Men cry too

Wow, my husband. He really surprised me this morning. He just passed his 56th birthday; we’re well into middle age. I told him I said something to Taylor this morning about the cold and it made me think of the song, “Cold As Ice” by Foreigner. She didn’t know anything about it, I mean it was eons ago when it came out, 1977! So, I played it for her on the way to school. She liked it and wanted to hear another one. I play Christian music all the time and she wants to mix it up. I told her, “Okay, play the next one,” which was “I Want To Know What Love Is.” I told her, they have a lot of LUUVVV ballads… She was digging it but, woops, sorry, time to get out and go to school.

When I got home I told Tim about it and he immediately pulls out his phone and begins to play a string of his favorite songs. I’ve heard them all a million times but he wants me to listen. I’m fixing breakfast so I can’t leave the room, but actually, I love them too.

Tim and I don’t do grief the same way most of the time and we disagree on certain topics, but, we know it now. I tell him he’s not going to change my mind about the circumstances surrounding Toby’s death and he is firm in his beliefs too.

One way we’re the same is, we both use music as a way to sooth our souls but, I mostly listen to Christian and he mostly listens to rock. He hasn’t changed much. Not saying that’s bad or good. He has changed in a lot of other ways. He has helped me a lot through our tragedy but he also helped me before. He has surprised me at how he “gets” Scripture fast, when I’ve studied it my whole life and it takes me forever to comprehend. His common sense and conservative views, and now Biblical interpretations have grounded me. At the same time, this marriage has been hard.. It’s been hard… We’re both strong willed.

This morning though, I was struck by his tenderness, the manly man he is. It’s gettin’ mushy girls, get ready; it will be okay. Tim perks up when he’s ready to play his songs. He plays a couple rock ballads we think are funny in the lyrics and they are. Then he plays a country one and I roll my eyes but he wants me to listen, “Somebody Else Will” by Justin Moore. He’s half dancing in his little world while I’m at the stove stirring eggs. Again, we’re listening to the lyrics, “‘Cause somebody else will if I don’t walk up and ask you your name right now”.. and he’s repeating them and says, “I think of you.” … I laugh and say, “You like to think back?” He says, “YES!” So, there it is; that’s all, but, for couples that will always have a “hole” in their heart, tenderness is important.

I haven’t always been so kind; in fact I’ve been hard on Tim. Toby was my man. But, I have to have compassion, Toby is both of ours.

It was early on when someone asked me how our marriage was because they said, there is an extremely high rate of divorce among couples who have lost a child. This was the first I’d ever heard this but.. also, the first time I needed to. During our conversation, it took a second to calculate but I said, “We’ve been together 35 years this summer.” He said, “We’ve been together longer in our lives than we haven’t.” We’ve made it almost 6 years now since Toby left us. I can see why it’s so hard for couples to stay together, it truly has been a violent roller coaster of emotions during the grieving process. Tim has stood by me and supported me, even when I was lashing out for whatever reason. No one else can understand what we’re going through, like each other. I give the credit we’re still together solely to Jesus.

When he’s in the mood for songs, among the list are ones that make him think of Toby. “Second Chances” – Shinedown is the first today. Next, “Give Me Something To Believe In” – Poison. Last night before bed, he says one of his favorites is actually from a Christian band, Skillet – “Save Me.”

The songs don’t usually make me cry but when I look at Tim, I’m kind of surprised he has tears. It really helps him cry. We each have our different ways of coping with the hurt. We all grieve differently and we do have to do things to help ourselves.