The WormPosted: August 25, 2015
You can bury a stick. You can bury a stone. You can bury and old tin can. But you cannot bury a worm.
I have two grown sons. Amazing young men. My youngest worked for me in my business for most of the last two years. He recently left to take a position with the State Department. They both live in Kentucky, I moved to Tennessee after my divorce.
In the whole time they were growing up and even during college and post college, we have rarely had a problem. In the two years he worked for me there were two times we had a disagreement. Once was my fault, once his and we both quickly figured things out – within the day if not the hour. We’ve had a solid relationship.
Several weeks ago I was talking to him late on a Friday night. He asked why I didn’t live near he and his brother in Kentucky, why I would choose to live in Knoxville. I explained his mother and I had planned to live in Knoxville for years and just hadn’t made the jump. I explained there were no state taxes in Tennessee. I explained…
He exploded. In a way he had only exploded on me once before, and that was when he was 16 or so.
I tried to remain calm. Reassure him. He screamed at me and hung up with “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU! I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU!”
It was out of character for him and for our relationship.
I didn’t know what I had done or said to set him off so completely. I eventually went to bed, thinking I would give him time to cool off. I got counsel from some friends and family the next morning. The advice was to reach out to him by email to avoid a further episode.
I sent an email, trying to affirm my love for him, and waited. No response. For days. 7 days.
Next I tried a call. No answer. Left a voicemail. No response.
During these first couple weeks I was distressed, but everyone who knew us both who I confided in told me they were sure it would work out. Sure he would respond. Reassured me our relationship had been so strong for so long, everything would be fine.
Here it is, weeks later with me reaching out to him, and still no response.
I had been wanting to trust what people were telling me. Trust it wouldn’t turn into something permanent. Or even long-term.
I tried to tell myself I could only be responsible for reaching out, that I couldn’t be responsible for his response. All of which was true, but there was another thing I was doing…
I was burying a worm.
It came out tonight when I was talking to Waco. I was feeling suddenly insecure as we talked. I pushed, “Why are you not being responsive in the way I want you to be?”
She was patient and kind and helpful, but also firm. She wouldn’t let my sudden bought of insecurity ruin what has been wonderful for both of us for months now. She talked me through it and helped me see it wasn’t about her, it was about something in me. She wouldn’t allow me to make it about her.
As the worm emerged, it felt like puss oozing from my chest. And as it slimed its way down my chest, I realized for the first time what the worm had been: The realization I could lose him. The pain of the thought had been something I had been unwilling to face.
No matter what I do, he may choose to never have anything to do with me.
I hope that’s not the case. That’s up to him. In the mean time I will reach out to him, try to express my love, try to hear him.
And I will allow myself to feel.