After a rugged yesterday, I got up this morning at 4:30 AM to catch a flight. Alison and I had another tiff, followed by the disconnect that polarized us through the night, backs turned to each other, thick sleepless air full of troubled dreams.

I shuffled through the dark before dawn, a futile attempt to collect my stuff in silence, avoid yet another confrontation.

As if that ever works.
Her eyes looked up from the bed, watched as I bumbled about, getting dressed, closing my suitcase.

What to say? I sat next to her and drank in the sight of my children who had climbed into the bed, eyes closed, chests gently raising and falling. I realized, though couldn’t express, how much they all meant to me, how much I hated to fight, the disgusting, slimy feeling that covered me in the aftermath.

So I said nothing, tried to anchor the picture in my mind, a reminder that despite the pain, I loved deeply and wished only that I knew better how to express my stuffed emotions.

When the words did come, they came out wrong. The fires flared, the comments followed, the taxi waited patiently as we stood in the doorway, nose to nose, reaching yet falling apart.

I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever find the “right” way, the “right” words.

I walked out heavy-hearted, a soft kiss on the cheeks of my children, without the one I really wanted.

At the airport, I watched a young couple struggle with their stroller. A girl of three climbed out and her very pregnant mother fussed with the clasps to fold it up. Drawn to them, I smiled. The girl waved at me, buried her head in the fold of Mom’s skirt.

Boarding time. The mother picked the girl up and she began to cry. Surprised, I turned to see her father standing behind me. He, too, choked down tears, his breath heaving as he swallowed an even worse outburst.

He had gotten a pass to the gate, as far as he would go.

I thought about my own family, the one I had departed out of harmony, stuck in my own selfish righteousness, the egotistical monster that had to win—even though winning meant losing.

How many times would the little boy inside play small?

At my destination, I stopped by a buddy’s office to grab a quick bite. He shared a story of a close friend, a woman of 42, who four days earlier had suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack while camping with one of her two young daughters. He told of a funeral of 400, standing room only, 6 eulogies—each one that claimed this woman as “their closest confidante.”

My buddy spoke of the grief, denial and total lack of understanding that plagued the family. Then he shared a profound insight from the woman’s husband.

“He was so happy that they had had a great morning,” my buddy recalled. “He couldn’t imagine living with himself, the torture, the haunting, if they had been on bad terms when she moved on.”

I hammer this keyboard, still empty inside. She hasn’t called and I haven’t either.
Maybe it’s about time.

That’s A View From The Ridge…

Author's Bio: 

Accomplished author and speaker Ridgely Goldsborough writes a Daily Column four days a week which can be accessed at Ridgely has written numerous books and educational programs and resides with his family in Florida.