Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The bustle in a house/the morning after death...

I keep thinking of that Emily Dickinson poem. Folding chairs to be delivered for the mourners to sit upon. Guest books to be signed. Contributions to appropriate charities to be made in lieu of flowers.

Yesterday was poor little Ann's husband's memorial service, the "celebration of his life." Thirty-four years old, dead of a brain tumor after three brief years of marriage and fathering a son just one year ago. And all of this tragedy unraveling since October 6.

Back in October, I tried to offer reassurance. I told poor Ann it would prove only to be migraines or back and neck troubles; something worse seemed improbable. But I was wrong, so wrong. When Ann learned the true diagnosis and shared it with us here at her work, I went outside and screamed at God, "What kind of fuckery is this?" And then I cried and cried and cried over Ann and her poor young husband. Three brief years. A baby who won't remember his father. A half orphan. All of it resonates with me and hits so close to home. I think of my poor, young mother widowed at about Ann's age, and of my baby sister who never knew our father.

The memorial service was touching and heart-rending. This whole tragedy has made me resolve to get my priorities in life in order. Our time here is so short and we can't afford to waste it on things that don't matter.

The weather was miserable yesterday, icy, wet and windy. I stopped at the convenience store next door to my place when I finally was able to go home at 7:00 p.m. and bought a cheap bottle of mediocre Italian red wine. I poured myself a big glass, made myself something to eat and ultimately crashed out on the couch while American Idol blared on the television. Anesthetized. All cried out.

By comparison to this true tragedy, nothing is wrong with me at all. The ending of my recent mostly long-distance romance is nothing at all compared to Ann's profound loss. She is my heroine. She's been the living personification of Grace.

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