Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I skinned my knee, but I'll be okay.

So, I didn't literally skin my knee- but if anyone, anyone, anyone has been wondering where I've been the past week, the truth is I have been feeling a little bit low.
As I mentioned to you earlier, my daughter left last week, about this time, for California. She went with my mom and the two of them are to return today. They spent three nights in Disneyland and three nights at a resort in San Diego. I spoke with them this morning because I am picking them up from the airport tonight. Their plane is scheduled to arrive somewhere around midnight- perfect timing.
They had a really great time, even though their original plan was to stay with my pseudo Aunt and Uncle, really my mom's good friends, at their home in San Diego. They were going to go to Laguna and to LA, so that my star struck teenager could stalk stars. A couple days before they were supposed to leave, however, my cousin called to say that there was something wrong.

My Aunt's husband, not her daughter's real father, but the only real father she has ever known, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He is 69. I don't know what any one knows about pancreatic cancer, but being the hypochondriac that I am, I try to stay away from any health news that I can- but even still I knew that this was not good, and have subsequently heard life expectancy, after diagnosis, is typically counted in weeks. So the day before they left, I spent much of my day on travel websites trying to cobble together a new itinerary for them.

All the while, I started to think, and I was not thinking good thoughts. My mind, like a run away train, started to go down roads that made me very panicky and sad. I read an entire book in two days to try to get my mind refocused. I rented a movie, feast of love, which the cover said was soul uplifting, that was so sad, it made me feel worse, which I did not think was possible. Over and over again, I was thinking how life draws us in, tricks us into making plans, having dreams, achieving goals, and then right when we are least expecting it, it pulls the rug right out from under us. The catch 22 is that the only way to "get over" having the rug removed is to be lured back into living, which at some point will result in the same ending, leaving us right back where we started from. I wondered isn't that the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. Is living really the process of going insane? I started obsessing and hyperventilating, and well questioning, once again, what this life really is all about?
Sunday night, my brother invited us over for dinner, and after a couple glasses of wine and some laughs with him and our mutual friend, Nicole, who may or may not be his new love interest, my perspective started to change. Nicole is divorced and has two boys, who are the same age and go to the same school as my Aidan and Isabelle.
As the kids ran around and played, Nicole and I started to talk about paranoia, depression, and the fear of death in my brother's kitchen.
I had a premonition when I was sixteen that I would die when I was thirty six, she told me.
How old are you?
Thirty six, she said.
We both started to laugh uncontrollably. For some reason, these types of thoughts stop being scary and start sounding absurd and hilarious when shared with someone who can relate.
The thing is, she said, I am half way through, but I have been spending money like its my last year, so if I turn thirty seven, I'll be alive but broke.
Now we were really cracking up.
The kids came in and were prodding my brother and Mrs. Mullen to kiss.
Do you love each othah? Isabelle asked.
Are you going to get married? another voice questioned.
Of course, both my brother and Nicole laughed off these suggestions. I thought for a moment of my brother's ex girlfriend, Hannah. They dated for six years and broke up, at age 35, this past February. Needless to say, we thought that they would be married, that she would be part of our family. We shared many laughs and meals in that kitchen together, and now she is no longer a part of any of our lives. I am saddened by this, but also enjoying the new company. I'm not glad that she is gone, but without her leaving, I know these new people would not now be a part of our lives.
As I was thinking of all of this, I started to think about how life changes gradually from season to season. In the moment, so often, we think that what is, will always be, and then when it changes, we are so often stunned, shocked, disappointed, even depressed. Gradually as days pass somehow we create new comfort zones, new traditions, new always' that seem like they are not new, were never new. Every once in a while, we reflect back and remember the time before, and we may long for it for a moment, but at the same time, we realize that the now could not exist if the old did not change, and so in this way, somehow we are able to let go and move on...
I wish that I had some profound thing to say about the meaning of life, but really I don't. All I can think of is the line from Jerry Maguire spoken by the "late great sports agent", and mentor to Jerry Maguire, Dicky Fox. He said in the movie, regarding success, that "I loved my life, I loved my wife, and that is my kind of success." I may be paraphrasing, it's been a while since I've seen the movie. The point is, it may sound oversimplified, and I am guessing that if my old philosophy professors were to read this blog they would hang their heads in shame, but of all the things that I have heard about life, that probably makes the most sense.
So this week, I am trying to get back up on the horse. I am renewing my faith in life, and planning a bit more carefully to enjoy every moment, and to find success, as I define it. I am trying to breathe, and to have faith. I am trying not to focus on the sad, and hoping that my Uncle will find peace as he attempts to cope with his horrible disease.
Finally, I am promising to stop with all this depressing talk of death- and starting tomorrow, I will be back to administer the best medicine that I can. For now though, I hope that anyone reading this will send positive thoughts, prayers;etc. to my Uncle and his family- and if you have any extra to spare after that, I could use a few positive thoughts myself.


Mrs. Tantrum said...

Here is a big virtual hug for you.

I love that you are able to put all the words together that are in my head. I too will start to live life and stop worrying about "the end" because no matter what we will all have an end. We need to enjoy what we have what we have while we are here, otherwise it will suck.

Good thoughts to your uncle and his family too.

Ann(ie) said...

I really enjoyed this post. It's actually TRULY what I needed to read right now. I lost a close friend at 33 to pancreatic cancer....he fought long and hard...and now my sweet friend lives on in my son Ben who was named after him. My prayers are with your Uncle, love. xo.

AND I needed this reminder. I also love your new friend. I am also 36 and am heading toward 37 and broke. ;)

Moira said...

L -
I'm right there with ya. Sending you peace and love.

Laurie of the Seven Stories said...

Thanks for sharing your story. My sympathies to you, and what a nice thing you did keeping your friend's memory alive, by naming your son after him.