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    Thursday, September 4, 2008

    Put On A Happy Face, OR The Bullshit Facade

    My god, this week feels like it's been my whole life. She's only been dead since Tuesday morning but it feels like forever since I was happy, or able to even fake it well.

    But, that's what the world requires of us, isn't it? Smile, smile, smile. It's not the McDonald's drive thru cashier's problem that my best friend seized and died in her husband's arms on the morning after their wedding anniversary, right? So when she says "How are you today, ma'am?", what do I say?

    "I'm good, thanks!"

    Because we all know, when someone asks how you are, the last thing they really want to know is how you are. They want the standard bullshit response. And so I give it. But the response in my head is much different. She's lucky I was raised right. Otherwise she'd have gotten this:

    "Well, it's funny you asked, um, Maria, is it? My best friend fucking DIED two days ago, and I have to drive five hours tomorrow to go and look at her in a box, wearing super-cute maternity clothes she just bought and never got to wear while she could, you know, BREATHE and stuff, but hey - at least she gets to wear them, right? She doesn't have, you know, organs or eyes or blood anymore, but at least they'll probably fuck up her hair and not do her make up right, that'll be nice. Let's see, what else? Oh, I'm sick that I have to leave my kids overnight again for such an awful reason, have to miss Samantha's third day of preschool, and the mom voice in my head that KNOWS Samantha can't handle a funeral is fighting with the pseudo-Aimee voice in my head who says Samantha should get to go if she wants to. Aimee had a real soft spot for Samantha, even made her the flower girl when she married Nik. She was really looking forward to watching Samantha and Jackson grow up...maybe even some kids of her own. At least one - the one she was carrying.

    But hey, instead, she gets to rot in the ground and have NO rest-of-her-life, while her husband dies inside and her dogs wonder where in the hell Mommy went, and while her best friend tries to find a way to stop the persistent screaming that's going on in her head, bellowing, sobbing and moaning that this cannot. be. real. This does not happen, it can't happen. Even Aimee herself would hear the story and say "NUH-UH! That is fucked up." And she'd be right. I imagine it's about what she thought as she lay there dying in her own bed "of natural causes". As if there were anything natural about a healthy 30 year old girl dropping dead in her husband's arms in their bed the day after their wedding anniversary while she's carrying their child.

    So the short answer is that I'm doing lousy. Maybe the lousy-est I've ever been in my life. And those fries better be fresh or somebody's gonna have a foot in their ass."

    But we are a civilized people, aren't we? Yes. We don't get to say what we think. That would be rude. So I'm not rude. I finish up at Mickey D's and head on home.

    As I get out of the van, the people going by on the street are so oblivious. They are NOT clued in to what's going on. It pisses me off. My heart wants me to stand on the street and scream at passers-by, demanding they explain how they can do things like deliver newspapers or fix bumpers or replace windshields or deliver pizzas, when all the while she is laying in a funeral home while they turn her into a flesh-shell, cut her pretty new clothes up the back and stick her in a box. She is supposed to be at work today, running her shiny new store, worrying about every little twinge in her belly as first-time moms do, vetoing names that her husband texts to her, mulling around how many weeks of maternity leave she will take, calling me to bitch about the little punk who just tried to shoplift from the store, to ask how Samantha likes preschool, or to laugh about everything and nothing at all. Does she get to do ANY of that shit? Right. So what makes the rest of these fuckers think they just get to go on about their business, with all the confidence in the world about their likelihood to go on breathing, living and loving? I want them to know, to see, to realize - it can all be gone in a flash, and for someone REALLY important to me, it IS gone. So how can that lawn getting mowed be ALL that much of a priority? Stop and grieve with me, and show some respect, assholes, I want to shout from my front lawn.

    But instead, I come inside and eat my fries. Beachy? No. Yummy. Yes. Maria's lucky twice today. No Red Foreman action for her.*

    I don't know how I'll ever watch South Park again. Dane Cook is definitely out. I don't know how I'll ever think of ANY of the hundreds of inside jokes we shared again without sobbing. My dear Princess Peach, McBung, Mrs Bunger, or just plain Aimee - I don't know how I'll ever look at her picture and not feel like we got completely screwed, all of us. Me, Nik, her folks, that baby, Cady and Copper, all the people who loved, admired and respected her...and especially her. We all just got royally screwed in a way I may never understand.

    Please don't tell me there's a purpose, or a reason, or that if I just have enough faith it'll all be OK. It's not OK, and I don't know if it'll EVER be OK. There is no lesson I wanted to learn that was worth her life, no moment of clarity that may come someday that I wouldn't trade for one more day with her, one more phone conversation, one more "I love you, man". So please just don't. I'm in desperate need of hugs, and prayers, and lots of support, but at the same time, I just can't handle being encouraged in the traditional ways right now. "I'm sorry", "this sucks", "let me know if I can help", and "hang in there" are all good things to hear. Everything else can go either way.

    I have GOT to start packing, or I'll be showing up there naked. And if you think it's a sad occasion NOW...

    If you're one of the people I love, I love you. Tuck that up inside your heart and carry it with you and know that I mean it. And don't forget to tell someone you love the same thing. Tomorrow, or two hours from now may be too late. Cliche? Sure, but also true. So just do it. You'll never be sorry you did, but you might be sorry if you don't.

    *Am I making light of my dear, sweet, awesome friend's death? No. I'm coping. In a way that SHE would think is funny as hell. So frankly if you don't like it, or think it's inappropriate, that's too fucking bad. I mean that in the nicest way possible. Thank you, please drive thru, and come again.


    Jazz said...

    I am so, so sorry Cathy. I wish I could give you a real life (((hug)).

    Missives From Suburbia said...

    So I took your advice and told my kid I love him. He replied, "Okay. Me Momma, chocolate?" which I'm sure means, "I love you too, Momma." Right? Right.

    Babe, anyone offers you false platitudes, you just give me their number, and I'll call and give them the verbal box-kicking they deserve. In the meantime, I love you, and I'm so sorry.