December 8, 2023

An excerpt from My Grief is Not Like Yours.

In March of 2018, I took Momma to a girls’s convention in Dallas. We didn’t get nice seats, however we have been within the center part, midway again in a gaggle with about 2,300 different individuals. I hoped there could be a monitor for captioning or perhaps a individual performing signal language, however there wasn’t.

I checked out Momma and moved my lips to silently say I used to be sorry that she couldn’t hear something the audio system have been saying. She mentioned, “It’s OK. I’m simply completely satisfied to be within the room.”

Once I was about 9, and the annual piano recital was approaching. Momma was within the kitchen washing dishes and getting ready for the subsequent meal. Once I wanted her to hearken to one among my piano items, realizing she couldn’t hear my fingers hit the keys didn’t matter. I simply wanted her there.

Wanting again, I can’t think about how drained she was, having labored with Daddy all day on the farm. I had been practising my piano music that I used to be going to carry out, and I requested her a number of occasions to return and hear, come be within the room. It is likely one of the solely occasions that I noticed and felt her frustration. It was a sense I might by no means be capable of perceive as a result of I took it with no consideration that I may hear my fingers hit the keys and he or she couldn’t.

I persevered in my infantile ignorance. She dried her palms on the worn kitchen towel and got here within the room. It was there that she would sit and fake she may hear me play. She by no means mentioned something about my errors, however she did supply a number of the greatest recommendation I’ve ever acquired. “Sit up and be robust. Don’t present me once you mess up. Simply maintain going.” This echo was acquainted. My piano trainer, Mrs. Bessire, instructed me one thing very related. “Make your errors loud,” she’d say as she caught my posture falling, my shoulders shrugging, or my lips pursing from just a few keys that have been mistakenly hit by my nervous fingers.

Having spent a lifetime in a silent world, Momma had change into an skilled at being. Being current. Being there. Being within the room. Once I was sick and stayed residence from faculty, she was there, sitting on the tip of my twin mattress, working her palms up and down my leg or mendacity beside me. Her presence was felt.

Throughout the evening, if I used to be sick or feeling dangerous, I may by no means name out for Momma. She took her listening to help out at evening, so even the smallest quantity of sound she had out there to her disappeared. If I felt dangerous, I needed to name for Daddy. He would stand up and assist us, whether or not that was bringing me a glass of water, cleansing me up if I had thrown up, or simply telling a narrative to assuage me again to sleep. Later, Momma could be upset that Daddy didn’t wake her up. She instructed me as soon as that she felt she missed out on a part of motherhood by not listening to us every time we’d have wanted her. I assured her that she solely missed out on these gross components, ha ha ha. She was there for all the things stunning, regardless of how disguised it might have been.

Having considered this so many occasions since, the ability of that assertion has by no means left me: “within the room.” Most of us can hear, and sometimes we’re not even within the room. We skip, dodge, and even misinform keep away from being current in a second when somebody may have us essentially the most. When was the final time you sat in a room by your self with out distraction, quietly and nonetheless? Possibly you do that in prayer or meditation, or maybe you by no means cease lengthy sufficient to even attempt.

Momma was deaf; she couldn’t hear something that was mentioned, however she was current. She all the time was, it doesn’t matter what it price her. By no means doubt the significance of being current, whether or not it’s to assist somebody or simply for your self. Keep in mind, typically it’s not about something however being within the room.

The final time I used to be within the room with Momma, all I may do was take into consideration all of the occasions she had been there for me. She modeled perfection for being current, regardless of when, the place, or what the scenario could have been. All of the years of my life summarized in that brief time I used to be together with her for the final time. What was so acquainted throughout this time was her silence. There was a peacefulness within the air. She was there. I used to be there. My Daddy and sister have been there. We sat together with her for hours. She was as soon as once more the energy in my being, the push that I wanted, the love that gave me wings. She was within the room.

Whether or not he realized it or not, Daddy was additionally an skilled at being within the room. Daddy’s room was bigger. His presence was overpowering at occasions. He commanded a room, whereas Momma’s presence was a delicate sway in a smooth part of house. Daddy was a robust pressure felt by everybody instantly. Within the pulpit he was revered and listened to. He was the chief. Momma was his cheerleader. The final time I used to be within the room with Daddy, he was nonetheless the wind beneath my wings. He was at peace, silent, and with Momma.


As I sit right here writing to you, I understand that I’ve realized easy methods to dwell from two of one of the best examples life needed to supply—Sue and Joe Bob, my momma and daddy. They have been a very powerful and essential components for a narrative to have which means and be the testimony wanted to assist others once they really feel they’re in sinking sand.  These two extraordinary human beings gave me a basis grounded in Jesus, sprinkled with peanuts, and topped with love.

Theo Boyd is a author and writer of My Grief is Not Like Yours.