Cindy Lou (a fictitious name) works for a law office. She comes into my office occasionally. She’s my friend on Facebook, and I love to read her posts. She writes about being a young mom with a tongue in cheek perspective. She exposes her anger, her failures and foibles, and by the time you are done reading, you are literally L-ingOL (laughing out loud.) One time, she went so far as to post a picture of her toddler daughter lying in a pool of vomit to illustrate her story. I could not have done that, but it was hilarious!
I think most parents could relate to her stories. They usually start with her perception (a fantasy) about how expected things to play out, and then how it all crashes down around her. I love that she sees the irony of it all. Best of all, she finds the humor and shares it with the rest of us who have “been there, done that.”
Cindy Lou’s Facebook posts are always followed with comments and compliments, and many have encouraged her (starting with me) to start a blog. I know I would follow it.
Today, Cindy Lou stopped in my office. I asked her if she’d started the blog yet. She told me she had good intentions, but then her grandmother died. She said, “there’s nothing funny to write about right now.”
We chatted for a few minutes, and then I told her, don’t let the sadness stop you. People don’t always want to laugh. People love stories of perseverance and surviving. Not everything in life can be funny (- or can it?) And I don’t think that finding the funny in a person’s funeral or death would be disrespectful. I mean – I think that once a person dies, they lose their ego, so they would probably love to see that their death brought someone joy!
Anyway, as I spoke to Cindy Lou, I realized that I was probably speaking to myself (aren’t we always projecting our issues onto others?) Was I taking life too seriously? Was I making mountains out of mole hills? Was I seeing the death instead of the life?
My dad passed away five years ago. He was my next door neighbor, a big support system to me in my adult years and a constant that seemed to hold the cornerstone to the “everything’s going to be okay” building of my life. I miss him every single day.
Shortly after he passed, my daughter moved clear across the country. Arizona. Almost as far as she could get! Another heart breaker. She was (and remains) my friend and confidant, and I loved nothing more that meeting her for Starbucks and shopping. Now, it’s twice a year.
The next year, a fellow artist, art teacher and mentor/friend of mine died. She was the person who always had words of wisdom. And she was also the person that I thought would always be there. She was supposed to live forever.
It was at that point that I felt the fantasy of my life crumbling around me. I was convinced that life (or death) was out to punish me. All the bad things that are spread sporadically throughout other people’s lives, I felt, were catching up with me. I’d “had it too good.” I started living life just waiting for the other shoe to drop. My three kids were grown and gone. My purpose was done. I’d hit the top of the hill and just figured this was it – “all downhill from here.”
Through my quilting and creating, I have found new purpose, joy and reason for living. I make my own sunshine, create my own marshmallows for the next foot to drop on, and I’ve found support in places I never imagined – one of which, by the way, was inside myself. Yes, you can be your biggest support system! Crazy, huh? We always think we have to have someone to turn to, but that someone can be our own self!
But back to Cindy Lou; I think I’d like to hear HER side of it. I’d like to hear the memories she has of her grandmother – and I think that other people would, too. And more than that, what a great tribute that would be! If her Nana was anything like my grammas were, there’s bound to be stories of root beer and chocolate covered raisins, quilting and knitting lessons, being told by one gramma to be quiet and stop chewing your gum like a cow, while the other turned up the music loud and watched and clapped, as we ran circles around her living room.
My (ex)husband once told me he loved a strong dark beer with a Hostess Chocolate Ding Dong. I cringed. The thought of that bitter beer with the sweet chocolate! And then I tried it. AND loved it. It was a perfect balance of bitter and sweet; each accentuating the other. I think that’s how we have to see life. The bitter makes the sweet sweeter, and vice verse. You just can’t get stuck in one or the other. Too much beer and you’ll be down forever. Too much sweet and you’ll burn yourself up. Balance. That’s the word, I guess.