differently.

    I think we all have this urge to “fix it” instead of “feel it.” My best friend lost her daughter to cancer when she was 11, and three years later lost her dad to cancer. Going through that with her taught me these things:

    1. There are no rules when grieving and hurting. There are no time limits and no right or wrong answers. It just is.

    2. She never once wanted me to have answers or fix it or make her think positive. When we watched her daughter die she looked at me and said, “It doesn’t make any sense.” I didn’t tell her she was with God and she was ok, because my friend wanted her in her own arms, not God’s. So I just held her and cried with her and told her I loved her. That’s all she wanted.

    I think “going there” to that deep place takes nothing more from you than being present in the moment. You don’t have to talk or give beautiful words. Give touch and eye contact and attention. It will be the best gift they ever receive. I think you have more to give than you even realize.

    Thanks for this amazing post.

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