"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Friday, October 29, 2010

Well-Meaning Intent

by CJ Parrish (Kempf) Heck

An English teacher once told me that the biggest secret to writing is to have something to say and then to say it as clearly and as succinctly as you can. That was the secret. I've always tried to write that way and, for the most part, I feel it's worked. Let's see if I can do that here today ... without being rude or hurtful.

I've gotten some rather odd emails since I wrote the blog, "Bride to Widow", a few weeks ago about my own experience when I was notified about Doug's death in Vietnam.  Don't get me wrong, most of the emails were very nice -- but some people, out of I'm sure well-meaning intent, said the dumbest things.  One said how glad I must have been not to have had any children to raise on my own.   Another, again out of misguided and well-meaning intent, asked me if I had known what was going to happen, or if I could go back in time and do things over, would I have still chosen to get married before he was sent to Vietnam.  I don't know about you, but I was raised to keep such comments to myself.

I haven't answered the emails yet -- the main reason is, I'm hard-pressed to know what to say to them.  It seems they've already made up their minds how they would feel in the same situations.  But can anyone ever really know how they would feel or react, unless they were there?  There's a saying that to really know someone, you have to walk a mile in their shoes ... anyway, I've thought a lot about those two comments since I received them.  I've come to the conclusion that I'm not going to answer the emails.  If they happen to read this blog today, they'll be aware of my answers.

How can you explain to someone that love is the most important, magical emotion a human being can ever experience?  How can you put a value on love when it's priceless, or quantify it with, "Gee, I'll marry you if you'll live, and not marry you if you don't" --  of course I would marry him all over again.  I wouldn't change a thing, if I could go back in time.  At least we had the time together that we did have ...

As to the other question -- let it be known that I would have given my right arm and left leg to have had a child.  I would have considered it an honor, a gift, to have had a part of Doug, a child to raise with love.  And you can be sure, that child would know what a wonderful man their father was -- and how he died for all of us, even those who ask dumb questions.

God Bless America.

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

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