There are times I cry without tears. It isn’t because I don’t want to cry. It is because I can’t. I find myself overly worked up, in an anxious state, unable to control my situation and excessively overwhelmed. This is what was happening last night. Could be described as panicky. I went to bed and tried to turn off a mind that doesn’t turn off. This is the worst type of crying.
Today I cried. The kind of crying that permits tears. I received a pink letter in the mail. Involved my electric bill. NOTICE. It said they were going to turn off my electricity. I called. I said I was confused. I thought I had paid. The voice on the other end of the line acted like she has heard this excuse many times. Shuffling, I looked through my files. My notes were dated. I jotted that I had paid online. The bank had deducted my money. Where was it going? Why wasn’t my bill paid?
The female voice without a name continued to tell me that I have only
made two payments since April. How is that possible? I know with loss
comes inconsistent tendencies. And there are still days I feel
scattered. But, I thought I was getting better. I remember paying
these bills. It isn’t my favorite activity. Shawn used to do it. I
miss that. But, I know I need to pay them so I do. Eventually. She
continued to inform me I am always late. My account has numerous late
Then the conversation started to detour. She mentioned, “The payment issues started when you moved in April.”
“No. I didn’t move in April…we’ve lived here since 2004.” I said defensively.
“Well, the account was changed in April. Shawn’s name was taken off.”
She said as if reminding me of when I mysteriously moved residencies.
All of a sudden a connection. She thinks Shawn is alive.
Speaking from assumption she continued, “I see what is happening. All
the bills are being paid on your husband’s account instead of yours.
You are paying his bills. If he doesn’t live there anymore you need to
change your account number online.”
No. I thought. I am not paying his bills. He doesn’t have bills! I am paying our bills.
When did our account number change? Correction. When did my account
number change? I called in April to say he was dead. I thought it was
best for the bills to come in my name. I didn’t know they changed the
account number. At the time, a different female voice offered me
condolences, said she would remove his name and quickly ended the call.
I felt the tears, hot behind my eyes. I had to let female voice #2
know my story before I completely broke. She thinks we are separated.
Well, I guess we are. I needed to explain. But how does one continue
to explain a story that doesn’t have explanation? People do not like
pain. It creates awkwardness. Do I just reply that where Shawn is
there is no worry about electric bills?
The tears were strong and rushing to the edges of my eyes yet refusing
to fall. They remained on the brink as if to defiantly say, “we will
not cry over an electricity bill.”
Why not? Why not cry over silly mishaps and sad memories?
I quietly explained Shawn’s destiny in one short sentence. The words
flowed off my tongue in a memorized motion. Line of duty death. Two
years ago. He was killed. This is how the misunderstanding occurred.
Please don’t shut off my electricity. Please transfer my money.
With an apologetic lift the female voice changed. Everything was put back in order. Fees reversed as a peace offering.
I hung up and gave my tears permission to stream my face. Then a new
conclusion came to me. Some tears are strong. My tears today were
strong tears. I know how to pay my electric bill. I know how to
change a light bulb. I know how to buy halogen flood lights for indoor
tracking, compact fluorescents to save energy costs and ceiling fan
bulbs which are smaller than regular lamp bulbs.
I know how to correct a misunderstanding. I know how to explain a very
sad story. I know how to keep going even when episodes in my day cause
me to halt full force. And slowly I am finally learning how to daily
cry and admit, “I am weak. God, be my strength.” It is a daily
gesture of surrender. In those tears God sends his very own strength
to me. And he knows when I am done crying I will continue on stronger.