Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Melancholy; bittersweet

Last day at work today. I never felt much like I belonged there. The majority of people I worked with had already "arrived"...meaning...working a desk job at a doctor's office was as far as they cared to go in life. They were very comfortable and when I announced I was going back to school I seemed to be a bit of an alien to them. Why would I want to do that at my age...and even if I did want to how did I find time to when I have children, a man, a full time job, a home? The same questions asked regarding why anyone would try to quit smoking or watch what they eat or *gasp* exercise on a regular basis or put on a dress or curl your hair every day. Why would anyone want to wear business clothes instead of scrubs? (I HATE scrubs!! bum deal for a nurse eh?) Why would someone my age still enjoy having sex? Why would it be important at all? The scent of stagnation and differentness after a time seemed to permeate every corner of my office life. My differentness stood out...I felt as if I walked around naked. I don't watch Nascar. Could not tell you a single driver's number. I never bonded much because I never took smoke breaks and didn't think every food on the planet tastes better with mayonnaise. I just never did quite fit in. So the sweet goodbyes I got today, complete wtih a phone call from one of my doctors to my voicemail singing a "farewell" song to me touched me a great deal. They are a little panicked and rightly so. Some misguided voice whispering in their ear convinced them to start farming their transcription out to India. I don't anticipate a good outcome from that.

I was tearful going into work, tearful coming home. I got right to work when I got home mopping floors and cleaning the drawers in the fridge. I can understand intellectually what is happening here and though I feel optimistic, this is a huge step away from my life as a cancer mom. It is bittersweet.

Alex wanted to put up Halloween decorations this weekend. Its a bit early, but everything in me says "so what". I really struggled with whether to get out the decorations that Joseph and I used to do up his hospital room last year. I had vowed early after his death to never use them again. But it niggled at me. There was so much grief just contemplating this upcoming holiday...it had so much power. I decided to get into his memory box and just take a look, see how I felt looking at those things again now that a little time has gone by. As I opened the lid I told myself that if the bag of decorations was close to the top of the box (its huge) then that meant Joseph wants me to use them. And it was...just one layer down, below his plaid blanket that his Aunt Stacey made him one Christmas. I took the little bag out and went into the living room, taking out things one by one and the tears just ran and ran and ran, memory after memory swimming through a yearning sadness and a soft, gentle pride and gratitude. They are such good memories.

The next morning Alex got up and saw the little ghost/ghoul thing we had hanging on his IV pole. He looked through all the skeletons and jack-o-lanterns and black cats and window clings..and picked up this ghoul....twined a finger through the elastic coming out of its head and began to twirl. The ghoul lifted, floating, flying through the air, its robes rippling ghoulishly and Alex smiling like...well....like a nine year old boy with a scary ghoul. And something in that charming, disarming moment let me know this was exactly what Joe-Gi would want. Just as the boys had a snowball fight at the cemetery on the day we were to bury Joseph into the cold January earth...the whimsical nature of children reminds us both that life goes on...and that it is short. The boys deserve wonderful holidays..and I still deserve wonderful memories of them having those. I would hate to become an old woman, my grief now changed to grieving what was missed because of my grieving...I know too well there is only one chance. One Halloween while Nick is 12 and Alex is 9...one first Halloween in the new house and neighborhood..and when they are gone..that's all we get.

We decorated the house this weekend. And it was good.