I’m still alive! Just busy.
I’ve been watching a lot of movies, but haven’t had time to blog about them. I’ve been working on fiction, and wrote up an entry on Mudder of Dragons about my trip to New York and I’m working on another one for tomorrow. Go check it out if you’re bored or stuck in traffic!
Patricksponaugle linked to an amazing Oatmeal comic on Twitter last night and reading it really gave me pause. Here it is:
You need to read it. Right now. Don’t save it for later, don’t scroll past and think ‘Oh I’ll read that later’ like I almost did, because I am NOTORIOUS for such and then forgetting. Just read it. It takes less than five minutes.
If we are alive and reading this, we’re all on that burning plane RIGHT NOW, and we all have the opportunity to tell someone ‘It’s going to be okay.‘ Half of the act is saying it out loud – the other half is believing it yourself once you’ve said it.
It’s easy to gloss over the nuance of human suffering with what seems like a platitude… but really, it’s true. Holding on to hope in times of desperation is one of the best things about humanity – maybe that sounds like bullshit off a greeting card, and people say it all the time in situations when things AREN’T going to be okay and bad things happen anyway… but that isn’t what life’s about.
It actually reminded me of something that happened to me, one of my life’s great regrets.
The rest of this entry is behind a cut because it deals with the death of a family member and a personal failing on the part of the writer. I invite you to read it, but please be warned, it’s depressing.
In January of 2009, we visited my Granddaddy in the nursing home for his 92nd birthday. He was alert, chatty, and as always, overjoyed to see me. He was one of the few people in my family who weren’t moody or distant, who always put others before him, and who would put his strong will to work for others rather than against them. He cracked jokes and told us stories about the days he ran moonshine in the West Virginia mountains and sold to the governor of the state.
In summer, we got a call from Granddaddy’s girlfriend (my Nana passed a few years before, but Granddaddy was a huge flirt and found a lovely woman to spend his time with). Bad news— he was very, very sick.
We visited, and he was barely the same person. He lay in bed with a stricken expression, occasionally gasping in pain, or crying out at random. The visit was incredibly depressing, and we all knew we would probably be seeing each other at a funeral, soon.
My father was determined to have a good time and put on a happy face. He told me to stand next to Grandaddy and take his hand and smile so he could take a picture.
And I couldn’t.
I was angry, I was bewildered at Granddaddy’s sudden turn, but most of all I was wrapped up in my own dramatic bullshit and I couldn’t imagine pretending I was fine when I wasn’t. I sat down and held his hand, and my father took a picture of us anyway and I had the most hateful and angry look on my face, so he deleted it later. I almost wish he’d kept it so I could remind myself what I look when I’m being a huge, selfish asshole. Suddenly, it was about me being spiteful toward my father instead of being there for someone who was afraid and nearing the end.
A few weeks later my Granddaddy died.
I couldn’t put someone else’s happiness ahead of mine and tell them it would be okay, and it’s one of the great regrets of my life.
So from me to you, I hope you’ll hear me and believe me when I say It’s going to be okay.
And please, take a moment to say it to someone else, to pass it on and maybe add ‘is there anything you need that I can do right now?’