I happen to still be on the member mailing of my family’s church. The mother of one of our own is in the hospital.
This morning I received an email that she was seriously ill.
A few hours ago, another email arrived; they’ve removed all ventilators and tubes. Just waiting now.
Statistically speaking, there are probably many people dying right this moment. But there’s knowing that, and then there’s knowing it.
Peace to them; the waiting is harder than the knowing, but often not as painful as the aftermath.
When I was in late elementary/early junior high, my grandparents and some friends of theirs from church (my grandparents – well, just my grandmother, now – have been members of this church since long before I was born, my mom and then I grew up there) went to the local community center two or three mornings a week to walk laps around the gym. They called it their ‘walking club,’ and because I was home with them all summer, it was sort of my ‘walking club’ too, whether I wanted it to be or not. It was certainly earlier than I wanted to get up on any given summer day, but there was a whole gym to play in (the lady who ran the place gave me my first volleyball) and sometimes there’d be breakfast afterward, so I felt it was an even trade.
One of the couples who met my grandparents there was the Potts, Wesley and Viola. I’d known them both since I was a wee tiny thing, just like I had everyone at that church, but I knew them even better because once upon a time, they had a grandaughter named Ashley too. Their son married this lady who had a daughter nine months or so older than me, and she came to church with her grandparents all the time. We became friends pretty quickly. Since she was older, we decided she would be Ashley 1 and I would be Ashley 2, and that’s pretty much how people told us apart in conversation. (We briefly discussed Ashley and Ashley Also, but thought that was just silly.) I think I remember one Sunady where we played too long in the back classrooms and both sets of grandparents assumed we’d gone home with the other; in truth we’d gone home with neither and when we finally emerged there was no one left in the building except one of the elders, who forunately offered to drive us home.
I always liked spending time at Wesley and Viola’s house because they were two of the sweetest people ever; Viola was just about as good a cook as my own grandmother and Wesley fairly talkative and fun to listen to. Eventually their son divorced the woman he had married and she and Ashley 1 moved away; we lost touch, but her grandparents are still two of my favourite people.
Wesley Potts died last Friday.
Yesterday I made plans to go a funeral.
Today I was asked to attend a baby shower.
The balance of life makes me happy to be living it.
In other news…
“So, Ashley, what are you doing now that you’ve graduated?”
My grandmother has known her two best friends for almost twice my lifetime. They’ve been so close to us all that they’re like my grandmothers too. Seems I got the lion’s share of sweet, older ladies who like to dote on the only child.
Madeleine’s body died this morning; her brain had been officially dead for two days. She cried with me on the phone for nearly an hour the morning my grandfather died. I miss her already.
I’m going to bake cookies and sew and watch Firefly till I fall asleep.
I don’t want to talk about. Right now, I just want to be sad.
Unforunately enough for me, I had to work today. And I do mean work; today was far busier than last Saturday. In fact, I ended up staying an hour longer than I had planned because. You see, we were short a person tonight, which left us with only one closing cutting counter person to clean up and put up the massive amount of signs for Monday. So I stayed to help.
We were short a person because last night, my co-worker Kelly committed suicide in her own home, in front of her husband.
Yes, I spent a few extra hours away from my loved ones today…but Kelly will never go home to her family again. Do yourself a favour this weekend: Don’t go shopping. Don’t rush out to see all the good Christmas sales. Don’t run those last minute, life-or-death errands. Don’t focus in the million tiny things that stress you out and make you crazy. Find someone who means something to you, at least one person important in your life, and spend an hour. Just an hour.
Do it for yourself…for your loved ones…and for all those who thought they “didn’t have time” – and never will again.