Michele · seizures

Selfish to the End

Sometimes watching a television show, or reading a certain book will start me on a train of thought I never imagined taking. I’ve spent the last few weeks watching the HBO series ‘Six Feet Under‘ and it has me thinking about death. Big surprise that a series revolving around a funeral home would take me there, huh?

I’m not having dark, goth thoughts, or seeing dead people like some Haley Joel Osmet wannabe. I’m not wondering about what it feels like to be dead, although I used to, once upon a time. Occasionally, the show has sparked a severe pang of regret, a wallop of a reminder of how much I miss those I’ve lost, and how much it still hurts. Mostly, what it has made me think about is planning. We never really know what is going to happen in life, and there are things that should be on paper.

For years I had what is known in Oregon and Washington as a ‘Advance Directive’ filled out, stating what I wanted done in case of a medical emergency, and who I wanted to make those decisions for me. My sister was my designated person, since she knew my wishes, and can keep a calm head. After Steven and I got engaged, I changed that paperwork, naming him. He was irate to read that I had a DNR order in case or a severe trauma. The idea of being kept alive by machines is totally appalling to me, simply abhorrent. I know now that if something had happened to me while his name was on that paperwork, he’d have been fine with keeping me all Sunny Von Bulowed, if only so he could play the martyr. ¬†Needless to say, his name is no longer on my papers.

I realize it is a bit grim to be thinking these kind of thoughts on a warm Spring evening, yet my mind goes back to the number of times I have awakened in an ambulance or hospital bed, and I can’t help but wonder. What is going to happen if I have a seizure some day and don’t wake up? I do not want things to be any more difficult for my loved ones than they need to be, and more than anything, I want things done MY WAY! Really, what is the point of a memorial service if it isn’t done the way I want it? Seriously. I would be so pissed off if I looked down from Heaven and realized that they were playing “The Wind Beneath My Wings” at my service! Or if someone had the nerve to bury me in uncomfortable clothes! I swear, I refuse to go to my eternal rest wearing pantyhose and heels!

Yeah, that’s me. Selfish to the end.



BFF · breast cancer · cancer · Michele · reading · Shel · tears · writing

A Howling

I’m writing this post on an airplane to Grand Junction, where tomorrow we’re having a memorial service for Michele. Whenever mother called to tell me of the service, and ask if I would like to say something, there was never any doubt in my mind. Yes.
That was just over a week ago, and I am still unsure what I’ll be saying tomorrow.

Since Michele died in April, there has been a gaping hole in my life. A small tear that opened when she first told me she was sick, and grew larger with each progression of theater, until that day when she was gone. Leaving this rent in the fabric of my world. Our world, for there are many of us grieving her.
I’ve tried to read books by others who have lost loved ones, but never repast the first few chapters. Then I either begin crying so hard I can no longer see the page, or I become annoyed at the self-righteous tone taken by some, and my anger overflows. Either way , I end up crying.
While reading ‘Wild’¬† by Cheryl Strayed, a memoir about a woman who hikes the Pacific Crest Trail after her mother dies of cancer, I stumbled on a passage that summed up exactly how I have felt in the last year.
“I almost howled in agony. I almost choked to death on what I knew…. I was going to live the rest of my life without my mother.”
Strayed says she felt this way from the moment her mother received her diagnosis; her cancer was so advanced there was no hope. Yet for me, these words say exactly how I have felt since I received that phone call, saying Shel was gone.
Inside my mind, my soul, there is a constant howling, a never ending scream of pain and sadness, loss and grief. The person I loved most in the world is gone, and I am alone. For the rest of my life.
We will never race wheelchairs through the rest home, and annoy the nurses. We’ll never make it to see Barry Manilow sing in Vegas, or do our Copa dance wearing the feathered hats we made. I’ll have to sit through the next class reunion alone. And without her, I have nobody to call and tell my life to.
Every day I miss her. That will never end. I believe the noise of grief inside me will quiet down; I’m hoping tomorrow’s memorial will help with that.
Until we are together again, I will grieve. I miss you, Michele.