Friday, October 18, 2013

seems like yesterday, but not

Okay. One more maudlin post. I know that makes two this week. One for mom's birthday, and one for the day she, her love, and one of their best friends left us behind. I promise l'll get back to being hilarious soon ;)

Fifteen years ago, on this day, three vibrant lives were cut short, snuffed out, suspended in mid-air. This world lost three rays of sunshine... three bright flames... three... [insert pithy phrase that is inadequate to describe these very special souls]...

When it happened, people said things like, "Everything happens for a reason," and "God came to take his angels home," etc etc etc. No offense, but, have you ever noticed that the people who say sh*t like this aren't the ones who are actually in pain? Not that I blame them. I know it's hard, not to know what to say. Really, there's nothing you can say, nothing that will take the pain away, no matter how much you want to, but I do appreciate that people try. That's all you can do, honestly. Spout some meaningless platitudes, if for no other reason than to let them know that if/when they need you, you're there.

Now, so many years later, if someone finds out for the first time they say, "Oh I'm so sorry! That's terrible!" And I never know what to say either... "It's okay"? [It isn't.] "I know"? "You're tellin' me"? Or maybe just "Thank you."

My favorite awkward encounters are when people [often intoxicated] make some rude comment about my "tramp stamp." I usually take that opportunity to inform them that I got said "stamp" - a Cessna flying into the sunset - to honor my mom, stepdad, and their good friend (we'll call him JB) who died in a plane crash when I was 18. Buy hey! Thanks for noticing! And good luck wrastlin' that foot out of your mouth, Hoss ;) 

Another thing people say is, "Time heals all wounds." I think this, too, is mostly BS. Yes, life goes on. Yes, eventually, you can wake up in the morning without the subsequent soul-wrenching gut-punch of remembering that they're gone. Yes, time blurs the edges of your loss and your pain, but it also blurs the edges of your memories, casts shadows on their contours in your mind... Clouds the clarity of their laugh, their smell, their smile... The point is... Maybe the original wound heals, but you will always have the scar. 

"Has it really been 15 years?!" A friend asked me today. "That's crazy. We're old." Lol. True on all counts. They died 15 years ago. When I was 18. Math isn't my strong suit but I think that makes me 29 ;) I feel lucky, in a way, that I was, technically, an "adult" before I lost them. My sister was only 14 - they've been gone longer than she knew them. And my little brother, who lost his mom and his dad (he wasn't lucky enough to have a spare), was only 7... He has so few memories of them, and he's not sure if the ones he does have are his own, or if he's just appropriated them from all the stories he's heard over the years. And that just makes me so damn sad. They loved that boy SO freakin' much you could almost reach out and touch the love in the air. Ugh. It hurts my heart. But a while back a friend sent me this quote, and it made me feel a little better. I just really liked it, and wanted to share -

"I had somebody say to me once, years ago, 'What was your mother like?' And I said, 'I don't know. She died when I was 11.' And she said, 'Well, what did she feel like?'

"And that was an amazing window for me into the idea that ... you don't actually have to be able to articulate or intellectually know who somebody is to really know them, and that 11 years is actually a really long time — especially to have a really good mother — and it's more than most people get in a lifetime.

"And I had, until I was 11 years old, a mother who made me feel like life was really exciting, that the world was really exciting. That she loved us. That she could find joy even when life had been tragic — and that's so much more than most people get. I feel incredibly grateful for that."

(From A Polley Family Secret Pieced Deftly Together on NPR's Fresh Air)

The end. 

Oh, p.s., I also wanted to share this incredibly heartfelt, poignant card my dear husband gave me this morning. I thought it was only fitting ;)

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