Friday, May 25, 2012

Into the light

Yesterday was memorable. Many days aren't because no matter what you're doing, it's mostly more of the same, where you're not making memories, and just going through your regular tasks or doing things you always do. But occasionally you have a day that stands out. I'll do this chronologically.

I gave blood for the first time yesterday. It was easy, it was like getting a quick check-up, and apparently it burns 500 calories, which was news to me and made me fantasize about what I was going to eat for lunch. I felt no dizziness, no weakness, had healthy hemoglobin and got a little pin to commemorate my first time. I'll receive a blood donor card in the mail in several weeks with my blood type and I was told one donation saved the lives of three people.

And I had always heard "blood saves lives" before and thought somehow that it was extreme. But I guess you don't receive blood unless you need it to live. There are no frivolous blood transfusions. Needing blood or plasma is not take-it-or-leave-it. So that was pleasing. I saw people coming in the whole time, a steady stream filling the chairs and it was nice to see that. I think I'll do it again.

I had a hair appointment afterwards, transforming my scraggled ends and long roots into something beautiful and suitable for the wedding I'll be attending this Saturday. I always have fun at the salon. It's a nice group of women I enjoy talking to.

I made my way home slowly, stopping for a pita, for a gelato. When I got home I did a reverse lookup on a phone number that had called my cell early that morning. The voicemail was garbled and I couldn't make it out, though the number was familiar and from my hometown. And it was my buddy's parents' number. And it was my buddy's sister who called. And there were two messages on my home phone from them. And I realized something must be wrong.

It was my buddy who relayed the news on my voicemail telling me his father died suddenly of a heart attack. It was the sort of news you instantly don't believe and in the next instant realize is true. And my buddy delivered this news in a confused and foggy haze, probably because it was so hard to understand. When your father leaves the house and he's fine, he's supposed to come home. Sudden deaths are more than rattling, they can shake you out of reality.

His dad was a really great guy, too. I keep thinking about him and I can't really believe that just like that he's gone. He was a good father. You could see that in the way he spoke to his kids. He loved them and was proud of them, and truly enjoyed them as people. And he was loving and considerate of his wife and they built a new house together for their retirement years. Their marriage was enviable. Not everybody gets to find that kind of happiness.

I spent so many evenings at buddy's house with his family. We ate many meals, watched movies, had so many conversations. When Buddy and I went to college together they drove us back and forth between our college town and our hometown. When my dad threw me out, I had sanctuary at their place. They looked after Smokey and Jerry when they had nowhere else to go. This was a household that was open and full of love, and Buddy's dad was half the equation. He loved a good joke and enjoyed laughing. He smiled easily and had a swift mind. His company was easy and relaxing. I remember each evening hearing him offer to fix his wife a drink. Small sorts of chivalry and thoughtfulness peppered their routine.

And he was only in his 60s. There is no real fairness in the world when it comes to who dies. Some people try to make sense or order, but in the end, life is fragile and people who are loved and valued and needed die and leave a hole in people's lives. It's a simple truth I learned a long time ago, but it aches to think about it. And I know they're suffering and I so much want to comfort them and be there and do whatever is in my power to do. And in there needs to be consideration for not intruding too much in the delicate days of making arrangements and fielding phone calls and visits.

There's a certain helplessness. Not because I don't know what to say, but because I wish I could make the grief ache less, because it's really a shock to the system. Losing a good parent is awful. Losing one of the people in this world who loves you unconditionally is a painful milestone. I wish there was something I could do; I would do it.

No comments:

Post a Comment