When I Die

I’ll hang my head beside the willow tree.

Hopefully that won’t be anytime soon though.

I’ve been thinking about writing about things that I saw, heard and felt when Steph’s mom died. In case that is too much for Steph to handle right now I will give a code word right before I’m about to do so, in case you don’t want to read it yet. I think it will help…me. It will help me.

Help what, I don’t know. Stories are a weird thing. Everyone has a story about something. When I don’t tell my stories to anyone else….they just sit there. And when I just let them sit there, they get bigger. They set up shop and take up more space than they should than if I’d just said them.

I could keep making up reasons why not to until the grim reaper comes for my derelict corpse : I don’t want to. It’s not anybody else’s business. Nobody will know how to respond. Nobody will understand. Nobody will care. It’s not interesting. I don’t want to share. I’m busy. It’s stupid and cliche. I have better things to do.

Do I, though? Do I really have better things to do? Is there something that’s more important? No. Not really.

Winnie the Pooh says it best –

When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.

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I suppose I could write it down in a journal which no one will ever read. How hopelessly narcissistic am I, anyway? I guess I just want the possibility that someone might read it. I wouldn’t necessarily want them to comment on it, or to tell me how they’ve gone through that exact same thing and I or Steph am not alone, because I don’t care about that. I know other people have gone through the same things. I know we’re not alone. I know people care about me and I know people care about Steph. I think of Jennelle and her mother, I think of Emily and her father, I think of Baby Hope and I think of all of us who have lost parents and all of us who have yet to lose parents. We are beleagured, we are weary, we have taken on such enormous work. Of course of course of course. We’re all in this together, after all. But that just doesn’t seem important right now.

I think what’s important to me right now is to verbalize those things that happened (in a semi-public setting) so that I know that those things did happen. They weren’t something I dreamed and they’re not something I’m trying to forget. Sometimes I do feel like I dreamed it all – the hospital, the late nights, Alan, Steph crying over and over, how her face would just crumple at any given moment, Rick’s face when he walked out of the hospital room, Joyce’s gnarled hands, my mother and father praying, all of our housemates in funeral clothes. Waiting for Jesse to arrive so I wouldn’t feel so fragmented. Angels Among Us on repeat. A song I found horribly cliche (and still do) but it was somehow okay. Grace. I ate a lot of greek yogurt. Grace singing Pie Jesu. Wringing my hands. I was, by some unforeseen miracle of God, the strong one. That week, at least.

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“Still, she loves the world for being rude and indestructible, and she knows other people must love it too, poor as well as rich, though no one speaks specifically of the reasons.

Why else do we struggle to go on living, no matter how compromised, no matter how harmed?”

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