The Heavy Sigh

Activity has been my friend. Constantly moving. Doing things. Being with people. Part distraction. Part I think is maintaining enough momentum to avoid being pulled down into some unseen vortex. I don’t know if I am moving forward, moving on… or just moving. But working, walking, traveling, writing, painting, reading, praying… has suddenly become essential to my being. And these things I do, I do with intention and with conscious effort.

And so, I guess is that moment when I stop it happens. When I sit down in a car… or at a table… or on a bench there it is. When I pause during a walk– When I take a moment to think, to gather my thoughts it is there. Sometimes in respsonse to a memory… to a place, to a song, to a smell… the big heavy sigh. Unintentional. Unconscious. 

So it was traveling to Edmonton. Laughing with a pair of younger companions in various Edmonton pubs… the gastro pub, the Irish pub, the English pub. While they enjoyed beer, I enjoyed hearing them interact with each other and laugh, and with the servers… charming and enchanting and living. Lightly dancing in conversation over topic of food or place or event and making some real connection. And I would join in sparingly, careful not to bring in something heavier… no cynicism… no competition… nothing dark. 

And I guess I do it frequently. Stop. Stare off. Breathe in and then a slow audible exhale. 

I’m thinking. I’m remembering. Maybe I’m fighting back tears. Maybe I’m just missing my son. but I’m not here anymore. 

And like all good people, that moment would stop conversations and they would look at me for a second… perhaps try to catch some eye contact and a smile… and then continue on with whatever discussion my little huff interrupted. On rare occasion they would ask what was wrong or ask if I was okay… and I would give them something I thought they would want to hear. “I’m fine.” “I’m tired.” “I was just thinking.”

So yesterday, (after being home all weekend)- at dinner in Redlands, and upon the occasion of one of these heavy sighs, my son, Justin and I talked about it. My wife says she hears me do it all the time. But Justin hit upon a gem of an answer… rather than say, “I’m fine.” I should look the person in the eye and say, “I’m very disappointed in you.”

We laughed. It was a good laugh.

Heavy sigh. 

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