This week a quick, quiet moment to be silly in the middle of a whole bunch of shit.
We lost a dear family friend and it still doesn't seem quite real yet.
I took Sonny to school last Friday as Lou was speeding towards us on the train. In the quiet of the morning, I couldn't resist taking advantage of the fresh snow to build a snowman. Even if it was just me, 37 years old, hunched over a baby lump of snow coaxing it to grow with my slow rolls down the sidewalk, I knew it was what my soul needed. I love fashioning their smiles and finding a hat for their heads. I like thinking of people driving down the road giggling at me building him. I needed the quiet of the fresh snow to take a step back from being sad.
I have lost many people in my family and friends that I'd call family. I've learned what gives me comfort and I guess you might call it my golden rule for life. Make sure the people that are important to your heart know in their hearts how you feel.
My mom was also my first example of learning to laugh through the bad times. I was 24 the first time I'd really experienced a death that shook me to my core. My niece that I'd basically raised, died suddenly. My Mom and I were in shock. But I'll always remember sitting around a long table at the funeral home; my Mom, me, my uncle, and my sister, attending to all of the details. It was sobering to realize all of the things we had to decide at a time when we just wanted to quit everything. We wrote the obituary, picked out caskets, set times for visitation, chose clothes etc. So many choices. Music, photographs, programs, pall bearers. At one point the man helping us through this process left the room and my Mom leaned across the table to say that the pen she was using was amazing. She said, "You see how he makes sure he gets it back from me after every signature? I want that pen." He came back and the planning process continued. As we were walking to the car, my Mom pulled that pen from her purse. All of us dissolved into laughter. It felt good.
I shared a moment like that with C Friday when she whispered, "You know she'd be saying, 'Seriously? The median age is 62? That figures.'" It is exactly what she would have been saying.
Another thing I believe in is doing something for myself that honors those I've lost. I signed up for the bone marrow registry after my niece died. Still ready to get a call and help a family.
For Shanti, I'm going to write a 3 Minute Fiction submission for NPR. Writing was such a big part of our relationship, and we'd always talked about creating a final submission. I even stumbled across some we'd started at work one day. So in her memory, I will carefully choose 600 words before the deadline and send it out into the world. I think that would be a great way to honor our friendship. It was one that will be impossible to forget.