Friday, August 12, 2011

a post about death, or: happy friday, everyone

I feel like I’m slowly emerging from my psycho funk (I’m pretty sure that’s the official DSM term for it) only to discover the world outside my fire-damaged brain is also on fire. Republicans are trying their hardest to make Obama cry. They’re taking things away from people who barely had anything to start with and convincing some of those people (I’m talking to you, Joe and Jane Tea Party) that taxes—on their nonexistent incomes—have been keeping them down. That, and the queers, feminists and immigrants, of course. America is a few years away from being a second world country. England, despite its free education and socialized health care, is still full of Angry Young Men.

T-Mec is dying. It took longer than anyone predicted, another notch in the mystery that is medical science. She still has good days. She still likes to eat and purr and insinuate herself into the nearest lap. But her leg is swollen, her lumps are big and oozy and she often looks tired and glassy-eyed. It’s not time yet, but it will be soon.

Rachel, AK’s good friend and my more recent but very much admired friend, is dying. She was diagnosed with stomach cancer just days after we lost the Squeakies, and it’s been a long-short four months. It’s not time yet, but it will be in days. Her husband Jeff’s updates (which have only recently supplanted Rachel’s own) are heartbreaking. The kind of stuff that makes you cry at your desk, feel the bright terrible clarity of love and loss, feel more awake and connected than you did when you sat down, then realize the price of that little zap of connectedness.

My aunt is sick; probably something she’ll bounce back from very soon, but it’s taken frustrating twists and turns, and the unknown-ness hovers like a raincloud.

It’s hard to come back to the world of carrying about others when there are so many reminders that they could be whisked away from you. Or you could be whisked away from them. One image that has comforted me a little bit in the past few months is that of my mom, in Heaven—total fluffy cloud land, with unlimited Oreos and lots of good books—holding one Squeaky in each hand. Two little balls of light, the grandkids she never knew but knows now, the kids I’ll never know.

Rachel had a miscarriage before her oldest daughter was born, and it occurred to me today that she’ll know that baby now. That’s something, right? And of course I don’t know what the afterlife is. It’s probably something much more amorphous than my fluffy cloud land with its anthropomorphic spirits. But like I’ve said before, the picturing it and the wanting it is the thing itself. Love. God. Whatev.

And T-Mec, whose name was Angel when B and I first adopted her (but who’s a little too fond of swatting OC and ripping armchairs to shreds to earn that title on Earth), will make some introductions up there. I have a lot of people (including cat-people) on the other side now. Someday I hope it makes me less afraid of going there.


Una said...

Yes, unlimited supply of Oreas + milk. That does sound heavenly. My thoughts easily go to Rachel (and Jeff and their two beautiful daughters) today and then they roam to all the friends-of-Rachel, CC and you included. Rachel's situation is all too horrible to imagine. God's blessing and love to you today, Cheryl and AK and all the critters under your care.

Cheryl said...

The same to you and Henry and your critter.

Stephanie said...

These are heavy thoughts, indeed, for a Friday, and so sad and heartbreaking. I got choked up reading about Rachel...

This is going to sound so crazy, but I just got back from seeing the final Harry Potter (again) in 3D. I really like the "Heaven" scene with Dumbledore and Harry and in some weird way, it makes me feel hopeful about the afterlife, its peace, and the love that may surround us.

Thank you, J.K. Rowling for enlightening us on Heaven. ;-)

Thinking of you and your friends--

Tracy Lynn said...

T Mec can hang with Spider. He probably has the whole place under his paw by now.

My friend, Rick, is starting hospice on Monday. I am sad.

Cheryl said...

S: Thanks for your kind thoughts. Rachel passed last night. Maybe a little Harry Potter is what this weekend needs (although I have about five movies to catch up on).

TL: I'm sorry to hear about Rick. I love the idea of Spider as Evil-Cat Angel.

Jesi said...

my aunt died unexpectedly a few weeks ago. i was more saddened about the life she had to live than hearing about her death. she lost her daughter, my cousin, at only 22 years of age, from a freak accident of falling down the stairs. my aunt never recovered the loss of her daughter. but knowing they are now reunited brings tears of happiness and a bit sadness to my eyes. i wasn't able to attend the funeral but we did have a family reunion beforehand and that was nice. i listened to her sister, my other aunt, tell stories of the good memories of her. RIP Aunt Nancy!