Friday, November 04, 2016

And it's Friday

Wow, has this been a difficult week.

As I said on Twitter last night: I finally "broke through" and cried over my cousin's death (sometimes it takes a while for stuff to sink in). The bad news is it was at AAUW meeting...

We had had a speaker from a nearby historical site (being deliberately vague, though I might not need to)....he talked about the history of the site but what some people wanted to know was, "Is it really haunted? Have you ever seen anything?"

(This is why the vagueness. Because if the "ghost harassers" shows haven't found the site yet, I don't want any risk of them being led to it somehow)

Yes, he said, people had seen stuff. One woman reported having seen something out there.....

And you know? While I'm supposed to be an objective scientist and at best be agnostic on things like ghosts, I do kind of think maybe there are "thin places" or something.  Or what we think of as an afterlife is some kind of weird multiverse thing where we go on living in one of the multiverses. Or the Afterlife is pretty much as the Bible describes it except it IS possible for people to reach back and contact people who are left here.

I can't be totally "agnostic" on it because of the experience my cousin Betty had shortly after my cousin Tom died, how she heard noises in her house not readily explainable but that could be interpreted as Tom letting her know he was okay.

Anyway, I told this to the woman (she is an ordained minister) and then also brought up what Bonita told Chum (because she had mentioned something about how in her work as a chaplain, it seemed that it was important to let dying people know it was okay for them to let go, that the people left here would be able to go on without them). And dangit if I didn't start crying then and there.

And yeah, it's still awfully fresh for me. But then again: I hadn't seen them in more than 10 years, I hadn't really had much contact other than rare phone calls or maybe a card at Christmas. But something Wanda said reminded me: "When an older person dies, you're not necessarily mourning for them as they are now; you are remembering when they were younger and you were younger and the experiences from them" and darnit if that isn't it - I am thinking now of every family gathering when my family traveled up there and Chum and Tom (they were brothers) and Sandra and Punch and Buzz and all the people who have since left us would drop by my grandma's house or my Aunt Chickie's house and we'd sit around and talk and maybe eat a meal. And Chum was especially close to my grandmother (she babysat him when he was small) so he was around a lot. So I'm almost as much mourning those past times gone as I am mourning the fact that Chum is gone. (Because it's doubtful, anyway, that he would have recovered enough from the stroke, based on where it was and how big it was, to have a very great quality of life).

I can still hear his voice and his laugh in my memory. That northern-Michigan accent is very distinctive. (I used to be able to "do" it; I've been away for to long to be able to slip into the pattern of it). It's funny but voices tend to be what I remember of a person, before I remember faces. (That may have something to do with my difficulty of learning names-and-faces in my classes - I may be ever so slightly 'face blind').

Another thing I'm reminded of: every new loss reawakens some of the grief from the old ones. I'm thinking of Tom again this morning. (I finally decided I have forgiven him for his suicide. It took me a long time. I understood intellectually why he did it, but emotionally, I resisted being able to accept that he made that choice). And my grandmother on that side. And Aunt Chickie, who was Tom and Chum's mom.....

I guess grief is kind of like an injury, in that the torn muscle may heal up and be usable again, or the deep cut may form a scar - but if you twist just wrong or lift something just the wrong way, it starts hurting again.

At least last night I didn't have any disturbing dreams. (I've had a few lately, I think it's just concern over the state of the world and also stupid little stuff like the upset over the campus preacher thing). The only one I remembered was that I was going through some wetland soil I had collected to use as part of some germination research, and I found a little tiny (live) frog in it, and I decided to keep the frog as a pet, but had to go and buy a terrarium for it to live in and get crickets for it to eat...

There's no thought of attending Chum's funeral; even my mom (who was sort of a playmate of his when they were kids) isn't going. His request: he wanted to be cremated and just have a small, immediate-family memorial service. I respect that and frankly it makes it easier because no one at a distance feels guilty about not at least trying to get up there (which may have been his idea; he has a sister in New Mexico and I could see him not wanting her to feel obligated to come)

I am going to send a card to his wife and son. And I might look into either a stroke-research/treatment charity or some kind of support-of-veterans charity (Will have to look at Charity Navigator to see who is good) and donate a little money to them in his memory.

1 comment:

Diann Lippman said...

When Ken has his stroke and was in a coma, the first thing I told him was that I was there for him, but the decision to live or die was his alone. I said I would support him, but that it was going to be a long and difficult road. Obviously, he recovered, and it was a long road, and we traveled it together.

A friend told her mom that it was OK to leave (after lingering for weeks) and after the other sisters and their dad said the sane thing, she left them very peacefully.

I believe that hearing persists when most senses are gone, and that sometimes people to need "permission" to die. That's rather a lovely and peaceful thought.