tell me the lies I love
She falls off the swings when she’s eight and while she cries her father holds her and says “hey, you’re good, you’re fine. Everything will be okay. Tell me what hurts, baby. It’s okay. You’ll be alright.” But they go to the hospital and her arm is in a cast for weeks and she thinks that that’s not quite okay.
Her first boyfriend dumps her in front of her friends when she’s fifteen. Her mother rubs her back when she tells her about it and murmurs “it’s all okay, girlie, you’ll find someone. It just takes time, you’ll see. It’ll be okay,” But her friends start to drift and his friends are rude to her, and she doesn’t feel like she’s okay.
She refuses to call home for the third time this week because it isn’t an emergency, But she has this feeling that something is going to go wrong. Her best friend makes her tea while she frets and points out “there’s nothing to worry about. I’m sure everyone at home is fine, just relax. It’s okay, nothing is wrong,” But then her mother calls her and her grandmother is dying and she’s pretty sure this is not okay.
The economy isn’t that great right now and she knows, just knows that cutbacks are coming and she hasn’t been working long enough to keep her job. Her husband holds her while she worries and reassures her “hey it’s okay. You’re great there, love, I’m sure you won’t lose your job. But even if you do, we’ll figure something out. It’s all okay, just watch.” But she does lose her job, and he barely hangs on to his, and they have to put off buying a house, and how will they support the baby and how is this okay?
She cries a bit as she helps her son pack for university. Will he eat? Will he study? Will he find friends? Her boy grins at her and says “hey Mom, I’ll be fine, you know that, right? I promise to eat my vegetables and study and whatever. And I’ll see you at Christmas, okay?” But the house seems so empty without him and he doesn’t call as often as she would like, and she is almost but not quite okay.
Her husband starts having memory trouble, so she takes him in for a medical evaluation. She sits with her head in her hands as she listens to the diagnosis and thinks of what he would say if he knew how she was feeling right now. “Whatever it is, it could be worse. We’ll get through it together, promise. It’ll all be okay.” But the Alzheimer’s progresses and he doesn’t remember her anymore and he can hardly do anything for himself and she knows they aren’t okay.
She’s lying in a hospital bed and it’s hard to breathe, hard to think. Her son and his family are in the room with her, her little boy all grown now and holding her hand gently. It’s her daughter-in-law who whispers to her, choking back tears “We’ll be okay, Mom. We’ll see you soon. We love you. It’s okay.” But as she uses her breath to whisper her love back, she wishes she had enough to tell them that it’s okay not to be okay.