Thursday, January 12, 2006

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

We buried my friend today. Well, actually she went into a mausoleum. Is there any difference though, other than the lack of dirt?

The funeral was so hard. It actually hurts to think about it. But I know I will continue to think about it because the hurt will keep the memory alive. It was hard to watch them close the casket for the final time. It was hard listening to the priest tell the story of Jesus and the stations of the cross and how Jesus stumbled because he was human. Knowing that Amy stumbled to the end just made me cry. We all hugged each other so hard during the giving of the peace. My parents were crying, I am sure thinking it could easily be them in Amy's parents' situation. And C asking me not to leave her.

Amy left us. Then we left her.

This was the hardest day. I didn't want to decide what to wear to my friend's funeral. I never did send flowers. I couldn't even begin to decide what kind to get. How does one pick those things out? I told C as we pulled into the church that I didn't want to see the hearse, I didn't want a flag on our car, I didn't want to go to my friend's funeral. But I did go. I will never be the same. The utter pain and sadness I felt following her casket out of the church is indescribable.

The priest told a story about Amy's father seeing a rainbow over the church that morning even though there had not been any rain. He said it was a sign that Amy made it into heaven. Amy sent me her own sign. It came in a dream and in typical Amy fashion she said "Don't worry -- I just swallowed some of my own pills." So matter of fact. So Amy. Our last conversation. And again, I didn't get the chance to say anything. Just like in November. Somehow that dream made me feel better.

In keeping with the strangeness of the viewing, at the funeral Amy's aunt kicked someone out of the church! "Denise" said she was Amy's friend too and her aunt said "no you aren't, you never were." No idea what that was about, but very dramatic.

After the funeral, we opted to skip the family luncheon and go off on our own. We had an enjoyable and mostly happy lunch at Cracker Barrel. I think it was a beautiful bittersweet ending to a terrible, terrible day. Later that night my cousin called to tell me she is pregnant.

Amy sent me another sign. The pregnancy is my rainbow.

You are Beautiful

Today I went to the funeral home to "view" my friend. What a terrible thought. And I guess I was crazy because I expected her to just be Amy, same ol' Amy, lying in the casket. But it wasn't her in that casket. Not even close. Seeing what she looked like made me hurt that much more because it made me realize how long it had been since I had really seen her. Was I a bad friend? Could I have helped her in some way? Probably not. But seeing her like that gave me such a violent reaction that I had to get up and walk away. After that I could not cry.

This was probably the strangest funeral viewing I have ever attended. I suppose it was the circumstances. Half the room in denial that she could take her own life and looking for other answers for her death. Still others so shocked that inappropriate thoughts and topics come out. Her parents' grief was almost unbearable to watch. Her oldest daughter has been wearing her jacket since she died and will only take it off to shower, still keeping it in the room with her. She says it smells like her mom.

I was told that my brief conversation with Amy in November was a "typical Amy experience" that most people in the room had in the past two years. She would not let anyone in. Her daughter told her grandfather that she just wanted her old mom back. This was before she died.

After a while, I was able to approach the casket, kneel down and share a moment with her. I know that she now has what she could never quite get in this life -- peace.

The memorial card at the funeral home had a poem on it that really held true. It is called "God's Garden Must Be Beautiful."

God looked around the garden, and
found an empty space.
He looked down upon the earth, and
saw your tired face.
He put his arms around you, and lifted
you to rest.
God's garden must be beautiful, for he
only takes the best.

He knew that you were weary, and he
knew you were in pain.
He knew that you would never, be
well on earth again.
He saw the roads were getting rough,
and the hills were hard to climb.
So he closed your weary eyelids, and
whispered peace be thine.

You are already missed, Amy.

Monday, January 09, 2006

When a Different Kind of Light Goes Out...

I was going to write today about my day at the bridal shower and all of the zany events, but something else has overshadowed it. One of my best friends has killed herself. And I cannot believe that I even wrote that sentence. I have known her since I was 3. I don't know how to not know her. I have to go to her funeral and see her there. And I have to look at the two children she left behind and try not to upset them anymore than they already are. I hadn't heard from her in quite some time, almost a year. I tried to track her down and finally got a five minute phone call from her telling me how hard the past year had been for her, but that she was okay and would call me soon. I never heard from her again.

