I have permission to tell this story.

I am sharing this with you because it was a human moment that shocked the core of me with quiet tremors.

My wife is an Iowa farmgirl.

She is tough and realistic.

She doesn’t talk about private things much with anyone and that includes me. She is no-nonsense and adorable and lovable.

She is not emotional. She is strong and healthy.

She doesn’t ask for much. She gives everything.

Last night we were in bed watching one of our favorite shows, Family Plots, on A&E.

I was groggy from a day of writing and my eyes were shuttering when she turned to me and asked me if I was awake.

I think I said yes and she asked me in a vulnerable and soft way that I have rarely seen in 17 years of marriage if I would bury her under a tree when she died.

I promised her I would.

Then she asked me if I would bury her under a tree with shade when she died.

I promised her I would.

Then she asked me if I would bury her under a tree with shade that had leaves that change colors in the Fall from red to purple to orange.

I promised her I would.

I closed my eyes to hide the impulse to cry.

This morning I woke up with tears still in my eyes.

20 Comments

  1. Thanks, Carla!
    The Playwright in me hopes that conversation isn’t the mark of something awful and foreboding coming down the pike.
    I believe things happen for a reason and everything is connected so now I have to just sit and wait this out a bit to find where those promises are supposed to take me. 🙂

  2. Hi Anna!
    Thank you for your tender comment.
    I admit that sometimes I do joke around when I am supposed to be serious with my wife.
    Last night, though, was different and astonishing and I was immediately aware of that while it was happening.
    I thank you for accepting the offering of that moment.
    I thought about last night all day today and will likely continue to do so for the rest of my life.
    Moments like that are what make us human if, as you suggest, we can be aware enough to accept the gift and not judge its contents.

  3. Sometimes it’s not only the moments that might make us sad, but also the moments that fill us with happiness that can give us an almost surreal feeling.
    Sometimes I can be sitting with family or friends – talking, laughing, reminiscing – and I’ll suddenly realize what a simple yet special moment is taking place. It’s as if I’m separating myself for a split second and seeing the scene with different eyes.
    It’s time like these when I’m glad to be a writer. 🙂

  4. The humanity and reality of your post touched me deeply. In one week, my wife and I celebrate our 16th anniversary, so I relate to your post in a very personal way.
    Sometimes very late at night, or very early in the morning, we can experience creative, vulnerable, powerful and often emotional insights. Some choose to curse these as the demons of anxiety or insomnia, but to me, these are times that I feel most human.