I had a post going. It was taking shape, and I thought it was a good one. But then.
My day was moving along, busy as always, when I stopped for lunch. I thought of Lis, and then I thought of the twins in her daycare, because that morning, one of them had run up to me and hugged me. Then I thought of my cousin who just had twins. Then I thought of her brother, also my cousin, who is dying from cancer.
He has lung cancer, and he never smoked a day in his life. He was perfectly fine, healthy, hearty, and hale, but in the space of three hours, he was deathly sick, and within 24 hours, he was told he had a week to live. That was six months ago.
I called my parents. "How is J?" I asked. "He just popped into my head. Heard anything new?"
Isn't that always how it works? I wish I hadn't called. It was like a psychic moment, I just KNEW as soon as he popped into my head that the answer to this was not going to be good. It wasn't good. He had come home, and not because he was doing okay.
That was yesterday. He was still alive. He died this morning, in his sleep, with his two children snuggled up in his bed with him. I think my heart broke in a way I didn't know was possible.
I found out at 10 am, and I had a HUGE grant presentation and pitch at 11 am. I went into the office bathroom, cried, fixed my makeup, then marched myself to the presentation. I stood up there, in front of waaaaay more people than I realized would be there, and had a moment just before it started--Why am I here. This is stupid. It doesn't matter. Don't cry. Don't cry. I pushed it back, and did it. I hope it was enough, because it does matter, even if in that moment I just wanted to tell them to just give us the money already, and I had something more important to be doing.
I busted my ass at work today, clearing the deck so I could be gone Monday and Tuesday for the funeral. I'm leaving Vor and Lis Saturday morning, returning Tuesday night, and I feel panicked, panicked at the thought of leaving her, panicked at the thought of an airplane, panicked at the thought that this can happen to you: when you're only forty years old, you can die from a cancer from a risky behavior you never did.
I just can't get that image of them, curled up with their dad, who wasn't there anymore.
Words and Seeds and Stars
2 days ago