Friday, March 26, 2010

Life and Death

Death sucks.  There is no way around it.  As Siggy said in 'What About Bob?', "There's no way out of it.  You're going to die.  I'm going to die.  It's going to happen.  What difference does it make if it's tomorrow or in 80 years?"

I am 30 years old and I feel like death has become somewhat of a normal event in my life.  Maybe that is just the way it goes when you're from a large family. And with 7,431 cousins...it's really going to suck in say forty years when we all start kickin' it!

I have had to deal with more death in my life than any of my friends my age (that I can think of).  Their lives' seem to be this care-free bubble that seems so picturesque.   In their 20s and 30s with parents who still pay their phone bills, or car payments.  Parents that they can rely on to cover (financially) any car problems or rent payments if something comes up.  Parents that help pay for their college and help put food on the table.  I hope they realize how lucky they are.  I never had that, and now I somehow have that even less.

Death causes a lot of different reactions inside of you.  I'd be lying if I said that I don't believe it's made me bitter or callused in any way, because it has.  I've lost so many people in my life that it's ridiculous.  Five years ago next month, I lost my best friend, Pam.  And then, in just over a year, there has been a steady flow of them; My Aunt Lu (dad's sister), Vache (our 16yr old cat), my Mom, my Uncle Eric (mom's brother), my friend Eddie (like a father to me), my Aunt Margie (Grandma's youngest sister)... it's insane.

Death comes to us all.  "Death is the destiny of every man, the living should take this to heart." -Bible.  It's true.  But why does it seem to never affect certain people?  It's an oddity.  I mean, it will, eventually.  There's no doubt about that.  It's just surreal to see people my age having it so easy and yet complaining about it.  Really?  REALLY?

As I lose more of those close to me, I realize how 'conditional' friendships are - yet how the bond of blood is so very strong.  I cannot tell you how many people I have felt completely let down by in the past month.  And then something, like a death, happens in the family and you realize that even in the midst of the hardest times...regardless of faith, beliefs, politics, hurts, etc. family comes together.  Family eventually sees beyond all of that, even their own agendas, and is there.

On Tuesday I will attend my Aunt's funeral.  There will be tears, there will probably be a lot of laughs, but it's like saying goodbye to an era.  Within a year the oldest living members left on that side of the family have passed away.  I can't help but feel as though we've lost so much of our history.  The stories I heard so many times as a child seem to be the very things I'm struggling to hold on to - praying that they don't slip away.  Hoping that by some small chance the details remembered are at least somewhat accurate...  I suppose that's how it's always been though.  Memories live on through stories.  Eventually those stories become less and less accurate, but the love and laughter will always remain.  I come from a family that is rich with that.

8 comments:

Sarah said...

can we be friends soon please? thanks.

Just Tryin' To Be Real said...

Heidi... First off, I value you and your blog. I'm glad that you are so transparent. I wouldn't want it any other way. Who needs sugar coated crap in this life? Not I.

It is true, I haven't dealt with much death in my life. And I think that you are amazing that you are still holding on when you have obviously been shaken in EVERY possible way...

Lily Cate said...

Somehow, because we never had Grandma Ruth, we've always seemed like a rudderless family.
It's very humbling to think of who the elders are now...

Yes, it's me. said...

Sarah - yes.
Tina - I heart you.
Lindsey - Wow. And so true. Ours is a large family with very few (living) generations...

I can think back over the years of Laura and I living together, where we'd get the Kenosha news and they'd do that photo bit where they recognize 4 generations of women in a fam or something. You know, from baby to Great Grandma. Laura and I would always be like, what the crap!? We have Mom! Hahaha! Dude, now we don't even have THAT! We're hopeless. HAHAHAHA!

Yes, it's me. said...

Also, worthwhile to note, my best friend's cousin died minutes after I posted this blog. No lie. We grew up babysitting and hanging out with him. Death. Go figure.

BeeKay said...

I'm sorry about your aunt, Heidi. My mom just took her friend in for cancer-related surgery yesterday, and it turned into a fiasco, they weren't able do what they were supposed to do, and the friend wound up in the ICU for a night and still needing radiation (which she wanted the surgery to avoid.) Screw sickness, in general.

Also interesting how some people have the parents you're talking about (helping them financially, etc.) and yet their siblings somehow do not have the same set of parents.

Yes, it's me. said...

Hahaha! Oh man, I'm obviously just laughing at your last comment and not the sickness stuff. How terrible for your Mom and her friend. Ug.

But the parents thing. SO TRUE! Luckily my parents never could afford to favor any of us, so we were all equal in that! ;)

chen said...

I wish I had something comforting to say, but I don't. I'm with you. It sucks. I am encouraged by what you mention - family - and that we still have that. I got a note from Jeff B today and he was so happy to have been together with us all. Family. He looks forward to more trips up here. The reunion. And more.

In the past we had that older generation to hold us together, and they did. Now it's left up to us to continue the traditions so that those that follow will know. We are who they were. Still. And forever - as long as we make it happen.