Saturday, February 26, 2005

A few things I’ve learned in this, the second month of 2005

  • Do not shave your legs on the morning of your father's funeral. Unnecessary injuries.
  • It might be best to avoid morning drive time radio - their happy and/or ignorant chatter is an affront.
  • Do not cry when you lose your bid on eBay for what you have decided is the only silver locket in the world worthy of carrying a photo of you and your father. Contact the seller direct and ask if there's another. There is. It's an easy transaction and it'll be on the way to you that day and, in fact, arrive in your mailbox the very next. A real surprise, that.
  • One foot stands before the crib, the other by the casket. Time is the only thing that separates.
  • You can drink all you want; he still won't be here when you wake up in the morning.
  • Two families -- and this will mean nothing to anyone reading this beyond those who know -- but let me tell you this. Gaylord. Oxley. Different history, different relations, but my oh my how blessed you are to be braided together with these families. As life moves on, this is sadly familiar, but how good we are to each other, and how long we've known each other. When a Gaylord pulls you into his or her arms and you feel a tear drop on your shoulder, you know that your loss is not your own, and you pull in tighter because you realize that you are not only being consoled, you too are consoling. When an Oxley takes every single thing your sister is capable of and maneuvers her in a different direction even though her husband is an obstacle, you close your eyes and take a deep breath that's all about praise and gratitude. And that's just one Oxley. Like the Gaylords, there are many. And in both families, each member has a story about your father and each one grieves, and by that I mean that they cry. With you, for you, and also for their own loss. And while it rips your heart out of your chest, it also feels good because they remember when. And by when, I mean when life was perfect and forever, long before you knew any different. They were there.
  • People who cut you off in traffic do not do so to hurt your feelings, so don't attach your emotions to it (meaning, for heaven's sake, don't cry over it.)
  • People who honk their horns in traffic because they are somehow more important than anyone else on the road, those people piss you off more than usual during a time like this.
  • Some friends, even very good friends you've known a long time, will not be there for you. Their absence is an odd thing to realize and initially sad, but your thoughts lead you to the truth. And the truth is that it's not unfeeling or anything at all really except beyond their ability. For whatever reason, they don't show up. I believe it's not that they can't, they just don't know how. Best to accept it.
  • You also realize that some people who you are not close to, care about you. You learn that a lot more people care about you than you ever thought. They send you cards with beautiful notes in them, and you feel their care and yes, love, in every handwritten word, and you are consoled by their gestures.
  • Even though you've never had a problem with it before, sleep can be elusive, at best.
  • When you realize that you cannot see much of anything out there in the distance and you go to the eye doctor, don't be surprised to hear that you need glasses. Because when you finally pick up your new glasses two days later, the world is immediately in focus again and you realize, whoa did you ever need them. And friends will be great and say they like your new glasses and now they want glasses too. To which you knowingly reply, wait your turn; it will come.
  • Don't fight it or get your feelings hurt when the phone doesn't ring. Take advantage of the quiet. Wade through it and realize that it's good for you. It allows time to reflect, to remember, to let your feelings bubble to the surface and settle down again. It allows time to heal. Distraction has its time and place, definitely, but so too does solitude.
  • Having a goofy, loving, chocolate Labrador as a companion is just about the best medicine a girl can have when she's grieving. Animals know. They do know.
  • Time moves forward, whether you willingly move with it or are dragged with it kicking and crying. That's the way life is. And that's the way it should be. You'll find that you have some amazing friends who make sure that their steps are with yours because they have an innate awareness that everyday will be a challenge in some way for you. They know this, and they don't forget you.
  • Oh, and the most recent thing I've learned, in fact as recent as this morning: Mutli-tasking might not be the best idea when it involves a park, a rainy morning, two Labradors, an umbrella, a cup of coffee, a tennis ball, a cell phone, and trying to get the piece of paper from your back pocket that has written on it a phone number your brother needs right then because he is stuck somewhere and the number is his only way out. The ball gets dropped and the dogs are upset that it was not thrown, the coffee gets dropped and you are upset because you want the caffeine that was in that cup, the umbrella doesn't stay above you but more at an angle beside you, so you get wet anyway. But your brother gets the number and he gets to where you and he both know he needs to be right now. So, as my niece would say, it's all good.
  • I guess the really important lesson I've learned this month is not to sweat the small stuff. Really, there's so much more out there waiting for you. Best to pick your battles, even the emotional ones. Put yourself where you need to be and let the rest roll off you, sort of like the rain rolling off my wet head this morning at the park. It's only rain. Some things are worth crying over, and some things just aren't. In fact, if you can remember to step back, you'll see that some of the things you face are actually disguised opportunities for growth. And humor.

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