On Polka Dots.

posted in: Family 3
Two seconds later, I was crying -- again. Photo: Luke.
Two seconds later, I was crying — again. Photo: Luke (or Sophie?? I literally couldn’t see.)

My birthday, though I didn’t feel much like celebrating the night before, ended up being terrific because of a friend. Actually, several. This means you.

First, the picture:

I look sorta bug-eyed, don’t I? Well, I am, because I am 2 seconds away from losing it because my sweet Sophie made me The Best Birthday Cake I Ever Had. Why? Oh, no reason. Just that she baked colored cupcakes and then put the colored cupcakes inside the pan before she poured in the white batter so that when she cut the cake, there were big, happy polka dots inside the cake. Some people get Funfetti frosting. I got a Funfetti cake. Some people get “friends.” I get Sophie.

Sophie is a polka dot in human form. She erases evil. She is pure good.

The other friends to thank would be you guys.

I hit “Forward”, psychically-speaking, on every encouragement that came my way starting Wednesday — there was so much. I’m not where all that grace must land first, though, so when I get to Iowa (I’ve booked a flight for Wednesday), I’ll be invisibly heaping all of your love, prayers, and compassion on those who need it more than I do. It will be felt.

Goodnight, ya crazy polka dots.




Honestly, Birthday?

posted in: Family 2
Candles n' cake. Image: Wikipedia.
Candles n’ cake. Image: Wikipedia.

I mentioned the other day there’s something I want for my birthday. It’s here, now: in less than an hour, I’ll be 37. I planned on asking for a present. Only you can give it to me, it won’t cost anything and you don’t even have to get up. Sounds easy enough.

But then Megann died and I don’t feel like asking for anything. I don’t want anything.

Unless of course someone can remove the lead weights from the hearts of the people I love who suffer so terribly tonight. How much does that cost? How far must a person travel to do that? I swear, leave the weight with me. I’ll deal with it. Take theirs.

There are diamonds maybe a mile from my front door. Right now, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of diamonds in silk and velvet pouches in the Cartier and the Tiffany shops on Michigan Avenue. Under bulletproof glass, insured for billions, coveted around the world – those jewels are pebbles, worthless, every facet on every stone an insult to a woman who has just lost her child. Take your diamonds and choke the toilet with them. I’ll help you. I’ll help you see what they’re worth tonight.

Yesterday hurt more Wednesday. Today hurts more than yesterday did. I haven’t had the pleasure of grieving for a young person’s death in awhile; I forgot the way it twists and bends back on you, how it ebbs and then breaks all the levees. I keep having these other memories of my cousin and I keep seeing her smile and laugh at Christmas. Stuff I haven’t remembered in years. Oh, god. Oh, honey.

“It’s harder every day because of the permanence,” my sister said.

When someone uses precisely the right word, it clicks in the mind; when Rebecca said “permanence,” an iron door, rusty, old, as high as a castle wall came down in mine. It’s harder every day because of the permanence. I can’t believe I’ll never see her again.

If I don’t tell you about the damned present you’ll think I’m being dramatic. Look, I wanted to make a cute post full of links to various PaperGirl entries that folks seemed to really enjoy and I wanted you to send it to five of your friends. I love you guys much and I figure such lovable people probably know others who would like the blog, too – and I don’t use your reputation lightly and have never asked for referrals before. But I can’t do it. Writing something “cute” would feel like bamboo shoots under my fingernails. And I won’t ask you to recommend your friends meet me like this.

Maybe tomorrow.


At The Table.

posted in: Family 3
Closeup, mini-light. Photo: Wikipedia.
Closeup, mini-light. Photo: Wikipedia.

A Christmas light went out yesterday.

I’m sorry to be cryptic, but the details simply aren’t mine to give, nor would I give them this soon, even if they were. It’s just that someone precious died, and it wasn’t time, and it wasn’t okay, and it won’t ever, ever be. Hearts all over the place are just busted up like you can’t believe because you can’t believe how these things can happen and then they happen and you’ve got busted hearts everywhere.

This post is a request.

Do not delay. Tell the family member, the friend, the lover, the spouse, the pet you love that you love them – today. Make a better choice with a behavior today. We fall short. We are cursed with our own humanity. But all around there are acts of love and kindness and you just have to try to be a part of that. Be a part of that. In the short term or the long, hopefully both.

We cannot lose sight of that. We don’t have that kind of time.

I’ll miss seeing you at the table, sweetheart. I love you.