Calm or numb? Life crashing down on you.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I always tease my husband and tell him that the best wedding gift he gave me was his cousin H. She was just a little girl when I came into the family as a 19 year old girlfriend-with-staying-power. I'm in between the generations of my husband's precious, but a little stolid and proper family. I bridged the gap between parents and children - the "glamorous big girl" who played with the little ones.
And yesterday one of those little ones died of a massive, unexpected heart attack. He was the brother of my best friend and best gift H. He was 46. We are still trying to wrap our brains around this devastation because nobody plans for something like this. To our knowledge he had no heart disease symptoms, though heart disease runs strong in his family on both sides. Eveyr man in his mother's generation has had a heart attack and two have died from it. It looks suspiciously like the DNA is active in our children's generation too.
When a death comes suddenly and to someone who hasn't yet moved into the "old" category ... a category which seems to be extending further into the future every year I add to my own Not-Yet-Old category. I laugh at myself sometimes when I remember how utterly ancient I used to think 60 was and how, when my brother in law died at 69, of a HA, I was horrified that Someone So Young should actually die. Especially someone who ate properly, exercised, was smart enough to get good health care and who had enough money to pay for it. How could HE die so young in this day and age?
Imagine the difficulty in coming to terms with losing someone 11 years younger than I?
Swirling all around this personal tragedy though, are all the Other Things that life was planning on, demanding and expecting of me, marching inexorably towards me . Things I am scrambling to do in my darling H's stead because she is the next of kin and must take on more pressing matters. Things I was supposed to have done yesterday, last week, two weeks ago, but put off because of our own health surprises. And worse than things - there are MISTAKES I have made in my haste, distractedness and sadness. Like - forgetting to name an important sponsor of a festive community event I am hosting this Friday and so angering him that he withdrew his sponsorship. No apologies will satisfy him and for that I'm deeply sorry. But the event still must go on as planned. I will plaster a glassy eyed smile on my face and plod through the weekend - it's only gift for me now the fact that, come Monday, it will be behind me instead of looming up ahead.
And so. I am going to use a trick I figured out some years ago when I had some dreadful thing I had to deal with in the public arena. I asked myself - what will be the final result if everything goes wrong. The answer? I would come home. My husband would wrap his arms around me. My dogs would wag their tails and lick my hands. My cozy house would smell like love inside 4 walls. My work would be there on Monday morning. Somewhere out there in the world there would be people who didn't like me - who thought I was worthless and stupid. But they would be only SOME out of billions of people and right here at home there would be people who loved me ANYWAY.
And what would be the result if everything went surprisingly right?
I would come home. My husband would wrap his arms around me. My dogs would wag their tails and lick my hands. My cozy house would smell like love inside 4 walls. My work would be there on Monday morning. Somewhere out there in the world there would be people who didn't like me - who thought I was worthless and stupid. But they would be only SOME out of billions of people and right here at home there would be people who loved me ANYWAY.
So the end result is pretty much the same. Out there in the world I may blunder or I may step deftly but I can always come home to warm hugs, licked palms, and cozy walls. I guess there isn't really that much to worry about after all.