Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Cousin Michael

I was watching a news clip video this morning, at Mad Priest's. It was lovely, a lovely editorial piece, delivered with conviction and passion, about Prop 8 and love and God and everything. Thinking, my cousin Michael will like this and I'll send it to him. My cousin Michael lives 40 miles away. He was born in England, because his mother was English and his parents lived in South America, and his mother wanted him to have an English passport. (I may have mentioned that my family ranges from dysfunctional to off-the-map-lunatic -- nothing milder than that. One WOULD take a long boat trip, heavily pregnant, in 1951, to make sure one's eldest child had the correct passport.) Michael moved to Canada 35 years ago. We would talk on the phone sometimes, but the first time I met him in person was at my first stepfather's funeral in January 1993,


It was funny. He's three years older than me, almost, raised on a different continent, sent to school in England. Our grandmothers were sisters; he was some other order of relative than cousin, but he's my age, and that's how we call 'em in our family. We have very compatible religious and social and political views. We got drunk together one night, very early in our knowing each other, and had a hilarious time, describing the things about which we were totally unjustifiably unreasonable, and finding out that we both said the same horrible things to our life-partners because of them. Genetics, I guess. He's been on my mind and in my prayers a lot recently. In January he fell down stairs at work and busted up his collarbone badly enough that it took three surgeries to repair it. In one of the series of tests, they did a CT scan and found a something, a one-eighth inch something, in the top of his left lung. That was in the summer. We both knew before the test results came back -- he smokes three packs a day. Last week, he had a quarter of his left lung removed. They biopsied some other parts of both lungs. He'll get the results on the 25th.


Michael and my husband get along well, even after my marriage break-up. My husband called me just now at work, and said that Michael had called his place because he's lost (again) my phone numbers at work and for my cell. His father died in the night. Terry had a massive stroke, I dunno when exactly, and got recovered enough that they moved him out of ICU and into a ward. He saw all his kids, and I think all his grandkids. Michael saw him yesterday, and Terry died 15 minutes after he left. His wife and daughter were with him.


We don't know yet when the services will be -- Michael's mother and brother are going today to make the arrangements. Michael asked if I'd phone my mother's one remaining sister, and tell her. I did, but she was just leaving the Sailors' Memorial after the Remembrance Day service, and asked if she could call me back. I said sure -- there's no need to rush this news. I'll talk to Michael tomorrow and find out when and where the service will be. The aunt I called today may not want to go -- most of the family's been fighting with Michael's mother since 1951, when she did something unforgivable -- married Terry. As I just told my sister, "That doesn't mean one wouldn't do the correct thing in difficult circumstances." If she doesn't want to go, I'll take the train.


I'm tired again. Inside tired, not body tired. Thursday was my Mum's birthday; Friday was my husband's; this coming Thursday is the anniversary of my Mum's death. Today's the anniversary of me having her admitted to hospital, which she'd never wanted, but I had no other choice. I had lunch with an old friend last week, and it's shaken up what I thought I knew about myself and my life. Had a misunderstanding with my best friend on the weekend, and that's always an ache. I need to leave my job -- it's lost almost all of what was joyful in it for me, and I show up and endure days at work. I might find that more bearable if I was getting paid TONS of money, but I doubt it. I miss, ferociously, the kitten I left in Texas -- if you're feeling lonely, bruised and overtired (I played on-line Scrabble with a couple of friends way too late last night), a kitten's a cure-all. I miss life in Texas -- feeling like this right now, I could go lie in the hammock and look up into the trees, which always made me say, "Thank you," to the Force in the Universe that makes them, or I could go find something covered with rust and grind it off and maybe make it into something else. That's restorative, meditative too -- although I'd never have thought that makes noise and metal dust and showers me in sparks would feel meditative. It requires total mindfulness, or it'll tear the skin off your fingers. Ask me how I know. I'm sick of dead people.


What I don't feel is any desire to reshape reality -- either by doing my control-freak-drama-queen routine, or by swallowing something that'll alter my inner reality. I'm tired. Not tired, tired OF. The answer to that is to pray for God's will for me to be revealed and for the power to carry out the vision I'm given. And to share. And to be grateful. Because the truth is, if it never gets any better than it is right this minute, that's okay with me. God's giving me so much, it'd just be churlish to assume I need anything else.

1 comment:

Pagan Sphinx said...

To be grateful and to remind myself of how much I have to be grateful for, always gets me through the rough patches. You hang in there. Loss is very hard to bear.