Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Gallows Humor

I’m feeling pretty morbid nowadays. So dark comedy really speaks to me. From the well timed dead baby joke to Seth MacFarlane’s quip at the Oscars that “the actor who got most inside Lincoln's head was John Wilkes Booth” (cue boos from the crowd and laughter from me), I’m really jiving with the completely un-PC nature of dark humor.

I try to hold back when I’m in mixed company, but it can be difficult. I’ve been so tempted to say, “I’m giving up my mom for Lent” whenever people ask me what I’m giving up this year. I also help up a sparkly black cocktail dress at the thrift store and asked my friend if it would be inappropriate for a funeral – it certainly wasn’t haha funny, but I chuckled.

So I apologize in advance if I make a somewhat inappropriate joke. And if you have a joke you’re thinking of telling me, and it leans toward the morbid, definitely tell it – I’ll probably crack up.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My dearest Susan

I found an old box in storage when I was rummaging around looking for old pictures of my parents. I can’t remember what it was labeled as, but it was an enticing enough phrase to catch my attention. I brought it back up to my parent’s condo and opened it one evening when my dad was putting my mom to bed.

In the box were cards. Greeting cards from all occasions – your more traditional card-giving holidays like birthdays, Mother’s Day and Christmas, and your less traditional card-giving holidays like Halloween. They were all cards that my mom had collected over the years. Cards from me and my sister (mostly handmade), and cards from my dad.

The cards from my sister and I were adorable, of course. Rough sketches, lots of glitter and crazy colored construction paper. Sweet that she kept them, but more mundane – the traditional childhood craft.

But the cards from my dad.

Each card started out with an address like “My dearest Susan” or “My precious Susan.” Each had a reasonably long (and mostly indecipherable – my dad has horrible handwriting) personal note written in them, next to the standard and cheesy greeting card sentiment. They covered the span of years and of holidays, and the spectrum from comedic to heartfelt. I avoided reading the indecipherable personal notes, so as not to spy, and so as not to be grossed out by the mushy things my dad surely wrote.

And of course, as I sifted through these cards, I cried. It was so beautiful to see how much my parents love each other – my dad in giving so many cards and writing so many loving notes, and my mom in keeping every single one.

I talked to my dad about it afterwards. He said she kept all of his, and he kept all of hers. They each kept these mementos of their love throughout the years – simple and beautiful reminders of their commitment to one another.

So Happy Valentine’s Day, Mom and Dad. Thank you for teaching me how to love.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A gift, maybe

As for inflicting our sorrow on other people, one does not want to go around blathering and crying all the time. But perhaps it is our gift to others to trust them enough to share our feelings with them. It may help them deal with some of their own.  
                 --- Martha Whitmore Hickman
I worry sometimes that this blog is too personal. I wonder if adding new entries and posting links for some of them to Facebook is me just being narcissistic. I get uncomfortable when the tears just keep leaking when I’m with other people, even if I don’t want them to. And to some extent these concerns are valid – this blog is really personal, and Facebook can turn narcissistic real fast, and other people feel uncomfortable around me when I cry.

But maybe that is my gift. Maybe that’s why I’m that crazy emotional person who cries when she’s happy, when she’s sad, and anywhere in between. Maybe my vulnerability, my arm-on-my-sleeve nature is something blesses my friends, family, acquaintances, and random people on the internet.

And maybe, just maybe, if I’m lucky, this blog won’t just be cathartic for me (which it is). Maybe it will also help others deal with their crazy, uncomfortable and vulnerable emotions too.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The toxic diet of sufferless Christianity

Some awesome words by my boss' boss.
We are surprised by suffering, at least in part, because of a toxic diet of sufferless Christianity we are fed. Whether stated outright or only implied, the notion that if we follow Jesus life will always be positive, encouraging and safe for the family is a lie.
Read more of Scott's blog entry, Surprised by Suffering 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

It was always going to be a totally shit time

My mom had an MRI on Monday and they found a new brain tumor. This one is 2 inches by ½ an inch, and it wasn’t there two months ago. The doctor says that she has 2 – 3 months left.

I’ve anticipated this day – this day when they find a tumor regrowth. I’ve expected it at the last 4 MRI’s. But I wasn’t prepared for this.

I wasn’t prepared for how short 2 – 3 months feels. I wasn’t prepared for having to think about things like what the memorial service will be like, or what the living room will look like when she’s not sitting in her chair.

I wasn’t prepared for the tears that won’t stop coming, that leak out of my eyes at strange times. I wasn’t prepared for the ache that hasn’t gone away since I heard the news.

I wasn’t prepared for how loving my friends and coworkers would be, or for how supported I’d feel. I wasn’t prepared for all the sincere offers of hugs and company that I’d get.

But mostly I’m not prepared for her to die. I’m just not ready. I know that it’s been almost a year and a half coming, but I’m just not ready.

And I wasn’t prepared (and you probably weren’t either) for how much I just want to scream and curse, and mostly yell FUCK YOU to the universe.

But hey, it was always going to be a totally shit time, right?

(A gold star for you if you can guess the movie the title of this blog post came from. Two gold stars if you can describe the scene.)