RIP

This idea of death has been circling my head for days. Not in a sad or depressive sort of way. Not even in a morbid anticipatory way. It has just been there. Marinating. I blame Broadchurch (good series BTW).

*****

I stage managed a one woman show once. This woman wrote a script circling around the death of her mother. I was entranced through every line, completely hooked by the observations and twists and turns in this woman’s life with the character of her mother. She wrote a particular line that resonated with me, has stuck with me to this day. When there is a death, there are inevitable turf wars over the big stuff. What to do with the house, who gets the China, who’s had their eye on that bed/couch/secretary/piano and would slit throats to get it. “And when all of that dust has settled, someone is left with everything else. The debris.” The salt shakers. The paperclips. The underwear. The half completed crafts. The toothbrush you can’t bear to throw away. Paper napkins and drawers full of wrapping paper.

*****

Parker died today. He lost his battle with cancer. I have no sadness, but my heart is not hardened. I immediately thought of the family. Their journey has only begun.

*****

I’ve had a recurring nightmare. A dream that a nephew has died. The circumstances are usually the same, though the nephew is not. And in a few cases, all three of my living breathing nephews are in attendance, so this mourning is for an unknown child. The focus is not on the death, but on the family. Little is known to me about the cause. I don’t know if there was an illness, and accident, and this seems unimportant. What is important are the faces. The people we turn to in times of grief. The people we choose to share this moment of irreversible change, and the people who are chosen for us. Who are the stolid, strong and dependable? Who are the tearful, overwhelmed and broken? Who are the attention seekers, and who are silently losing their way in the maze of bodies and grief.

In my dream, my mother and I can be counted on to move people along, shuffle them through the motions and focus on the day. My sisters are emotional, allowing varying levels of sobbing to be heard or hidden. The husbands/boyfriends are dutifully at their sides, though at one point can be found gathered in a corner by the stairs, looking perplexed and out of place. My dad is organizing food. Pale faced and somber he makes his way through the crowds touching people on the shoulder or hand. Not emotional, but not organized.  My brother is playing the piano.

*****

It is the only constant in life. It is unavoidable. It doesn’t ring up to tell you it is coming. It just appears one day. It takes you in an instant, or it hovers for months before claiming you.

*****

Death impacts different people differently. Some turn inward, some outward. I am the face for the office today. Most can’t see through their own tears, some just don’t want to look at people for fear of what they might ask. I shoulder the responsibility of carrying on as normal, keeping secrets with a straight face and a calm demeanor. Never letting slip that something is amiss. I think I missed my calling.

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Dream Weaver

I have been having some bizarre dreams of late. Heart wrenching, wake up sweaty, dazed and confused dreams. I think I need to lay off the Crime TV genre. And maybe the time management games.

I recently downloaded a new app that I am really really enjoying. It involves serving customers in restaurants. I know, sounds great right? But I find it obnoxiously fun to bake cakes with the right flavored icing, serve tea and biscuits while simultaneously brewing more tea and baking more biscuits. I feel a sense of joy when I remember to start the milkshake maker at just the right time so that I can deliver my last milkshake just before the new ones are ready. I don’t think I’m really selling this well as a game, but whatevs, it’s making me happy.

I also have been watching the following on Netflix: Sons of Anarchy (cute bad boys on motorcycles, yes please), Peaky Blinders (cute bad boys with accents, yes please), and Broadchurch (David Tennant, yes please). While each of these has its particular strengths and weakness regarding scintillating television, I am still enjoying them and still sneak an episode in whenever I can.

Cue nightmare:

Last night was a weird mixture of, like, everything. I settled into a nice sleep after playing Cooking Fever in front of the TV (God Bless America!). The dream started with me working as a bartender in some land with awesome accents. I was more of the owner of the bar type, had a handle on everything and had regulars who asked for me. Not just a college dropout working in a line of other college dropouts. It was a quaint pub, mostly beer and whiskey. The occasional cute bad boy would come in, order a drink, and sit at a table, the same table. Like a cute bad boy conference was underway.

And it was precisely that moment when I realized that a cute bad boy conference was underway. As it is with alcoholic fueled conversation and reactionary sentimental thugs (in dream time), things deteriorated quickly. I had been all laughs; serving a tray of beers to the table, getting a hip squeeze and a bum slap from a goateed leatherhead when I suddenly found myself dodging pint glasses and fists.

Cooking Fever training kicked in and I was able to visualize every throw and blow and dodge/duck accordingly. When the big guns came out, I grabbed hold of the goateed man and ran out of the back of the club. We hopped on his motorcycle and took off. And then it got weird.

I had to “beat” certain “levels” to fill the meter that would make the lights turn green so we could drive. It was a test to see if I could complete the tasks without having to slow down. STRESS! This mostly involved throwing coffee mugs into hoops or shooting targets on the sides of buildings, but having to find where the hoops and targets were moving to and from. If I missed, a piece of the bike would fall off and we’d be caught by the raging throngs of bitter bikers lead by David Tennant in a persistent Doctor Who kind of way.

We drove up the steps of a (gorgeous) cathedral and crashed in through the doors. Much flopping and flailing and literally rolling down the aisles later, we miraculously stood, covered our tracks completely (bike and everything), and proceeded to hide. Not well. This is where even my kindergarten hide and seek training failed me miserably. I distinctly remember trying to hide in the organ. Like in the pipes. Then, everything was eerily quiet. For decades. The benefit of dream view showed me that the actual bad guys were advancing on the choir loft with military precision. I held my breath and closed my eyes and hoped they were further away than they felt. I could feel their hot breath in my ear. I was shaking uncontrollably wondering why they couldn’t see me, smell me.

