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Sunday, May 10, 2009

processing

Sometimes life is a big heaping bowl of WTFs.

It was the usual crazy-end-of-the-school-year shit to keep up with this past week. A time where there's ton of camp stuff to get ready for on top of the usual shit to get done and not enough time to get it done in.

And then on Wednesday night, while the kids were off at their dad's for a few hours, a friend, whom I don't talk to often, called and I chose not to answer the call simply because I'm the kind of gal who, at the end of a long day, chooses her sanity and peace-of-mind over shmoozing on the phone.

I should have answered the call.

The next morning, after dropping the kids off at school, my ex called to tell me that a mutual friend of ours had died the night before. His wife was the one who tried to call me. Fuck.

I immediately called her to see what I could do for her. She was okay, pretty much acting like it hadn't sunk in yet which I suppose is a normal reaction. Her 11-year old son was doing...fine. Just fine. Kinda' weird, but everyone grieves in their own way.

I wanted to see her as she wanted to see me but I had a doctor's appointment I couldn't get out of. When I was available, she had a houseful of people and I didn't want to crowd her anymore. She asked me to come over that night but when I called at the end of the day, there was still a houseful of people, she seemed completely exhausted and frazzled and I told her I would come by early the next morning before anyone arrived.

I was going to stay strong for my friend. No, I was going to try to stay strong for my friend. I was friends with both she and her husband and there were many good times among us so it was gonna' be hard, I knew that. I was not prepared for her to say to me the second I walked in the door "We had so many good times together and that's never going to happen again.". OY! How do you not show emotion over something like that?! So I was not a strong rock like I'd hoped but I don't think she gave a shit.

Forty-eight years old and he dropped dead from a heart attack while, of all things, during a workout at the gym. Unbelievable. No, that doesn't describe the true emotion of the situation at all. I don't think there is a word that can best describe that kind of shock. Unfortunately, it wasn't a surprise how he died as both his parents and his older sister passed in the same way. The true shock was that no one ever expected how short his life would really be.

Two nights later was the wake. My ex and I decided it was best for our kids to choose for themselves as to whether or not they wanted to view his body. Unfortunately, it wasn't much of a choice because my friend was standing right by his casket and in order to express one's condolences, they had to walk right by the casket. My son was okay, my daughter seemed a bit freaked out by it. She didn't cry or anything but I don't think that's a memory she's going to forget any time soon.

It's always a strange thing seeing someone who was laughing and breathing the last time you saw him, laying there looking like a wax figure. It also doesn't help, having worked briefly for a funeral home when I was younger, to see someone you know and know the amount of preparation behind making a body presentable - eyes and mouth stitched shut because of possible involuntary reflexes, rectum packed with cotton so that there's no...um...leakage...yeah, I won't go on with the gory details. And the makeup - yeah, my friend didn't need that much makeup. So when I told my kids that he was going to look like he was sleeping, I never expected that it would look like he was sleeping and looking like Divine at the same time.

And all through this, their son was fine. Just that, fine. No tears, holding strong for his mom.

Saturday morning was the memorial service and it was probably the loveliest memorial service I've ever been to. There were a few things that really struck me during this service. The first was what their neighbor said who gave the eulogy. At the hospital, in which many people from the gym were there to support my friend during this tragic time, the paramedics appeared at the nurse's station and my friends' son went over to them and thanked them for trying to help save his dad.

*blank stare*

How is it possible that an 11-year old child can be that amazing upon hearing the news that his father was dead? I can tell you - when he has the same heart of gold as his father.

I learned from listening to the pastor that he and his dad had a relationship like none other. At least none that I've never heard of before. This man, who always had a smile on his face and nothing but kind words to say had the most amazing relationship with his son. The tight bond I have with my kids pales in comparison.

My friend is broken, more lost than anyone I've ever seen. Twenty-three years of spending nothing but happy times with her soulmate and their, yep, perfect son.

Death sucks.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Charlie said...

What can I say that will make it any easier?

Nothing, and that's what sucks.

May 10, 2009 at 9:25 PM  
Blogger Attila The Mom said...

I'm so sorry that you lost your friend. I don't know what else to say.

xo

ATM

May 10, 2009 at 11:55 PM  
Blogger Koolio said...

Charlie and Mom, there is nothing left to say. Dealing with death in general is so uncomfortable when you know that anything you say can't comfort the family. There are no right or wrong words, usually just the presence of someone is satisfactory.

I think what I'm more upset about now is my friend surviving as a single parent. She knows nothing else than parenting with her kindred spirit by her side. I can almost feel the anger I know she'll soon feel herself. Fortunately, she has a huge support system now of friends and neighbors who are going to make sure is helped in any way possible.

May 11, 2009 at 5:19 AM  
Blogger Bird Shit and Baby Caca said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend!

May 11, 2009 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger Tug said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your friend...life just isn't fair.

May 11, 2009 at 4:40 PM  
Anonymous metalmom said...

I'm very sorry that you are going through this. My prayers to you and your friend.

May 12, 2009 at 9:16 AM  

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