Archive for December, 2009

Tell Me Why…

Posted in Uncategorized on December 27, 2009 by tom

At work, we've had a few issues this past month. In my capacity as a supervisor, I oversee a small limb of a giant being, and I was told that there were reasons some of these issues arose, that I couldn't understand them. I was given explanations for my concerns, and I understood. It didn't make the past month's issues any easier, but I could see that there were greater machinations in place.

One thing I've learned in the past few years–as I had my little bouts with mortality–is that job issues aren't truly important. I love my job, but it's just a job–it doesn't identify me.

I like to think that when we die, we get answers to truly important questions. I like to think there's some sort of greater machination in place, that life's ugly little knots truly are part of a beautiful tapestry.

A couple months ago, I wrote about my friend Sara's daughter Eliza, who was to undergo a heart-lung transplant. I requested that you pray for her, or send good thoughts, or healing light–whatever you do. There was a spot of infection on the lungs, so ultimately the transplant wasn't possible. So they went back to waiting. In the Universe's greater machinations, another child got the heart transplant, and a shot at a healthy life.

I guess I want Somebody to explain why. Why Eliza didn't get that shot. Why she lived 17 years, sick the entire time, and she came thisfreakingclose. Hell, I'd love to know why she was born sick in the first place. Sara and Bubba were two of my best friends when I was at FSU, and they were both awesome people, so why?? And why did Eliza have to die on Christmas Day?

Sara sent a beautiful e-mail, and I'll be presumptuous enough to reprint part of it:

Recently someone wrote to me and told me the angels were pulling Eliza toward heaven but she keeps defying them. Well, early this morning the angels won. But, as Aunt Mindy said, it was a heck of a tug of war. God gave her to us and He wanted her back. She is in His arms this morning.

Christmas is the day where Christendom celebrates Jesus' birth, and that God was given human form to live among us and save us and bring us peace. I guess I'd wonder why kids like Eliza are born to suffer. But while her body suffered, her mind and spirit were amazing. She uplifted everyone around her, and–as Sara said–"Eliza lived the fullest of lives; there was no child on the planet more loved and who KNEW IT!"

Maybe in the greater machinations, Eliza wasn't afflicted with a curse, but blessed with a gift. Maybe her death on Christmas Day wasn't a tragedy. Maybe the fact that a grieving mother can be so positive and grateful…maybe that's the beautiful, miraclulous tapestry made up of seemingly cruel knots.

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Holidaze and Disconnects

Posted in Uncategorized on December 18, 2009 by tom

Disconnect #1:

Puddin's text message was simple: "J hung himself."

The implications are far more complicated. Puddin has the sense of relief that her ex-husband won't be stalking her anymore, that the past few years' nightmare of frivolous custody suits, unsent child-support, and threats has ended. The down side…how do you explain to a seven year-old that the father who has only been there sporadically is dead? How do you explain that this father loved you, but he hanged himself?

A few miles up I-75, my friend's daughter, Eliza, has coded four times in the past week. She's fighting for her life, fighting the way she's had to her entire 16 years. She's waiting on a heart-lung transplant, eager to grow up and have problems.

There's a disconnect somewhere in this world. How one person can hate life so much that he snuffs it, while another person has battled her entire 16 year life to stay alive–I wish we could just transfer the healthy life spark from one person to another. I mean, it would have been no big deal for J to code–he wanted to go. Let Eliza be up and walking around, and J could segue into wherever abusive bastards are sent afterwards.

Disconnect # 2:

A couple weeks ago, I was surfing around the interwebs, and I stumbled across the video of Bud Dwyer, then the Pennsylvania Treasurer, holding a press conference. After making a statement, in which he professed his innocence, he gave envelopes to three of his aides, then pulled out a .357 Magnum and shot himself in the head. BOOM! Right there on live TV. (you can link to the video from wikipedia's article on Bud Dwyer) All I could think of was, "That doesn't even look real."

The next night, I watched "Boys Don't Cry," in which the protagonist is shot under the chin. All I could think was, "Now THAT is what it's supposed to look like!"

It was vaguely discomfiting seeing an actual gunshot suicide happen; even more horrible was that I judged it as lacking compared to the special effects extravaganza in the movie.

Disconnect #3:

I've written before about my extreme dislike of X-mas, which I differentiate from Christmas. X-mas contains all the frenzy: shopping, parties, stress, presents, et cetera ad valium. Christmas is a pretty straightforward message of peace. Once again, I'm up to my ass in X-mas, and have been since Black Friday. Christmas will be fine and peaceful, but it only lasts a day. Is it worth it? All the madness and mayhem–just for one day where people are less dickish to one another?

Don't ask me that tonight.

Last night, I lay in bed thinking about my life. I've been depressed and alcoholic, where my first thought upon awakening each day was, "Oh, shit; again?" I've also been really sick, where I was 24 hours away from dying. As I lay there, I focused on my breathing, on the fact that I'm not battling for breath. I thought about my job. Yeah, it's stressful as hell this time of year, but it's not too bad. I thought about my people, about Team Punkin and my various partners in crime, about friends nearby and afar. I treasured that even though I'm not wealthy, I have a nice apartment I can afford. Even though it was muggy outside, it was cool inside. I was breathing on my own, without equipment to assist me or monitor me.

I thought how nice it would be if Eliza gets her ultimate Christmas gift, and if Puddin' and her son can find a little peace somewhere in this mad X-mas frenzy.


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