Yes, I know, no one has to say it, people die all the time. In the last week, it was a friend’s grandfather, another friend’s grandmother and of course, the most tragic – our friends, the three Altmans, in the plane crash over the Hudson. Today it was Aunt Cookie. Yes, her name is Cookie and she is not really my aunt. She is my best friend’s mother. She died, today…
She was never going to die. She was tough, smart, funny, sometimes a little nasty, but made of stone. How could she die? I imagined her outliving everyone…
Sadness, death, grief… I don’t want to talk about it. I feel like since I already lost my Dad years ago, I did enough talk and thought about grief to last a very very long time. I will talk about grief’s nasty cousin called, “relief.” Grief and relief even rhyme… I could not have planned this any better.
First though, I have received phone calls about all deaths I just mentioned on my cell phone, and I don’t have to wonder why when the phone rings, I automatically dont want to answer it and it makes me have to pee. It’s bizarre, and probably too much information for the world wide web, but as soon as the phone rings, I have to pee. Its a nervous twitch from so many years of bad news on the phone. There are the calls with the REALLY bad news and then there are the usual bad news calls I get. I think there are four categories of general bad calls:
My mom: Bad news from her is in the form of: “I can’t find my glasses.” ” My hearing aide is not working.” ” The new phone you just bought doesn’t work.” ” Can you come here and clean up the spill I just made.” Her other kind of calls, come from her “I just fell and I can’t get up” monitoring service when she pushes the button. They call and say, ” Hello, this is Lifeline with a call for… and then they have this super long introduction and everytime I yell at them and say, “just tell me what happened, I don’t need the introduction!”
The kid calls: ” Hi, this is Moss school nurse calling, Max failed the eye test today.” “Hi, this is Moss school nurse calling, Max failed the hearing test today.” ” Hi, this is Camp Yachad, Max pooped in the pool.” “Hi, this is Dr. Santiago’s office, Sophie has strep throat.”
The general information calls: ” You didn’t pay your phone bill.” “You have a dentist appointment tomorrow.” ” No, I cannot babysit on Saturday night.”
The work calls: The “why haven’t you returned my calls?” call or the boss calls, ” we are still waiting for you to finish your grades.”
But, nothing is worse than the somebody died call. Even in the pit of despair for someone else’s loss, even if I will miss the person terribly, there is some sort of relief that washes over me that it is not MY mother, MY husband, MY…
I think, because I know, having lived long enough to have had real grief, that sometimes it is mine, and someday it might be… but I am still selfishly thankful for not making it mine today.