To Hold

When love is not madness, it is not love.

~ Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Home at 2:30 this morning. Finished reading a chapter and turned off the light at 3:00. And instead of grabbing my favorite huggy pillow off the floor and drifting away, I rolled over and embraced my wife.

I caressed her cheek. Brushed the hair from her forehead. Ran my hand down the length of her side and let it rest on the curve of her hip. Felt each shiver. And I thought about things we’ve been through during these 20+ years together . . .

Our first night as husband and wife, when we fell asleep on the floor of her grandmother’s cabin. In the early part of the evening of a very long day. How we held each other so tightly under a handmade quilt, having vowed before a great cloud of witnesses to never let go. Following the birth of each of our four children. Even when she would have rather been sleeping, or throwing up, we held each other. At funerals, weddings, and crappy movies. Effortless embraces that carried the weight when words were used up or out of place. Thousands of times between the first and this morning. Each one – whether visceral, frisky, or subliminal – a touch, a point of contact between physical presence and myriad circumstances.

Today, I have to tell her that I’m being laid off. Again. I imagine we’ll hold each other. And though mixed with tears and worries, it will feel like love. Like an unspoken commitment to make things work. She will bear the emotional brunt upon a backbone made of stuff stronger than steel. And in her embrace I’ll find the courage to get out of bed in the morning. If I can convince her to let me go . . .

[photo credit]


36 thoughts on “To Hold

  1. I’m sorry, Brian…you’ve been through a lot on the employment front. I hope you find something soon. This was a beautiful post, I love your words.

  2. Oh, Brian. I’m so sorry. And this is such a beautiful, beautiful post.

  3. Brian, what beautiful writing about such unfortunate news. My sympathies.

  4. What beautiful imagery to relate something so sad.

    I’m SO sorry to hear this. Had hoped that your return to work was much more permanent. But, the upside is that you could still be laid off … and not have that incredible human being beside you — and all the little creations you’ve generated together — to weather it with you.

    Here’s hoping that something even better is just around the corner on the job front.

  5. I’m echoing the other comments, but they’re brilliant, so it just means I’m smart too, right?

    So sorry you’re being laid off again. But glad to know that you guys are in it for the long haul.

  6. So sorry to hear that, hope it isn’t for long. Glad you can find beauty in difficult and unpleasant circumstances, you are very good at that, thanks for sharing your sentiments.

  7. Dude, that sucks. But thank the deity of your choice that you have such an amazing woman to hold onto.

  8. The whole time I’m reading I’m thinking what a sweet, loving post!! Then I get to the end…. so very sorry! I hope you find something quickly.

  9. (sigh) i’m employed. but i sleep with a dog.

    here’s to continued hugs, and better employment days ahead.

  10. That sucks man. I’m sorry.

  11. You will hold eachother. and you will be employed, soon. love to you.

  12. Keep on, man. Keep on.

  13. O, rats! I know you and (probably her) were not feeling all permy comfy when you went back to work this last time…but, still. Enough, already, economy! Pain and your writing seem to like one another. Are you Irish?

    1. This is arynsmom on tysdaddy’s computer – No he isn’t Irish – but I am! At least in part thanks to my sweet grandma!

      1. This explains your capacity for pain! It’s as close to a religion as my Irish DNA gets. We should all have someone like you in the bad times, arynsmom!

  14. This was a lovely and moving post. I’m so sorry about your bad news. Wishing you all the best.

  15. I’m so sorry to hear that. I love the way you describe your marriage tho- you are a truly gifted writer and I look forward to your posts because they make me think and feel in a way that other blogs don’t. Thank you and good luck!

  16. Damn it. This was like a punch to the gut. Very sorry.

  17. Oh I am so sorry. This has been a rough year. I am glad you have each other, but, still…

    Beautifully written, but I still sorry.

  18. Didn’t see that coming as I read. I was thinking… birthday? anniversary? I’m sorry, but what beautiful words.

  19. Shalom. Don’t wrestle, nestle.

  20. Dude. That bites. Good luck, man. I know you’ll find something soon.

  21. That really sucks man, best of luck to you in the hunt. Though I must say, this was a beautiful post.

  22. I’m like you. When something major is going on, I want to be held, or if it is another person hurting , I want to do the holding.

    Good luck on the job front!

  23. I am sorry to hear about your employment troubles. I can truly empathize. I finally found a job I really like after nearly two years of looking. I hope it takes you far less time and you settle into something you really enjoy.
    This post was amazing and heartfelt. I feel like this about my husband. We’ve also been together 20-plus years. Coming together in times of trouble has only strenghthened our relationship. You and your wife sound like you have a wonderful relationship. I wish you all the best.

  24. Oh, friend, I’m sorry to hear that. Read that. Whatever. Either way…get with the holding. I hope it makes things better.

  25. oh man…i am so sorry to hear about shadow. my heart goes out to y’all…and so sorry to hear about your job too. praying for your fam!

  26. Being wholeheartedly in the moment is where it’s at.

    Sure, you’re about to be laid off, but you’re smart enough to have the presence of mind to realise how fortunate you really are and that is true wealth.

  27. Again? Damn it. Wishing you and your family all the best. And stability. Stability.

  28. Shit man. I will be sending good thoughts your way.

  29. michael.offworld August 21, 2009 — 11:20 am

    You have a great way of finding something positive in the darkness without discounting the darkness.

  30. And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me,
    speaking words of wisdom, “Let It Be”

    Sorry I’m so late with this- we were away. I’m sorry about the news- you guys have had a rough go lately.

    It’s time to get a book agent, Brian.

    I’m glad you guys have each other- really glad.

    Great post on Scarlett, too, btw.

  31. I’m sorry to hear about your employment issues. We’ve been through a lot of the same thing over the last few years, and I know all too well how difficult it is.

    Sweet words about your wife…..more husbands should been that eloquent.

  32. Sorry about the job situ but it’s good to be a team. Being in a relationship where two people truly support each other has to be the best gift one can get, it makes every other hurdle and hardship doable and every victory sweeter. Good luck and hope the sun comes back out your way.

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