Of death and only the beginning

Big week, big week.

Last Sunday, my parents celebrated their 35th anniversary. That’s the third of the 4 banner year events in 2015. My dad will turn 60 in June to round it out.

On Monday, I passed my Series 51 exam. I am now legally allowed to not only give you stock advice, but I can supervise the people who review your mutual fund trades. Quick! Get excited! I got the bare minimum passing score, but who cares? A pass is a pass, n’est pas? It’s just one more dollop of icing on my resume cupcake.

For the past week, my parents have been up in Virginia. My dad’s mom hasn’t been doing well. They were supposed to come home yesterday, but apparently my grandmother flipped, so they stayed an extra day. In retrospect, yesterday was Good Friday and they’re uber Catholic, so it kind of makes sense. In all honesty, I’m not that close to her. I’m not close to any of my grandparents. That might make me a horrible person, but it’s true. I won’t personally be upset when they die, I’ll be upset because the respective parent is upset. My dad is literally the person I love most in the world, so I’ll lose my shit if I see him do it. He’s not the ‘lose your shit’ kind of guy, but who knows? When my mom texted me yesterday to say they were going to stay an extra day, she said my dad cried. I have literally in my entire memory never seen him cry. Ever. At all. I’d like to keep that streak going. I’m of the mind that if I don’t see it, then it never happened. Him crying, in my world, qualifies as losing his shit.

Death is a funny thing, especially when it’s family. There are so many different family dynamics, family types, and families themselves that influence how they handle death. How did the person die? Old age? Long illness? Suicide? Accident? My office likes to circulate notices when someone’s family member dies. I’ll refuse to let them do that when my grandmother passes. I don’t want people coming up to me and apologizing. I never flat out say “I’m sorry for your loss” when I know someone had a death in the family. It’s simply “I heard about…” and let them take the lead. In the case of one of the other managers, her dad died about a year ago. I told her that I’d heard and her reply was that she really wasn’t upset, the only reason she was even going to the funeral was because she was his only child. One of my other friends had a cousin die in a car accident. He had previously been arrested for drugs and possession of child porn. Needless to say, she wasn’t sorry to see him go.

On the flip side, it doesn’t even have to be a person’s death to hurt. My sister had to put down her beloved kitty a few weeks ago. That broke her heart. When my childhood kitty died of (very) old age, I cried for days even though I knew it was coming. People really don’t understand how much that can hurt, especially in comparison to the death of a person. I got plenty of funny looks when I said I was crying over the loss of a pet. I don’t judge other people for what they do and don’t grieve for. I have no idea what the dynamic was. Yes, I do care about my cat more than my grandmother. Is that your business? No, it isn’t. Your grief and mourning is none of my business.

Emily wasn’t family, but I took her death harder than I know I’ll take a lot of my blood relatives. It wasn’t just that she was young and committed suicide. I, quite frankly, cared more about her than I do various aunts, uncles, and cousins. At her memorial service, her mother told me how much that Emily cared about me. I didn’t see her as a heroin addict. I saw her as a girl who just needed someone to be her friend without judgment. That went a long way for her. I still have the letters she sent me when she was in jail. I still have the program from her memorial service. If she were still alive, she’d be 28 at the end of the month. I’ll always remember her fondly and that my last words to her were kind ones. That’s all anyone can hope for.

On that depressing note, I’m off to take some allergy medication & continue binge watching Criminal Minds. The Atlanta Pollen Snow has set in and my left eye is about to itch right out of my face. Blech.

XOXO!

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