Monday, March 21, 2011

Baggage Claim: You Spin Me Round

There's some baggage you never want to claim as your own. And it's not just that nasty-ass carry-on you inherited from your great-aunt. All too often it's the knock-off Louis Vuitton that, although you knew it wasn't the real thing, still made you feel special until some snotty bitch with a "real" bag came along and burst your delicate bubble.

It started with an Easter basket. For him. Not from me.

He was lucky enough to have a son who was named after him--and his tactic was to play the whole thing off as a case of mistaken identity. Of course the gift was meant for his son, not him!

This, compounded with one hinky thing after another (my robe, night gown, and other miscellaneous clothing usually left hanging in the closet was mysteriously hidden; my drawer in the bathroom was moved; he was "too tired" to have sex and "just wanted to snuggle"), led me to become highly suspicious.

Unfortunately, I was the one to discover the basket and I--despite whatever 'cool girlfriend' cred I try to have--opened the card and read it. It said, "You spin me right round baby, right round."


I think one of the handles just broke on my knock-off Vuitton.

To be completely honest, this guy was too old to know that song. He was about a decade-and-a-half older than me and not cool enough to know Dead or Alive. I had only tried out the Vuitton for fun--but after a while I truly loved it and didn't even see a knock-off when I looked into its eyes.

So, despite all the warning bells, he just had a way of talking me out of leaving him. I taped that broken handle back on and kept trying to pass my bag off as genuine (or at least passable).

***To read the rest of this story, go to this link:

If you like it, register, award my story (click on the "awards" icon at the top of the story--options to award in different categories (original, rare find, humor, inspiration, etc.) should appear & just click on those--you can award 5 times per story) & help me win the 'baggage claim' March writing competition.

If you're pissed that I'm exploiting my readers to win a writing competition, leave your disgruntled remarks & let me have it!!***

Loves to all & thanks for your support! (the competition ends on the 31st, so don't wait to award my post!)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

This Mortal Coil

Whether we are shuffling off or shuffling through...the mortal in this coil reaches moments of acute intensity.

Today I accompanied Savannah to a funeral. It was for the father of her best friend. I had never met the man, although I had heard his son speak of him on more than one occasion.

We got the news on Saturday morning. That the world of someone we all cared about so deeply had been altered forever.

It breaks my heart. The funeral broke my heart. I cried and I felt emptied out and spent after.

This was my I-don't-know-what-number funeral. I've been to a few dozen, I'm sure. But this one I found quite heart-wrenching.

Maybe it's a mom thing.

I love this kid. I love him almost like he was one of my own and it kills me that he has to deal with this heavy burden and turmoil.

And it destroys me that his little brother (Gabi's age) was at the podium pouring his heart out when we entered (late--after a 30+ minute delay on the freeway to allow lifeflight to land for a horrible accident that occurred just moments ahead of us on the road) after the loudest, creakiest door in the world.

And this boy wasn't answering his phone when they tried to contact him Saturday morning with the news. While Savannah and Gabi and I were driving to Subway to get her friend a dose of his favorite comfort food, Savannah confessed to me one of her greatest fears: that something would happen and she wouldn't have her phone or wouldn't hear it and she wouldn't know.

It bowled me over to hear her so emotionally exposed. She is usually so outwardly stalwart. Part of me melted.

One of the last things the younger brother said before returning to his seat was that he'll never forget how--the night before he died--his dad called him for no reason. His dad asked how he was, who he was with and told him that he loved him.

He seemed so comforted that the last things he and his father had said to one another was that they loved each other.

After the funeral, Savannah and I revealed to one another that--no matter how unlikely it is that something unspeakable may happen--one reason we always tell/text each other (and Gabi) I love you (even unnecessarily and somewhat stalkerishly) is just-in-case. We would know that our last conversation left no doubt as to how much we loved the other.

I heard a program on NPR on Saturday (as I was driving to pick up Savannah so she could comfort her friend) about grief. The woman speaking gave one of the truest descriptions of the mourning process. She said that grief comes in waves. It doesn't come in order or stages or neatly-defined steps that end in acceptance.

Grief is as wild and awesome and overwhelming and unpredictable as the ocean. It overcomes us in waves--sometimes we see them coming and sometimes we are caught by surprise. But the comfort is that the wave always subsides and we can catch our breath.

There is no right way to grieve. And those waves come at us days or months or years after our loss--and the pain can be as acute as in those first moments that changed our world forever.

While it tears me up that I can't protect my children (or their friends) from facing the depths of loss and learning how to live with the life that follows in its wake, I am encouraged that before we drove away today they were laughing (literally) and holding on (figuratively) to one another in friendship and strength--and that is the love and acceptance that keeps us afloat in the midst of life's most overwhelming waves.