Which is when the cat sneezed in my ear and I woke up terrified.

I couldn’t blink. I didn’t want to shift in case “they” heard my covers rustle. I was face down so my view of the room was pitiful, made even more non-existent by the fact that the cat realized her trick had worked and my eyes were open and began pawing at my face because clearly if my eyes were open then it must be time to eat!

I think my heart rate has finally slowed to a normal level. I feel less like I could be murdered at any moment, and more like I would like to murder an overweight feline who has developed a new set of tactics to be fed earlier and earlier. *Shaky Fist* I will kill my in-laws for feeding her before 6.

Happy New Year

I would provide a Christmas update, but since I’m pretty sure nine tenths (as if I have ten) of my readers were there, I will just provide a brief summary.

It was just what I thought and hoped it would be. Early mornings, late nights, endless eating followed by comfy pants and self-loathing, and lots and lots and lots of time with the wee ones. And by some miracle, I managed to completely avoid all diaper explosions, of which there were a few so I’m told. I feel I have solidified myself as the silly aunt, and my brother is the silly uncle. And there is nothing cuter than lisps, kids who suddenly forget contractions (“I do not even know”), and upside down giggles.

I thought instead I would dedicate this post to my continued desperate grasp at positivity by highlighting a few things I am looking forward to for 2015.

  • I am hopeful that we will see more snow. I like the snow. I am not particularly fond of the cold (though it is a nice excuse for oversized clothes and lots of snuggling), but cold with a purpose I enjoy. I like how pristine fresh fallen snow makes everything look. I like how it very rarely sticks around for long in North Cakalacky. And, quite frankly, I’d like a legitimate excuse to phone it in to work a time or two this season.
  • On the flip side of that – the beach. I went one time in 2014 (and flew all the way to Bama to do it) and I hereby declare that my lack of sand and sun exposure is absolutely the reason I have been in a funk for most of 2014. I will drive that stupid 3 hours. I will sit in the sand. And I will probably drive that stupid three hours the whole way back in the same day. But by hook or by crook, I am going as many times this summer as I darn well feel like it.
  • Time with family. So far, I have plans to visit a sister in Ohio for a very important graduation, and a family reunion (of sorts) on both sides scheduled for this summer. These trips are always just what the doctor ordered. Dips in the lake. Fishing trips. Board games. Outdoor games. Food fresh from the garden. Fires. And lots and lots and lots of porch sitting. Maybe I’ll try catching up with others in their homesteads this year as well.
  • I am expanding my theatre reach. The huz is expanding his as well. We have been fostering professional relationships (with professionals) that are opening new doors and lining pockets well. There may even be potential for him to travel to NY, PA, Canada, or Mexico this year! My “directorial debut” scored a 4 star review (despite only having 1 weekend run) and was listed in the best of triangle theatre this year! 2015 will be different. It will be new. And I am looking forward to the change.
  • A new job. It is my primary goal to find a new job and I am confident that 2015 is the year it will happen. I received a couple of rejections at the start of the year. I had assumed activity would pick up after the holidays, I had just hoped I wouldn’t be left behind. Despite being blanketly declined, I remain enthusiastic. I saw some additional positions go up so I applied. And without provocation, I was stopped in the hall this morning (by that friend that is pretty high in the Clinical Trials division who took me to lunch that one day and gave me hope) wanting to know if I had heard any news. She indicated that she is meeting with the SVP tomorrow and would remind him of my continued interest and would forward the recent job numbers to which I applied to the Supervisor of the positions. Maybe a nice birthday present this year?
  • Taking back my house! I know this may sound super corny New Year’s Resolution-ish, but I really feel like things have gotten a bit out of control. Out of my control rather. I don’t know what the soap situation is, where the laundry is being put or when we are running low on detergent. I don’t have a leash on the closets, and the plant to furniture ratio is just absurd. We tried to separate my work from housework. But the thing is, the Huz got so busy with theatre that the “house husband” tasks were falling behind. He didn’t want to relent because no one sees theatre as a real or full time job and he should be able to keep up with the laundry and design sound and send out rehearsal reports and and and. But the truth of it is – he is working more hours than I am. So when he was at tech rehearsal (for 23 hours in 2 days) and I took over the laundry after our vacation, he pouted a little and felt disappointed but realized how much happier we both were that is was done. And we were unpacked. And the dishes were done. And I didn’t have to sit in a dirty house so as not to hurt his feelings. And I know where his belt is when he can’t find it. And I know what is washed and where it’s hanging. I am looking forward to more days where we find ways to respectfully help each other with household chores.
  • The unknown. I am in a rut because I expect a rut. But what happens if I expect that anything can happen? Would anyone die if I injected some of my silly (so loved by my nephews) into my everyday life and just did things that were fun? Be spontaneous! Be decisive! Take charge of time instead of wasting it on the iPad! Go outside! Drive to Memphis!

So anyway, I guess that’s about it for one day. I am resolved to embrace what I have, aspire to something greater but not so much that I am miserable today.

Best of luck in 2015. I hope it is no worse for you than your 2014 but of course wish you better results for this year.