This weekend played like a symphony of contrasts. Of extremes.
After working away my Saturday afternoon, I found myself on a pew in a Unitarian Church that was so stark and devoid of ornamentation as to make you question the actual glory of god. No stained-glass masterpieces, no intricate architecture to gawk at, only one lonely flower arrangement trimmed the altar. The service, however, was anything but stark. My client, The Man Who Loved His Wife, will be sorely missed by just about everyone he ever touched. He was kind and gentle and good and the service did him justice.
It was all I could do to keep my composure. No one wants to hire the financial planner who bawls like a baby. So, like men often do, I tried to think of anything that would distract me from the topic at hand – the dishes in the sink at home, the smell of the dog in need of a bath, the frizz of my hair, whether or not my car was safely parked. And then it dawned on me why the church was so barren. It worked. I couldn’t help but stay tuned to the lecture. Which was a beautiful tribute to a man who was absolutely not ready to leave his wife behind. He did not “go gentle into that good night.” He fought for every. single. second.
On my way home I stopped by a friend’s house to drop off a gift for her one-year-old. She had cancelled the birthday party last week without giving any explanation and I’ve been worrying about her ever since. She’s been fighting a relentless battle with post-partum depression. We haven’t stayed in touch as much as I’d like, which is my fault. I feel so utterly ill-equipped to help her. Motherhood has made me happier and more fulfilled, while she has been lost in grief and despair. It’s unfair. We both spent our pregnancies in giddy anticipation. She was sleeping when I arrived, but her husband assured me that she is improving. Slowly but surely. I hope he’s right.
Finally home again; I spent the next hour soaking up my monkey boy in all his savory goodness. There is something about him sitting next to me on the couch that makes him seem more real. Like he’s a boy and not just a gangly, adorable appendage. The day had rushed by as if I’d blinked one too many times and he grew up while I was gone. Another stark reminder that life is short.
An hour after I put the boy to bed, Dave rushed to the hospital to be with his mother. She wasn’t feeling right at the restaurant during Lynne’s birthday dinner, so Johnny drove her to the hospital to be safe, even though it was “just a little chest pain.” The heart attack wasn’t diagnosed until Sunday and then we all crowded in to her tiny room to hear the diagnosis.
She seems to feel fine at this point, aside from being a bit shell-shocked and scared. She’s scheduled for an angiogram on Wednesday, which should provide some insight. Really, though, she knows the answer. She needs to take care of herself. She’s not fighting for every. single. second. She hasn’t even arrived at the fight yet; instead she’s stalling, packing her bags and waiting for her time to come.
The hospital room was the polar opposite of the church pew – clamoring in its own high tech glory, tangled wires everywhere, nurses rushing in and out. It was a hyperactive toddler’s dream. Watching Alex climb around on the bed, lowering and raising its foot, pushing all the TV buttons; it occurred to me that maybe hospitals are loud and obnoxious for a reason too.