After Erin’s death, I really had a wretched day on Friday. Kept feeling overwhelmed at the most inopportune moments about the pointlessness of it all… Sarah, have you seen my email about the blah-blah-blah hot parts that I need asap? No, I haven’t. Why? Because your blah-blah-blah hot parts just don’t matter. Sarah, would you like to go to lunch or shopping? Both. Neither. I don’t care. Why? Because what we do for an hour on the afternoon of Friday, Mar 14th just doesn’t matter. I cried on the way home from work on the phone with Bobby – asking him if he ever just feels overwhelmed by the pointlessness of everything? Why do we care about our house, or our finances, or our jobs, or the length of our grass, or the condition of our highlights as the roots keep creeping farther and farther out, or the fact that I have very few friends, or ANYTHING? WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT ANYTHING?
I’m passing the Sullivan-King Mortuary, the one with columns, that one that we chose for Mama, never suspecting that it would one day greet us twice daily on our way to and from work. Should I just pull in and go ahead and make my arrangements so my family doesn’t have to? Maybe we should have a family day at Sullivan-King, where we can have a party in that quiet solomn room with the long, heavy, shiny table. We could bring a picnic lunch and all take turns arranging our funerals and picking out our caskets, and writing our obitiuaries… just plug in the date and you’re ready to roll. I dream about Mama still being alive and she and I are selecting our caskets together… We’re strolling through the room of caskets, and chattering about wood finishes and interior fabrics, and what outfits we’re going to wear. And then sometimes my dreams have Mama and me in the chemo chairs together – plugged up and watching the poison drip into me through a port in my chest, and telling Mama that I’m so glad that I have breast cancer because now, statistically speaking, Jennifer and Susanna are safe. I have such wretched dreams every night – either long, involved stories, or short, fragmented pieces of pain and anxiety.
Yesterday, Bobby and I had a wedding for a girl whose mother died 4-5 years ago. She featured a portrait of her mother at the front of the church, and a little blurb on the wedding program… And that’s how she incorporated her mother into her wedding day. When Bobby and I left, it was raining and we heard some of the guests who were huddled under the church’s overhang gasp, and looked up to see a brilliant rainbow arching across the church. There were whispers from the crowd around us “it’s Glenda’s rainbow”, “this is truly a blessed day”, “Glenda found a way to be here for her baby girl”, “even through the rain, Glenda is smiling down.” Her mother’s portrait had a helicoptor in it… and then I realized that her mother died in a helicoptor crash. I was disconcerted by the fact that the family would cherish a picture of their mother/wife with the machine that killed her. When, on the wedding program, I saw this Bible verse below the blurb about her mother:
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
And I realized that they actually find comfort in the fact that her mother died in a helicoptor, as a nurse traveling to a victim who needed help. It was an aha moment for me – I don’t think I ever really realized that while those who die serving (ie. miliary, police officers, firefighters, Audra’ mom) still die, the heroism of their death provides some level of comfort to the ones who are left. And it should. I’m glad that it actually helps Audra to have a picture of her mother with the helicoptor that killed her….
Don’t guess there’s really anything heroic about dying of breast cancer. I see Mama as a hero – she’s the strongest, most determined, most stubborn and tenacious lady I’ve ever known. But the world doesn’t. But that’s ok. I don’t need their approval or acknowledgement or valor or accolades. I wonder, if the helicoptor were falling for a year, or the bullet entered the police officers head for a year, or the terroist bomb blew up the soldier for a year…. would that be comparable to Mama dying from the inside out for year? Would it? I don’t know.
Last night, I drank a giant goblet of red wine and popped 2 Ativan… slept better than I have in… well, I can’t remember the last time. Sue tells me that this isn’t a good practice, and that wine’s ok, but Ativan’s not. Whatever, Sue. At least I didn’t crush and snort them.