Hello again from a sad yet Kozy place,
Tomorrow at 2 pm I will be attending a funeral. Kozy’s mom, lovingly nicknamed “Cott”, died suddenly (and unexpectedly) of a heart attack this week. I didn’t know Cott, in fact I only met her once, but I know that Kozy loved her and that she raised a hell of a good son. My heart aches for Kozy & Tweeter; the loss of a parent, expected or otherwise, is one of those profound moments where your life becomes altered forever.
The hardest part of my own mother’s death was seeing all around me that people were going on about their usual business. Didn’t they know the universe had just come to a grinding halt? How could they laugh over coffee or sing in their cars when my mom was gone? We’ve all heard the expression “life goes on”, well it did. And it does. Even when we want it to stop, when the pain of waking up and going to work and sleep walking through the routines of our lives seems unbearable, life goes on.
We don’t think much about death, especially our own. We know it’s inevitable, unavoidable, a natural part of life, so to speak, but we rarely let the idea that one day this will all end pass through our brain. My Dad is in his seventies, he has diabetes, I wouldn’t describe his health as optimum but as far as I’m concerned he’s going to live forever. I can’t picture a world without my dad in it – so I don’t. Isn’t that silly?
I think that’s why religion and mysticism are so powerful; it takes away the finality of death. Sure you die BUT you get to a) go to a better place b) come back as something/someone else c) move on to a higher plane of existence d) all of the above. Not being religious or ascribing to any belief system, you might feel sorry for me not having something to look forward to when my life is over. Don’t. I like the uncertainty. I like accepting that life, all by it’s little self is miraculous enough without explanation. Maybe I will go to heaven (well, probably hell, Prez and I will be the ones jet skiing the lava flows) or maybe I’ll come back as a cat (please let me have some sucker like me as an owner!) or maybe that will be that. The curtains come down, the lights go out, my show is over.
Who knows? Not me, not you, not even the pope in Rome. We might believe, but no one knows.
Having spouted all that tough talk, I must confess, I’m not good with funerals. I find myself making jokes or going over my grocery list in my head, anything to not deal with what’s in front of me. It’s not that I don’t feel grief or sadness, I feel them deeply, I just hate expressing them publicly. I couldn’t even cry at my mom’s funeral. I wanted to. I told myself it was OK, that people expected it, that it was normal and healthy but on the day, the pipes sealed shut and there I was again, in the middle of this surreal experience, trying to fool myself into believing it wasn’t happening. Then I went home and cried until I thought I was going to throw up.
That was ten years ago. I’m a little bit better with the funeral thing now.
After 9-11 I went into a weird sort of trauma state for months (as long as I was on my own). I’d be driving to work and all of a sudden I’d let my mind slip, start thinking of all those poor people in the towers and that was it. Sometimes I’d have to pull over I was crying so hard. But it was good, healing I think, in a way. I developed a larger sense of empathy and let go of a lot of stuff I had bottled up. But I still find it hard to cry in front of people.
I may not cry at the funeral tomorrow, so I’ll do it now while I’m writing this and wishing that my friend didn’t have to go through this. Wishing that I had a magic wand to wave away sorrow or at least an answer to the question of what happens to us when we die. I have neither and I feel small and helpless. The best I can offer is a kind of pilgrimage: that I will live my life to the fullest and love as deeply as I can.
Maybe that’s the best any of us can do.
What do you do with your sadness?
Until next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy and lovin’ life.
Dedicated to “Cott” Kozak