Thursday, August 30, 2012

Day 75 - Tom's wake

Most of today was spent in happy, relaxed summer activities. I wove a bit; I walked the beach (3.5 miles again, wet shoes, wet socks, wet feet, ah! my first time since my diagnosis); I ate blueberries and potato chips; I did the sudokus and crossword puzzles. Another day of ordinary ordinariness.

In the evening, however, I went to the wake for one of my CHH co-worker's husband. He was 55 years old and died at work on a construction site when he was hit by a cement truck. I keep thinking of how, perhaps even more than with the leukemia diagnosis, this has a before and an after that have a huge rent in between them and how can one put the two together? I looked for a reference on the internet, but I know I have seen pictures of those narrow but incredibly deep holes that form occasionally at fault lines after earthquakes. That is what I imagine it as looking like. Life before, life after, and in between this unfathomably deep fault in the earth's surface that is so narrow you could step across it.

Despite the fact that his death was tragic and shocking, the wake was really lovely. His children were beautiful and gracious (they're all in their mid 20's or so), his brothers and sisters were kind, engaging and so beautifully supportive of their mother. His co-workers were shocked and grieving him strongly, but the man behind me in line told some nice stories about Tom and made me feel sad that I had not had the chance to know him in life. His mother was beautiful and so deeply calm while being very very sad. I was glad to have gone.

A couple times when I was talking with people, I made reference to my leukemia and pointed to my bald head by way of corroboration and both times people seemed surprised by it, as though they thought I was bald as a fashion statement. I was super dolled up--nylons, fancy dress, necklace and earrings so maybe that had something to do with it and neither of them knew me, but wow! if I do the rest of the outfit right, my pate can pass for a fashion statement. Perhaps. Yes, me and Sinead, intentionally bald and beautiful.

After walking seven miles in two days and then standing for an hour in Dansko's my knees are really talking to me tonight. I am going to take them to bed a little early and see if sleep doesn't quiet their voices. I sure hope it does because I have a request for a bike ride tomorrow that I really want to honor. It will be our first of the summer.

I was quite moved at the wake; one of Tom's siblings said that he never wasted time and was always doing something, especially if that something was having fun. It made me think about how he did not have as much time as one would have assumed he would have. It is not hard to draw a lesson here.

I feel like I am a pretty good lesson-finder. I hope I am as good at learning them. I hope you are also learning what you want to and what you need to from your life. I also hope you have a safe and fun Labor Day weekend.

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