The most important things are the hardest to say, because words diminish them.
“Hello Mary-Mary. How are you doing?”
“Fine,” I said very slowly, and somewhat quizzically. “Who is this?” Only my brother John called me Mary-Mary, and the voice wasn’t his.
The voice didn’t sound like Bill or Lyle, either, but kind of a mix of Bill’s and John’s.
“Your brother, Dave.”
No wonder I didn’t recognize the voice. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to Dave on the phone. Although he isn’t technically my brother, he feels like a brother to me. Dave is married to my sister Joan.
He’d called to ask if my daughter had enough suitcases for an upcoming trip, but I couldn’t help but feel there was more to the call than that. Dave recently left the hospital after a serious problem with his lung. A spill from a motorcycle resulted in a cracked rib, which ended up a punctured lung with blood clots that had to be surgically removed. The scary truth was that Dave could have died, maybe even came close to dying, and that stark reality left all of us who cared about him a little shaken. I think it left him pretty shook-up too.
I’ve mentioned this in a previous blog posting, but I have always had a problem with expressing affection to anyone outside of my husband and children. I’ve gotten a little better about it since my husband’s cancer and my mother’s death, but it doesn’t come natural to me to evoke words of love and affection.
Dave hesitated slightly at the end of our phone call. Was there something else he wanted to say? There was plenty I’d left unsaid. I wanted Dave to know how worried we’d been, how we’d prayed for him every day while he was in the hospital, and how much we cared about him.
I wanted to say “I love you.”
Instead, I ended the phone call with a lame, “Take Care.”
And could have kicked myself. I almost picked up the phone and called him back. Instead, I’ll take the easy route (for me), and write it, with a public declaration.
I love you Dave.