Tuesday, January 16, 2007

On Death and Dying - Loving and Living

Last night at dinner my husband rolled his eyes once again as someone mentioned the little girl around the corner who died when she was 17 and her car flipped over. We had the date of her death confused with the much littler girl who died at about 6 on Mother's Day and her Mother ultimately committed suicide.

My husband has been untouched by people dying at the wrong age.

Now, someone more devout than I am might say that everyone dies at the right age. They would argue that G-d doesn't make mistakes. I understand the argument, I hear it and I even respect that those are their beliefs but I can't believe that a mother should bury her child.

I'm raising Adam and Eve and I understand with great clarity that the way that I will affect change in the world is to raise two people who are committed to making each day better for someone around them. They don't have to be activists or selfless giving doormats but they need to be kind and aware of their surroundings and their impact on it. I have the double blessing of a boy and girl and for a few moments every day I get to look at the world through their eyes.

This morning I looked at the play yard when I dropped Adam off and I saw it as a scary and overwhelming place. Adam is anxious each Monday (or Tuesday if there is no school on Monday) and when you're a tiny little guy trying to find a friend on a big playground before school I can understand the stress. Now we bring the dog with us on Mondays and the other kids come to us. Adam gets to show off his dog and doesn't have to go looking for a friend.

Eve looks forward to school each day. She runs onto that yard and jumps in line for tetherball. She's actually quite good but even in line she has a lot to do. There are people to talk to, outfits to compliment, hair to braid and the weekend (or evening before) to discuss. My kids are very different people, Eve is the one I understand more, she is more like me. Perhaps that is why I find Adam so fascinating.

I love my children more than anything in the world. If an angel came from heaven and asked me if I'd die this moment to ensure my children have a long and happy life I'd be dead with a handshake.

This brings me back to Jackie, DSteven's mother. I've known Jackie for many years now. We've spoken on the phone for 20 years and we share a deep love for Steven. We both keep his secrets with a wink and a nod because they really aren't very secret, only to him.

I made a weeping Jackie eat and shower two years ago when Steven had a triple bypass. I assured her that her baby would still be there when she returned to the hospital. I promised her that a shower and some food would make her feel better. We both knew that I couldn't make those promises, we both knew that they were prayers and wishes uttered out loud and we both rejoiced when they came true and Jackie was fed and Steven was still alive.

Jackie's eldest son died of AIDS in the late 80's. Jackie survived that, she will survive this. She has two daughters, they all need each other.

I suspect I have needs about all of this, I just don't know what they are and I'm quite certain they won't be met.

I'm very disappointed in Steven and his will. He left nothing to charity and not enough (in my mind) to his partner. APLA has taken care of him for years, this is his opportunity to give back. I'm more than a little shaken that even in death he won't be giving. I know Steven is not a giver, I'd hoped that when he heard the Angel Gabriel call his name, that in his panic to have a last will and testament he would give back to those who worked so tirelessly for him.

He hasn't yet and he likely never will.

It's very difficult loving someone who will die without ever having self actualized. It's a love without judgment that I find very difficult, a love without disdain and without pity.

I also realize that the real tragedy is that Steven is leaving the world without completing what he needed to do. Even the children that I loved and lost understood how to give wholly and freely and how to derive pleasure from that. Steven will die without having given of himself and I pity him even though I don't want to.

I wonder if Jackie, Steven's mother, feels like a failure? I'm not sure she isn't even though that's an unbelievably cruel thing to think and say. I will only say it here with all the anonymity a blog offers.


Kenn Chaplin said...

I very much appreciate your comments to my blog, particularly as you go through real-time loss of your own, for which I am sorry.

Cyber-hugs don't come close to the real thing but I offer it anyway.

It is good to have another important blog to link to!


A Citizen said...

Why do you find it hard to love someone without judgement?

I find that even people that aren't givers, are put on this earth as teachers- and by their example- hopefully make us all better people.

Cristi said...

I loved what you said about giving your life to assure happiness for your children.

Self actualization. Self preservation. Being selfish. Steven's values questionable, but understandable on some level.

VickieLynnHomies said...

Oh yes.. I quoted you. I can edit it and and put your name on there. It was a beautiful quote.