The Paused Word, The Longer Hug, and The Unspoken Nods

There is often such expression and information when things are not verbally said. It is hard sometimes to make sense of it all, and often there may be a missed opportunity to say something of significance, but the unsaid and the gestures can go a long ways to forge an understanding between two people.

walking on beach

My major experience with this has been found with interacting with my husband. With chronic Lyme disease that has hit his neurological and muscular systems in a fashion similar to ALS, it is currently difficult for him to speak. Even pointing to letters on a board in order to spell out a word can be problematic at times for Jim and so I have learned to guess, predict, and try to talk about things in a way that is more “story-like” in nature rather than discussion based.

The other day I had an experience which I have certainly had before, but it was somehow more powerful this time around, different in some way. One of Jim’s cousins and a dear friend came for a short visit. It meant a lot to us because he and his wife live overseas now and when they do come to the States, they have lots of people to see. When the cousin left, we gave a glance to each other that brought tears to my eyes. The nod that followed from the cousin told me “I know. This sucks. Hang in there.” The bang of that moment was intense. Jolting myself out of it, I hugged his wife, and when I turned to the cousin, I started to say something and stopped. I don’t even remember what it was. I paused and he picked up, sensing it was necessary. Then he paused and we had the nod exchange again. I was about to bounce away, drawing support from my two young children who were playing in the yard, when the cousin leaned in to give me a hug. I thanked him for visiting and hugged him back, ready to say, “Be safe guys. I hope you have a good rest of your visit.” But I found myself unable to pull back. The cousin squeezed me again, a little harder and just for a few seconds longer, and by doing so gave me such a strong sense of relief that someone got it, things were alright. Not good, but alright. The hug was a reminder to hold on, stay strong, and keep up the fight. People were around my family showing support and love and would be there to give a hug or a nod when the time was again necessary.



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