ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: The Writer, His Wife, and their Afterlife
Book One, Part Two, Chapter 102: The Music of Her Being
Cindi gives me a ride home. Parked in front of my building, we talk. She opens her heart.
“It’s so easy to take out our frustration on husbands or wives or children or even pets. Say you’ve almost been hit by a car on the way home after a busy day. You see a package of chips left out or dishes undone, and you say something sharp to your husband or child. But I’ve learned to say: ‘I’m sorry. I’m not angry at you. I’m upset at nearly getting hit a few minutes ago.’ I’ve learned to recognize the source of my feelings, and I try not to act them out in an unkind or inappropriate way.”
“It’s taken me sixty-two years to recognize the feeling of sadness,” I say.
“It took me eighteen years to feel the hurt of my first husband’s death,” Cindi says. “He died in a sudden and completely unexpected plane crash. I didn’t allow my deep feelings to surface until many years later, when I found myself crying at a prayer service and realized why. Great hurt requires healing, but great hurt can also transform us. . . . I know you’re in pain. Ernie’s death has put you there. My first husband’s death put me there. But I would rather feel the pain than feel nothing. I don’t want to live on the surface of life. I want to be a full participant. I want to be in it, not on it. I don’t let anger linger. I want to resolve any difference as quickly as possible. We’re not guaranteed anything, not even a tomorrow. I don’t want to leave anything important unsaid. No regrets. Ever again. I want to love as if there’s no tomorrow.”
Cindi plays for me a piece of music she listens to at the end of her day, harp-like music that calms her, puts her in a place of peace. It’s heavenly music, to her. It brings tears to her eyes.
Her voice is soft. Her phrasing is precise. Her heart is quick. Cindi blesses me with the music of her being.