Seriously, why would I pick that for a blog post title? How about because, "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times" is taken?
I need a good cry. Some people cry less than others. It's taken thought, prayer, and a bit of wear and tear on the nerves of my spiritual director to come to the conclusion that I just don't cry much. And that doesn't make me better or worse than anyone else. It's just the way I am. A lot of my family is like that. And that's just the way it is. In some ways it is helpful. I can be the strong one. It helps as a mother. It helps at work. If I am helping in a particularly stressful and tragic situation, not turning into a puddle of tears is useful. (If I am meant to be a staff person at a difficult funeral I am not there as a paid mourner. Of course I pray. But I'm not there to weep)
Mama tries hard to pretend things will get better again...
Somehow she's keeping it all inside her...
But even a stoic such as I starts to feel that if I could just cry I might feel some of the weight lift off of me. Tears can be a cleansing blessing.
This has been an exciting time...Fran's graduation and pinning. The academic honors and award.
To quote a favorite movie, Fran is officially "most smartest" (And no, I did not give her 9-mil with a card that say, "Jesus Loves Winners". She know Jesus loves her, winning or not and she'll always aim to win.) But...well, first there was the termination of our phone service on graduation morning. Oops. Slight miscalculation on the due date. And I did my best not to let the fact that getting the phones turned back on took a substantial bite out of the paycheck from the day before.
Having most of the girls still living at home brings me into the vortex of any of their despair.
These have been some difficult times:
The fellow I shall refer to as "the underwear model" (a real gig, not a joke) who I thought would be a permanent family member disappeared, apparently unable to handle Bridget's health problems. Fran and her beau of many years are going through a break up. And Martha is entangled in a relationship with a charming young man battling some intense chemical dependency demons.
So, Fran's beau left town for a week before graduation. I give him credit for returning and being at Fran's ceremonies. Any other resentments aside, being there for her was a stand-up thing.
The model lives a few doors down, but there have been few interactions since he went away to house sit for a friend who is on a three month mandatory "retreat" with the State of Illinois Dept. of Corrections. Bridget could use a little extra support now. And when she is feeling energized she does remember the fact that she spent 45 minutes holding his viscera together waiting for rural EMTs during that dreadful fireworks accident a few years ago. She and Fran saved his life. She helped nurse him for months after, including rather grotesque wound care. I can't blame her for feeling a little betrayed that now he walks when she needs him. I try to remind her and myself and anybody else who will listen, that if any other good came out of that (besides saving a life) was that it was a pivotal moment in helping Fran discern a vocation in health care.
Martha's friend lives next door, so cutting off a bad relationship is difficult. I'm still a little off balance from his appearance at the after party last Friday night. A quiet group of people around the bonfire ended with three police cars... "Are we on COPS?, Are we on COPS?" I rarely make appearances in the street wearing a bathrobe and mismatched flip-flops (left foot with pink lobsters, right foot with strawberries); which the deputies assured my daughters was not illegal. Eddie caught video on his iPad. It's mostly audio...which I have kept to remind Martha and anyone else of how ugly things get when people are drunkenly, visciously out of control. (Though "Congratufuckulations" will be a term that may stay in my vocabulary for very special occasions) I can only pray that his plans to get into rehab this week stick. And that he can stick with the program. There are people right here in the neighborhood who are already working the program and can be of support. It works if you work it.
He thinks we hate him. No, we love him. It's the drunk, hurtful chaos that we hate. Please, God, give him the strength to start to work it.
Last night Rick thought that Fran's dear dog Cody was having another seizure. This was the last one. No drug could help. Rick and Bridget tried to resuscitate her. Fran and the vet tech from across the street could not revive her. There were tears. Fran's beau arrived...and true to his Scots heritage, let out what is the closest to actual keening I have ever heard in person.
Cody loyally sat at Fran's feet while she studied and paced wistfully whenever Fran was away at school. She was old, frail, and had been doing poorly that past few months. But she saw Fran through to the end. Fran made it and Cody could rest now.
I went to bed sad, but not tearful. All this sadness swirling about and pressing in on me.
This morning I thought that if I could only cry I might be able to retrieve some energy. Staying strong is exhausting. If I needed catharsis I knew where to find it. "Shannon." Yes, a 70s pop song about a dead dog. It helped. I had to listen twice. And then the tears came. Tears for Cody. Tears for everyone.
"Shannon" can help. But like ExLax, use judiciously, only when needed.
But finally the tears fill our eyes
and I know that somewhere tonight
she knows how much we really miss her
....I hope she's drifting out to sea
she always loved to swim away
maybe she'll find and island with a shady tree
just like the one in our backyard...