Her mother tells me that she had lost everything in her life this past year including her children and her job. For someone already prone to depression, I guess that would do it. Now her mother has lost her only child and her children their only mother. And me? I lose a best friend.

I don't know how I will make it through the funeral. Actually, I am not sure how I will make it through work tomorrow. I think I will just not talk about it. Because every time I think about anything related to her I cry. B doesn't know what to do with me. He has never seen me cry. But he is sweet and holds me and hugs me. But that actually makes me sadder.

A little light inside me went out today. I will miss you Amy.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

When the Lights Go Out

While heading off to work today, I found a quarter on the ground. As I picked it up the old familiar saying went through my head "find a penny pick it up, all the day you have good luck." Now, if you know me at all then you know that I religiously pick up all pennies found for all the luck I can get. I take it as far as putting it in my shoe because I believe that is what you are supposed to do with lucky pennies (remember penny loafers?). So I am wondering, by finding a quarter do I get 25 times the good luck?

Maybe not. After having to work late, I went to pick up a pizza for dinner. No sooner than I had pulled out of the parking lot, did all of the lights down the entire block go out. I guess it was lucky I already had my pizza. Upon travelling home I found that all the lights were out on that side of the street all the way to our house. We were in complete darkness. At night. With the weather going down to 20 degrees. It wasn't so bad, I suppose. Pizza by candlelight with the cats. But after a long day I ended up falling asleep until the lights came back on two hours later. Not a minute too late. It was getting cold.

Maybe I did have some luck today.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Shoot it for me Winchester...

One of the things I wanted for the new year was a clean office. I worked hard to achieve that goal before I left on Friday. Mission accomplished! Too well, in fact. Apparently when my boss, who was on vacation last week, came in this morning before me -- he saw a dark office with nothing on the desk and thought I had quit! But, alas, I am still there. He is relieved I am sure. My secretary, on the other hand, threw my mail at me and said "I thought you were on vacation" while huffing off. Well 1 out of 2 ain't so bad, right?

Now keeping with the office theme, why do people treat the office bathroom like it is their own personal bathroom and no one else could possible see, or more importantly, hear what is going on? Today's story comes courtesy of a coworker who apparently decided to take a "bathroom break" to play Tetris on his cellphone. I assure you that is not the funny part of this story. While deep in his Tetris game, someone else comes in. My colleague keeps quiet and lays low in the handicap stall so he won't be caught playing in the bathroom, so to speak. He then hears one of our coworkers say "Shoot if for me Winchester" three times. While my colleague is pondering this phrase during its third repeat, he realizes the man has started to use the bathroom. Apparently "Winchester" was this man's "pet" name and his "pet" needed encouragement to get the job done. And if that is not disturbing enough, keep in mind that this man is in his 50s, looks like he is in his 100s, and comes equipped with his own personal morphine drip. Now do you get the complete picture? This is just about up there with the equally disturbing episode in the woman's bathroom a few months back that involved the phrase "I felt that coming" after a grunt. Can you imagine these two in the same bathroom?? Do it, I dare you. It's not pretty.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Fire & Ice

So this morning started off with a fire...not ours (thank god!). I was sitting at the computer sweeping and surfing when I smelled bacon. This made me think I should have started the day at National Coney instead with the usual oatmeal. But I digress. B comes in and asks what is going on downstairs. That is when the horrendous noise sinks in. I look outside and see a police officer. Yep, fire down below. A fire truck, two police cars, one neighbor and a huge fan.

B is convinced that our downstairs neighbor ("The Smoker") has finally fallen asleep with a cigarette dangling from her mouth and actually accuses her of that to her face (more like "smoking" with an accusatory face after she says she has a fire). But, alas, it was just a grease fire. The bacon combined with a million things next to her stove (or so says the observant neighbor). The police are smirking. B is shaking his head. I am wondering why no one has bothered to tell us that there is a fire right below us!!

After this dilemma, I grab my cell phone, to tell the world of course, but get distracted by a text message. My friend is engaged!! She got engaged early this morning but of course I didn't notice the message until later after the "fire". There had been rumors of an engagement and ring shopping and marriage and moving out of state. Apparently two of those things have happened for sure. Congrats Q!


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