Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Dealing with the aftermath
Despite some descriptions to the contrary, for me when death comes to visit it carries a sickening sweet tinge much like the aroma of something made of sugar about to go bad. Because no matter how unwelcome and unwanted at times, it is a natural part of life and something we will all have to face in the end. This became especially true to me back in 2008 after my grandmother, mother, and Uncle Gwen all passed away within the span of thirteen months. While their individual passings were heart-wrenching age, health concerns, and long-term sickness made each expected on some level.
That did not make coming to grips with their departure any easier, but we still had to pick up the pieces and began to structure a life around the gaping hole that is their absence. The worst thing for me in many ways is to this day there are times I still think of them in the present tense and have to remind myself they are gone. It’s bizarre on so many levels to feel how important a particular person is to your existence and then remember they are no longer around.
The situation was hugely different and yet strangely the same last Saturday. It was my daughter, Darth Wiggles, birthday and the entire family, including my son’s girlfriend, were at the mall letting her spend the collection of gift cards she had received. I’d like very much to claim I felt something wrong, like someone might feel that subtle change in the weather heralding the coming of a rainstorm but it was a clear, sunny, and actually pleasantly warm day. If anything all signs pointed to yet another boring day becoming a boring evening sitting at the house with me wishing I could run down to the coast.
All that changed when we returned home and I made the perfunctory run upstairs to check the answering machine. As I mentioned in my very brief post my father-in-law’s passing was sudden and very unexpected. While a senior citizen, his health could have been considered excellent especially since he golfed several times a week and did all of his own yard work.
I have to be honest here and write that I have never mixed entirely well with my in-laws. This fact has to do with my blood kinfolk and me being the spontaneous beer and barbeque crowd at the beach and them being the deliberate wine and cheese set at the country club. That does not change the fact that they are all quite accomplished and talented people, at times irritatingly so, which in many ways made it more painful to watch them deal with such a sudden loss.
This going to sound trite as Hell but in the end I came away with the idea that with this insane world mired in a continuous set of disasters pulling everyone apart about all we seemingly have tying us together these days is the finality of death. It’s the lowest of the common dominators we all have and something I found beyond excessively depressing. If we had any sense as a species its something we would work damn hard at changing for the better.