Saturday, May 08, 2010

The Tide Come In & The Tide Go Out, And the Waves They Come Toss My Little Boat About*

There are songs, at least two of them I can think of off of the top of my head, telling us we should "live like we are dying".

I'm not sure this is great advice, since, from my particular point of view at this moment, living like you're dying seems to involve spending a lot of time stuck in bed, and having your dignity stripped away from you one piece at at time.

But, that's probably not what those songs are talking about.

What I think about, as we watch J~ slip away from us...well, I think about a lot of things.

Sometimes...I think that I have never seen a sky so blue or a day more vibrant. I took a picture of the courthouse on my cell phone the other day because I was struck by how pretty it looked, how quaint and lovely. The squirrels were frolicking on the courthouse lawn and all the trees were blooming.

It's the same courthouse I see nearly every day. But, in that moment, it was as if I was seeing it for the first time.

I was joyful, in that moment, watching the squirrels, smelling the flowering trees - joyful in that moment, almost blissful. And I think - and maybe I'm wrong - that my ability to feel joy in those moments has a lot to do with knowing that J~, were he walking next to me, would feel joy.

He has always been one to find joy in small things, and his heart is so big.

Other times I am engulfed with the sadness of his absence, or rather his anticipated absence.

I had an amazing opportunity, recently, to see one of my favorite musicians play live. We had incredible seats, 4th row center seats - we were close enough to count the strings on the artist's guitar. The venue was sold out, the audience enthralled - and I spent most of the evening feeling like I was intoxicated by the whole experience. And then the concert closed with a song so mournful**, the sadness that swooped through me upon hearing the lyrics was painful. I cried through that last song...

This is such a strange roller coaster of emotions.

I cannot watch or listen to the news right now. It's as if my brain is incapable of processing it - my mind jumps immediately to, "the world has gone mad because J~ is dying and the Gulf is full of oil and therefore the world must be coming to an end" - and I have to turn it off. Because I don't want my head to go there.

I cannot bring myself to watch any television that hits too close to home, and sometimes I cannot figure out what, precisely, has hit me as something too sad. Husband and I watched the first 20 minutes of Couples Retreat - a movie that stars both Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell, both of whom I usually LOVE - and we turned it off and sent it back to Netflix. It's probably a funny movie...but the first twenty minutes made me so sad I didn't want to watch any more of it.

Yesterday afternoon I had to look for something in J~'s desk. It feels wrong to sit in his chair, and it strikes me that the office has been cleaned so many times since the last time he sat in his chair, that his office no longer smells like J~'s office. Now it just smells like an empty office, an office that could belong to anyone. Which is silly, really, because everything else that made it J~'s office is still there - his photos, his law books, his files, his desk drawer full of novelty pens. But all of it is overshadowed by the knowledge that he will never occupy his office again.

It is clear we have come to the end. There is no miracle coming to wash the cancer from his body. The cancer eats away at every part of him now. I ache with the finality of this knowledge. I am angry with God, the universe. I want to smack people who tell me this is "God's will" and "God has a plan." I cannot conceive of a God who would decide to do this horrible thing to a man who saw his 58th birthday only YESTERDAY.


In a just world, J~, who is kind and good and joyful, would have 30 more good years. But he doesn't. It was his last birthday.


* Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, Leaky Little Boat
** A song, unexpectedly and painfully, about the untimely death of the artist's uncle
(As always, this link is not mine, I don't know who placed it on Youtube - the song is from Mark Knopfler's most recent album Get Lucky).


Blogger familyforpeace said...

Hugging you. I can get in my car anytime and come and be with you. All you need to do is call. Can't wait to be with you next weekend.

Saturday, May 08, 2010 2:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have nothing helpful to say. I just wanted to leave you a comment so you'd know I was thinking of you.

Saturday, May 08, 2010 5:51:00 PM  
Blogger j'lynn said...

I know we don't know one another outside of this blog world, but I think of you and J often. I wonder how you are both doing. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. Outside of 'I'm so sorry for what you are going through right now' I don't know what to say. Hugs to you and to J and the rest of your family and loved ones....

Saturday, May 08, 2010 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger Bonny said...

I don't know J, but cancer is not something God "does" to people. We all get sick and die. That's Nature. My Mom died at 51 from ovarian and it was so, so sad, but it was a disease of the body, not the spirit.

Sunday, May 09, 2010 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Lola Granola said...

You visited me, I'm visiting you, and now I'm really thinking of you. And you know, you're right--in a just world, with an impossible God who makes all things go right, this wouldn't be happening. But sadly, whatever God is, it ain't that.

The only way out is through...

KJ of Raising Devils.

Sunday, May 09, 2010 11:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know how hard it is to watch someone you love slowly be eaten by cancer. It isn't easy, even when they are elderly and you can tell yourself, "Well, s/he lived a good, long life." It is never easy, though I can only imgaine how much harder it would be when the person is young. I agree that God doesn't make or will this to happen. But I do beleive He knows it is happening, and He grieves with you because He knows how sad it is for you.

Monday, May 10, 2010 8:00:00 AM  
Blogger mam said...

Oh G. I wish…well, I wish so much. Did you send the courthouse photo to him? Would it still bring him happiness? Thinking of you.

Monday, May 10, 2010 9:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I said this last time I commented, or meant to, but while I almost never comment here I always read and I've been thinking of you and your uncle J a lot. I so, so understand everything you are saying - lost my dad at age 60 8 years ago to lung cancer and my closest aunt (a sister, really, in all ways but the technicality of a title) at age 52 of ovarian cancer this past January. I wish I had helpful, insightful words to share, but I don't. It sucks. And it kills little parts of you that you will never get back. And while you want it to be over because it can be so all-consuming, at the same time you don't because then that person is gone forever. And yes, people will say things in hopes to make it part of some bigger, greater good or to make you feel a little better, and they mean well, but it probably won't help much (at least it never did for me).

Just know that even though you don't "know" me, I am thinking of you and your family during these overwhelming times.

Monday, May 10, 2010 11:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It isn't fair. It's just not. You are blessed to have an uncle like J, you will always be blessed for having known him. And he should have 30 more years. You should have 30 more years with him. I'm sorry. You are in my prayers.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 1:19:00 PM  
Blogger theSpacemom said...

The ebb and flow of life can be good and bad. I am sorry that you have to watch J die. I am sad that he is in pain.
I am sad that all of you have to deal with this...

Thursday, May 13, 2010 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

this left me in a puddle. these losses are so hard.

not a day passes that i don't feel the absence of my mom. not one day.

Thursday, May 13, 2010 1:02:00 PM  

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