Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Year Ago

A year ago, when the phone rang I was on the couch being lazy. Scott got up and looked at the caller ID.

“Joyce?” He asked me wanting to know if he should pick up.

“Yes!” I said and my mind began racing. Racing to Japan where Sara and Geordie were awaiting the arrival of their daughter Lauren. She’s early, I thought as I answered the phone.

On the other end of the phone a very quiet Joyce asked me if I had heard from Sara that day. The soft tremble in her words put me immediately on edge. And as I sat up Joyce told me through her tears that Lauren’s heart had stopped. On September 28, Lauren was born sleeping.

I’ve written about this before here and here. More importantly, Sara has written Lauren's story and I encourage everyone to read go and read it. Babies aren't supposed to die and far too many do. We seem more than willing to talk candidly about breast cancer and numerous other medical issues, but for some reason people turn their heads away from stillbirth and miscarriage.

I’ve spent the better part of a week trying to find words for this post. Nothing sounds right. So I will leave it as such:

My heart, my thoughts, my love go out to Sara, Geordie and their families today and everyday. Lauren was loved from the very second Sara and Geordie shared her with us and she will forever be missed and loved.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Me and Ishmael

I don't like Herman Melville (actually, I'm not altogether fond of classic American writers) and I've never actually made it all the way through Moby Dick. But I have to say out of all of the books I've ever read Moby Dick has one of the best opening paragraphs. So awesome in fact, that despite my loathing for the author, it has stuck with me, burrowed deep into my brain, speaking to me when I have need to hear powerful words.

One of the very cool things on the internet (you know aside from cat videos and porn) is Project Gutenburg. Here is the first paragraph of Moby Dick:

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me. 

(source: Project Gutenburg

I am envious of Ishmael who can take to sea and leave his problems on the shore. I would take to the sea if I could but isn't that a bit like running away? Maybe it's more of a change that Ishmael craves. Maybe it is the possibilities that lie over the horizon beckoning just out of reach that call to him.

I, having never found my sea legs, take to watching disaster movies, in particular Deep Impact. I watch it when I am feeling down, when the world demands more from me than I thought I could give, when I am so overwhelmed all I can do is stand in the shower, my mind screaming as my tears are washed away. So I put on a disaster movie and recognize that life - specifically my life - isn't bad (in fact I would be hard pressed to claim that it was bad at all) it is pretty okay. But disaster movies give me one more thing that I need: hope. Not in any religious sense, because I am not religious or spiritual at all, but in an altogether more powerful way. Hope in humanity, in perseverance, in the future. Hope that even if things suck right now, they didn't always suck, nor will they forever suck. 

We all have our own ways of dealing with stress and uncertainty and sadness. Ishmael "[...] quietly take[s] to the ship." I have disaster movies. Disaster movies might not eliminate the "damp, drizzly November in my soul," but they at least toss me an umbrella.

Maybe someday I'll talk about what's going on when and if I'm ready. But today isn't that day. Nor will it be any day in the foreseeable future.