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Posts Tagged ‘family’

Illustration by Michael Hacker

Life doesn’t stop occurring because one person has died. You can’t expect for a giant hand to pick up a giant remote control and hit pause. Things don’t go back to normal because normal changes, it becomes something different, a new variation on normal. When an integral part of you is taken away, life becomes like traveling in a foreign land in which you don’t speak the language or recognize the shapes of the signs.

On Saturday evening, Type Geek’s brother was pulled from the machines, and he passed away Sunday evening, surrounded by family. They are now gathered at the family compound, silent and processing and mourning. I wish I could do more, do something, relieve the pain somehow, but this is my job, to wait and be available when he comes home. To not say anything and just listen. To hold him. Or, to give him space and allow him time to mourn the loss of his only big brother.

On Monday, life continued on, without any dramatic pause. All of the messy complications of living, the wrong drink at Starbucks, the long line of traffic, the irritation of not being able to hear your friend at lunch because the parties on either side don’t understand the concept of inside voices, and of course, hysterical mishaps that result in comedic injuries. The comedy of life doesn’t stop because death has happened. After an early lunch on Monday I stepped on wet concrete with a pair of Tom’s Shoes and one leg hydroplaned while one remained on a dry patch and resulted in my successful execution of an almost full split, without the flexibility required to do such a thing. My friend Poppy was with me as my right knee slammed to the ground in a quiet thud and my left leg extended out in an angle better left for Mary Lou Retten or Jenna Jameson. Left with a severe hobble I spent the rest of the day with an elevated leg wrapped in gauze and a stomach full of ibuprofen.

The comedy of errors doesn’t stop there. After Poppy left, I decided to finish this post and send it over to my syndicators, only my computer wouldn’t hold a charge and the thing wasn’t reading the ac power supply hook up. So, I frantically tried to finish it before the system shut down, only I didn’t make it. I tried writing my post via my not so smart phone but that didn’t work, and so I sighed and threw in the towel. I found an available Zipcar at 1 pm today and drove over to MicroCenter and bought a new power cord. The staff there is less than gentlemanly, seeing me hobble and obviously in discomfort, the fat older sales guy made me hobble down the aisles so he could sit his lazy ass down while we plugged in the adapter to see if it worked. Of course there was a plug exactly where we were, but having me walk the entire distance of the store, one hop at a time, seemed to be his particular style of customer service.

Now I am back home, and this post is late, but it is finished. At the end of my day, it’s just a post, a power cord, a comedic slip and fall resulting in a humbling bruise and dedication to becoming a bit more flexible so I am not so prone to overextension in the future (and yes, avoiding wet spots on concrete floors) because this is all just the filler for the space between the moments. Life isn’t about what we achieve, what we possess, what we are… it is about who we are and who we love and how we do that. Life is about the connections we make. Today, Type Geek is with his family and they are saying goodbye to his big brother and planning his services. Today, I am remembering that nothing else but that simple act of love and respect is what truly matters.

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You might know you are a bit of a Bridezilla when you host a surprise wedding party at your uncles 75th birthday and after watching him have a heart attack, flatline for 4 + minutes and be brought back by a defibrillator, your response to the staff of the place hosting the event is, ” so, salads?!”  Really? I can understand that people deal with shock and grief in different ways, but for me, an appetite and having a wedding are NOT the ways I do so. I mean, do you really want to always have your wedding mentioned in the same breath as the time your uncle had his heart attack and died for several minutes?!

I have never been that goal orientated in regards to social/cultural milestones. Perhaps because my early milestones were shattered and I didn’t do the get your license, go to prom, graduate and go to college like everyone else that I knew. I moved, a pedestrian with a couple suitcases, I moved to Colorado and lived on the couch of someone I didn’t know while I got some bearings and found a job and a place of my own. Then I became a photographer. Then I became a lesbian, or realized I was, that is. And so, life in Denver was what it was. Beautiful and boring. I moved to NYC.. they blew up towers in my Brooklyn back yard while I photographed it with this girl I had just met. That girl would become my fiance shortly after terrorists blew up two other towers in Manhattan later that summer. Fitting that the relationship would eventually implode as well. She is in L.A. now, married to some other girl, the girls she slept with here. Just an affair she called it. Meaningless. She was a relationship jumper though, leaving one by finding another. That’s what she did when she met me, and that’s what she did when she met her. Someday she will leave her and she will do it on the coat tails of another. Looking back, I can’t imagine my life with her. She held me under water because my breathing scared her. Eventually her chronic suffocation would have killed me.

The wedding though? Crimson red raw silk gowns…that is what I pictured for both of us. Everyone else in white and black… us in red. At the Unitarian Church. In the evening. Candles. I guess I kept a little of that past life as a goth. Until Type Geek, I wasn’t sure how to connect that part of my past with my current life. But his love of goth style imagery, skulls, etc. has reawakened a deeper part of me that makes me laugh. My friends are horrified to find out that I am giving him an animal skull for christmas. It’s something he has wanted for years though, so why should it matter if it is for Christmas or Birthday? It’s a well thought out gift with meaning … that just happens to come from a dead animal.

Now, how do I feel about these milestones? As I have grown older? Is marriage something I consider. I’m not sure. Children? I’m almost 36… they haven’t exactly been something I have been jumping through hoops wanting. Aside from my health concerns regarding childbirth,  I’m not sure of the type of parenting I could provide and certainly, at this point, financially I couldn’t provide anything. I love kids, but I have always been of the mindset of loving OTHER people’s kids. I make a great auntie. I would probably make a great step mom. I guess I would have to reconsider all my answers to these questions if someone I loved truly wanted and felt incomplete without one or the other. Are they somewhere I would be comfortable going?

All I can hope is, that if I ever DO get married, no last rites are given at my pre-ceremony reception because of a guests heart attack mid passed hors d’oeuvres. Perhaps I will stick a defibrillator in the trunk of the car, just in case.

p.s. The man lived and was in stable condition, the last everyone heard. The wedding? It went on. Uncomfortably, but it went on. The cake? A few pieces were left and the staff working the party shared the almost dead Uncle’s piece.

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