It’s easier to talk about it in metaphor and allegory. . .”Well, it’s like the musicians on the Titanic.” It’s easier to avoid spelling it out.
I was in a therapy session, couples therapy. Normally, I let my lovely wife or the therapist lead the discussion. It’s easier when I can nod and be supportive, but avoid any actual dialogue. My lovely wife was having none of it today. She verbally trapped me with one of those misleading questions. I think she said, “How do you think things are going?”
She set me up!
We are nearly empty nesters. One child left at home and she’s an adult and a service missionary. We had plans. I think most young couples do. We had a large family. The information in my signature block is accurate. I have thirteen children. I love all of them. I’m proud of the adults they have become. And for the most part, they are on their own. They will occasionally ask my advice. They’ll even listen. But, mostly, they are their own people now.
And I’m happy for them.
And we planned for this time. Well, actually, we didn’t plan anything specific, but we looked forward to the time it would be just the two of us. And we’d do. . .I don’t know. . .stuff. Stuff that people without kids at home do. Maybe we’d go see a movie on a Tuesday. Stay out late.
My dear mother started going cruises when she go to this point.
Maybe we wouldn’t go far. Maybe we’d just stick around home and collect Hummels, or commemorative plates. The point is that this period was blocked out for a little “we” time. (Okay, let’s call that “us” time since the other sounds. . .well, just read it out loud.)
I don’t even know how I ended up talking about this to the therapist. Like I said, my lovely wife tricked me with that “how are things going?” question.
I’ve gotten older. I’ve slowed down. I no longer play basketball. I’m a lot slower hiking up the mountains. And my knee occasionally makes other plans when I’m not expecting it. But, overall I’m in pretty good health. I expect to love to see the country’s 250th birthday in a few years and then be around for the 300th late this century.
I always assumed that my lovely wife and I would figure out what we were going to do together. Like I said, our plan was to figure out the plan.
My lovely wife is. . .I want to say “fine.” But, you wouldn’t understand. She has a chronic disease. But, she’s fine. Long term it could be deadly. But, she’s fine. Short term, it sometimes causes her issues. But, she’s fine.
I’m not just saying that. I’m not in denial. No more than the musicians on the Titanic were in denial about the boat sinking. But, you just do what you do. The Sword of Damocles was a sword suspended by a single horse hair. It was to remind Damocles that with great blessings comes the threat of destruction.
So, yes, she’s fine. This is life. You can spend your time worrying about how things didn’t turn out the way you expected. Or, you can. . .just live. There’s a phrase to represent uselessness: rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. It means you are doing something that will ultimately be of no use. I wonder why they didn’t talk about the musicians.
When the Titanic was sinking, the orchestra played. Why? It was useless right? Yes, it was not going to prevent the ship from sinking. But, I wonder if during those final moments, the musicians were able to put their impending death away for a few minutes. Rather than dwell on their fate, they took action. Even knowing.
And my fear? The fear that I suppress? The fear that hangs over me like Damocles’ sword?
That I’ll have to figure out that. . .stuff. . .alone. That the woman that’s shared my life for over half of that life won’t be there to do whatever it is we are going to do in this next part.
This is why I don’t often talk during those therapy sessions.
It was pretty dusty in that room as well.
What’s your fear? The one you don’t tell anyone,especially not a therapist?
Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.
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