My wife Macy is not a very emotional person. This is a great benefit to me, because I’m not too emotional myself, and I sometimes have a hard time dealing with people who are on the more emotional side. I hear stories about other women who burst into tears as a default mode of self-expression, and I am grateful that I got a more placid type. (And by the way, there are a lot of emotional women I respect and love, so no criticism directed toward you. I’m just saying let’s not get married.) On normal days, it takes a lot to make Macy cry.
Except for one certain kind of situation. Like the other night when we were getting ready for bed. I said something that reminded Macy of a short story I wrote several years ago, about a man mourning the loss of a deceased daughter. She started talking about that story, and about how sad it was. “Wow, what a horrible thing to have happen.” “What would that Dad have been going through?” “I just can’t imagine having that happen.” And finally, blubbering through tears now, with deep accusation in her voice: “Whyyyy would you write that?”
In other words, although Macy isn’t very emotional, she is quite hypothetically emotional. She never cries about a domestic spat or a horrible day, but can bring herself instantly to tears while discussing a deeply-loved fictional character or some other non-real situation. When Macy was a teenager she got into a soap opera about a lady named Laura, whose story ended in an untimely death or some other soap opera tragedy. One night early in our marriage I asked her what that plot line was all about. I ended up an hour later a little wiser in soap opera lore, with a sobbing wife laying in my arms singing, through ragged breaths, that Christopher Cross song, “When you think of Laura, laugh, don’t cry . . .” Call that an aberration, but a few weeks later when I told that story to a few friends at dinner, Macy tried to explain herself, and just ended up bursting into tears again. Thinking of Laura.
Please, Luke, don’t take these precious moments with Laura for granted
Given that we don’t deal with a lot of drama in our real life, I am more than happy to take Macy’s hand and walk her through these hypothetically hard times. Still, it’s never easy to figure out what to say to a person grieving over something that’s kind of, you know, pretend. When I came home a few months ago and found her sniffling because she’d been thinking about my funeral, it was a little hard to know how to console her. You can say “I’m not really dead,” as much as you want, but that doesn’t take away the heartache of all those beautiful, imaginary eulogies. Really the only other thing I could think of to say to her was, “Macy, don’t be sad because of my death. I’m in heaven. With Laura.”