Sunday, November 29, 2009

One Month Later

One month later... I am sitting er working in a clothing shop on Main Street Ventura California on a warm November day. The sun is out and its a beautiful autumn SoCal day. We had 2 customers come through so far... lookie-loos. Touched everything in the shop. Bought nothing.

So as I sit here with time on my hands I ponder this last month and type in the rhythm of the Latin tunes on the ipod. (If my high school typing teacher had played Latin music in class I would have been a primo typist... but I digress)

So I sit and ponder this last month of November. It is not anything I expected. What did I expect... the same ol' thang. But when is it ever the same ol' thing...

As of November 1 I had already spent 6 days in my new home. I found the perfect little Hobbit House on October 20 & moved October 24-25. That happened so fast my head was spinning. Meanwhile I was coordinating costumes on two large cast shows- one to open mid-November and the other mid-December.

Then one day I was checking Face Book to see what everyone was doing and I saw a posting from a cousin... her dad (my first cousin) had just been admitted to the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus Ohio. Last I heard in June her dad was recovering from surgery that had to do with cancer. Major surgery but he made it through.

10 days later I was flying to Columbus to say good-bye to my dear cousin. The crazy thing is that I had not seen him in 12 years. How could he be so dear. But he was that dear. My sister who lives on the east coast was able to make the 7 hour drive to Ohio. She called me after seeing him a week after the FB note and said "If you want to say good-bye you better get here fast."

You know how we always say to our dear friends & family "When life gets really bad I'll be there for you." Well this was that time. This is the time when you have to be a braveheart and face the reality of mortality. It's one thing to bury your grandparents and parents- which I have done. But this is different. Now it's a contemporary relation. It's my cousin that I grew up with and shared a lot of great memories with.

Could I not go see him one last time? What am I suppose to say to someone who is dieing? Could I look him in the eye while he laid in a hospital bed hooked up to numerous machines? Could I hold his hand & make him chuckle one last time? Could I afford it? Did I have time? He's so far away.

This was the time when nothing else matters- you drop everything and go. Because really what is this whole crazy Life about? Honestly it baffles me most of the time but I believe that the bottom line is not money, success, or material objects. It's not how many college degrees you have or what kind of car you drive. I believe it is all about love and our relationship to each other. How do we care for each other? Do we forgive each other? Do we communicate our true feelings to the ones that matter?

My flight left Tuesday morning out of LAX and I connected to another flight in St. Louis to Milwaukee and finally Columbus. I'm not even sure how long it took me to get there but it was a long ass day.

I spent Wednesday & Thursday with my dear cuz. Mostly I sat in the room with him. I didn't have to say much just be there. I was able to look him in the eye and tell him I loved him and I was glad that I came to visit him.

The following week he died, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I was home baking pies with a friend. We were watching movies while we whirled around my small kitchen. My cell phone beeped and it was a text. It was from another cousin, my sick cousin's sister and it said he was gone.

While I was sad to see him go, I was mostly relieved. He was a happy, funny, animated guy and to see him incapacitated was not right.

I cried when I had to tell one of my aunts but other than that I cried mostly before I went to Columbus. I cried after I said good-bye to him in the hospital. And I am misty right now as I write because I miss him.

After going through many deaths of close relations I have learned that the tears come when they come and I let them come when ever they show up. Sometimes its hard because I am working or I am in line at the grocery store and people get uncomfortable. At some point I figured out that it didn't matter that I had to cry when I needed to.

As I move forward I am re-newed with a sense of the NOW. Trying to keep fresh the idea of what is important. When I received the text regarding my cousin's passing I was watching Moulin Rouge. And the big statement that the bohemians were striving for in "Spectacular Spectacular" was that it is more important to love than to be loved. And I want to keep that in mind for this beautiful Sunday.