Monday, February 14, 2005

The goodness of people

It's the worst of nightmares, this is. I realize now that trying to heal friends through this in the past has been a complete waste. I thought I knew. I could not know. There is no release, no freedom, because there cannot be. But there is appreciation of those who reach out and say, "I'm here." This is a club I wish that I never joined. I know now things I never wanted to know: how sound and light have changed, how music can nauseate me, how food can be repulsive, and what it is like to be aware of every single breath. I can honestly and selfishly say that I want to shout out at the entire world: Be quiet, bow your heads because my father is gone. Because I truly am dumbfounded that the world is continuing to spin, and perplexed that it can do so without his presence. In my mind, and in my heart, he was that big.

And then, then there are the angels. The friend who has taken over and made decisions for me because I simply have been reduced to a substantially different skill set than what I previously possessed. This is the same friend who has not only taken care of me daily but also my mother. And she has done a real good job with Mom. The friend who flew to Houston in support of me and let me push him around and drink too much and who allowed all of it with the patience of a saint and who told me yesterday that it's excused because it's understandable and he knows me better otherwise. The good, the bad, the ugly, he got it all. And he released me from responsibility. Done, no apologies, no embarrassment, just understanding. The friend who immediately came to retrieve my dog and cried with me and held me with all the strength she has. This same friend who sent me home with the only food I could eat for two days, and who with her partner also my friend has taken care of my dog and allowed me to come visit her even when they know I am going to get her all stirred up. The friend who has known me so many years that she too loves my niece and nephew and even though she was exhausted and had much to do, did not hesitate to take my nephew anyway and help him with his homework and watch over him all day. The friend who got us a gigantic limosine extended thing because there were, afterall, ten of us, and I could not handle being separated when going to or from the church. The friends of my niece's who have taken care of her and spent time with her and loved her through this, with a skill beyond their age. The friend of my nephew's who in a beyond his 15-year old way still was able to find words to console me, and gave me comfort knowing that he was also helping my nephew. The friends who have stood every-ready with a drink, a cigarette, a shoulder, whatever I needed. And I have asked, and they were there. The family friends who have shared their stories and their tears. The lady at the make-up counter who walked me all over the store for appropriate cover-up and mascara and then unbeknownst to me, loaded my bag with additional items she did not charge me for but thought necessary, in particular, eye cream to reduce swelling. Lastly, on my chair in my office this morning was the signed and numbered Thomas Crowe print of the 1998 Texas Duck Stamp, the one of the Black Labrador in the water and pintails and pintail decoys, the very one that used to hang in one of the conference rooms, and for years the very one that I was referring too when I said out loud that one day I am going to buy from my company and give to my father for his birthday. While not just anyone I work with has the authority to remove the print from the conference room wall, there are a few who do. And no one is willing to step forward to accept the gratitude, so the mystery is mine. These things all bring comfort to me. And they do so because these are actions that remind me of my father.

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