I have a sensual relationship with paper. Coarse paperbacks, silky Bristol board, wispy rice paper… Mmmm… I think this started when I discovered construction paper in vivid primary and secondary hues, Mom yelling “Don’t run with scissors!” She didn’t like little bits of paper lying on the floor, but I liked them. It was like discovering bits of previous inspirations. Mom just doesn’t understand creative priorities sometimes. She has a real thing against Legos too.
I’m trying to distract myself today by thinking of happy paper thoughts because what I’m really thinking about how much I hate the newspaper sometimes. Dad used to read the obituaries every day and say “Well, I’m not in here today!” – until one day he was.
It’s been one of those weeks -- another accident, another irreplaceable person gone, another round of picking up pieces like little bits of construction paper. The fact that I’ve been through this a number of times doesn’t make it any better; the steps to follow are just more predictable.
Wednesday I had dinner with Toby and her husband Tim. We laughed and talked and everything was so normal. I liked the way Toby smiled, and liked figuring ways to make her do it. When we parted in the parking lot I gave her a hug, thinking about what I wrote last week about touch and hugs. How could I know that would be the last time I’d get to hug her?
She was warm and smart and funny and everything nice. I am so going to miss her.
I don’t know why the school bus hit her or how the kids on the bus are affected by being part of an accident like this. How the bus driver will deal with it? How can I help Tim in the aftermath of this kind of shock?
I think about how Tim kept loading her plate with zucchini during dinner. They seemed so well matched and happy together. It seemed like they had figured out zucchini compatibility and every other kind of sharing a long time ago. I can only be glad for them that they had that kind of happiness together.
I’m blessed to have known her, so sad I can’t know her longer.
Moving along to the next phase of grief, I’m so POed that I have to deal with this again. How many other people have to keep burying their friends? I’ve been going back and forth between sympathy and concern for Tim, anger, sorrow, self-pity… yeah, all the usual stuff. I know all these feelings are normal and part of the process, but I don’t want to feel these things. I’d like to be able to just have dinner with Toby again. We would’ve seen each other again next Saturday and laughed over bagels. We were regular as clockwork, and now there’s a gaping hole in my monthly calendar.
Life sucks, and then you die. One of these days it will be my turn. Meanwhile, please send healing thoughts and prayers to Tim.