Death, cat pee and ink stains

“Not only are there no happy endings,” she told him, “there aren’t even any endings.”
–Neil Gaiman

The notice that the divorce was final came in the mail on the same day she faxed in the paperwork to have her father cremated. There were technical difficulties, and she got ink all over her hands and dress trying to clear a jam in the printer. Which seemed a bit unfair, since it wasn’t even her printer in the first place.

It was, she thought, not a propitious start to the New Year in the traditional sense. For someone like her? It was ideal. Rife with possibilities for testing her newly resolved upon positivity and desire to see silver linings in every situation.

She had also resolved to be the sort of person who used words like rife and propitious openly instead of only thinking them. The sort of person who doesn’t assume that other people won’t understand what she is talking about. The sort of person who doesn’t assume that other people don’t have good vocabularies. A devil-may-care sort of person.

If she couldn’t find silver linings in Death and Divorce, then she clearly was not trying hard enough. After all, endings and beginnings are exactly the same thing, and everyone loves a good beginning. Or something. Right?

She wasn’t sure if there was a silver lining in getting ink on her favorite dress though. For someone her size, it wasn’t going to be easy to find one she looked as pretty in, and that stain was never going to come out completely.

What else doesn’t come out completely, she wondered?

Cat pee. You scrub and scrub, but every time it dries out the stain and smell come back.

Maybe it was OK not to find a silver lining in the dress, but it would be pretty cool if it actually had a silver lining. Stiff, though.

Silver is antimicrobial. Maybe it would keep cat pee from smelling if it did get on things. Like her stiff dress.

Her third resolution was to become the sort of person who was more focused and goal oriented. She would be laser sharp. Or was it razor? Always right on task. What were you supposed to use to get ink out? Was it hair spray? She wasn’t sure she had any hair spray now that her hair was short.

Some day she would figure out that there was not a thing wrong with the person that she already was. This would be quite a surprise to her. Considering how much thought she gave to her own flaws, the only real surprise was that she would be surprised about anything about herself at all.

Random notes about being sick

When I am sick, and any relative more than 15 years older is in the house, I feel like a little kid. That is true to some extent at all times, but never more so than when I am sick.

“Maybe,” my little brother would say, “it is because you act like a baby.”

“Shut up,” I would answer if he said it, “this is not your blog.”

Being sick can be scary. It wasn’t scary to be sick in Boise at my Aunt’s house. It was embarrassing. The timing was terrible. I was worried about making the kind of mess in someone else’s house that you wouldn’t even want to make in your own. But I wasn’t scared. My Aunt and Uncle were there. My little brother the RN was there, my sister-in-law the pharmacist was there. I didn’t have to worry too much about a disaster, other than terminal embarrassment. Not that anyone would have made me feel embarrassed except me. You know how that is.

Being sick is scary when you are alone.

When I was 20, I got very sick about a month or so after I moved to France. I didn’t really know anyone yet, except this guy I had just started dating. I didn’t have a telephone. The only bathroom in the building was shared, and down a steep, slippery set of stairs. I was sick enough that I was pretty unsteady on my feet, and it was the type of sick that made having a toilet nearby more than a convenience. In the middle of the night, I slipped going down the stairs. I was very proud of myself for not throwing up on my way down. I also managed not to scream and wake up the neighbors. I had a very impressive bruise on one side where I landed. When I managed to limp back upstairs, it occurred to me that something Very Bad could have happened.

It did.

The next day, my new boyfriend brought me the Persian soup his mother used to make for him when he was sick, and I threw up on him. When you are twenty, that is a far more scary thing than death or disability. It didn’t scare him away, but he didn’t make me Ash Reshteh again either. I’m sure it is delicious, but you just don’t put green soup with sour cream in it in front of someone who is already turning green herself. It’s just a bad plan.

He stayed at my place and slept on a mattress on the floor until I was well enough to get downstairs without falling. Even though I was 20, and there were no “real” adults around, I felt like a little kid because someone was taking care of me.

I wonder if that feeling ever goes away?

The scary part probably never does.

Today I am playing grownup, a little, to my sick roommate. I brought her a thermometer and ice chips. Made sure we had crackers and ginger ale. It’s just an act though.

Everyone knows my little brother is the real grownup sibling.

And yes. There is an obvious connection here that should be made, but I don’t know if it will be. My Dad. He lived alone, but his little sister who is the grown up one (like my own little brother is) looked after him as much as he would let her.

I wonder if he felt like a little kid the way I do when I get sick. Or if he felt like that all the time.

That is a kind of sick and alone I don’t think I am ready to think about or write about at this point.

Am I being chicken? For sure.

Maybe it’s for another day. It’s not something I would be very motivated to tell. Partly because it’s mostly not my story. Mostly because it’s not a story that I come off well in.

It’s in there though.

A long week

After a very long and challenging week on many levels, I am home in my own bed again.

A death, a trip, an illness, a change in marital status, a game lost…but also spending time with my family in Boise, laughing at my brother constantly quizzing his wife about music all the way to and from Idaho, meeting new additions to the family for the first time, connecting with friends…

It is, thankfully, not often that you lose a parent and get a divorce in the same week..if you do, I would suggest that you borrow my family. They’re pretty great to be around during personal disasters.

Thank you so much to the Boise clan and Diane for taking care of my frequently difficult Dad. He loved you all very much, even if he was not often apt to demonstrate it.

Every ending is either the beginning of something or helps you see one.
Every bad thing really does have a silver lining if you look. Even vomit. Really.
Dogs truly are Zen masters.
Everything is better if you are surrounded by people who know how to enjoy life and know that even the saddest times contain a lot of laughter.

Rest in peace, Dad.