Destiny Strikes Again
I always wanted to do something extraordinary. I always wanted to be famous for something. I didn't want to be like a Kardashian or anything, being famous for being famous, but I wanted to do something amazing. I wanted to have an amazing story to tell. I wanted people to remember me for my amazing story, like Mark Twain or Shakespeare. I didn't want to tell a crazy made up story either. I wanted to have an amazing story to tell. I wanted to live it and breathe it and share it with the world and make them laugh and cry with me, and in general I wanted them to be amazed at me. I did some things. I wrote about them before, but nobody cared.
Now I'm 50. That's right, I've hit the middle mark of a century, and I doubt that I make it the other half, because my family doesn't last that long. Instead of continuing on an amazing journey and becoming someone that people can't stop talking about, I went to work at Walmart, got married and had a child. I became the most boring person on the face of the Earth. My main things were taking some pictures, cooking some good food, being a good mom, and grocery shopping. I even did some sewing, if there's anything more mundane in life. My life became so boring and nondescript that my dog was even bored.
For nearly 20 years I've been quiet, well behaved, hard working, practical, responsible, nurturing, loving, caring, unselfish, and still observant. Even though I've seen the world around me turn into the most amazing mess that I could have imagined short of a nuclear war, I've done my best to be a good person and mind my own business. Even though I've seen the people in my life do some of the dumbest things ever, I've gone on my way and been supportive of them. I've seen more people do more stupid things than any one person should have to, but that's okay. I can handle it. I can handle anything, because I am the most capable person in the world.
It's all right that instead of teaching our children to be strong, we're supposed to teach them to go crying to everyone when they get bullied. Why make them strong, when we can just get rid of the bullies? Because bullies will always exist, but that doesn't matter. If we just make every child into a weak adult, we can all be equals. We can all be the same. We can all be like the Romans right before Rome fell. Sure, that makes sense. Better yet, we can make it so that no one is extraordinary. Then everyone can be just like me.
I've spent my entire life dreaming of being someone not like me. Why would I want to get rid of what makes people strong? Why would I want to take the greatness out of great people? What perfectly normal person with no drive and nothing extraordinary about them ever achieved greatness? It's just the ramblings of a slightly old woman who sees the world that no one wants to talk about as it rambles around Walmart in its tattered old fur coat and sleep pants. I may be no one, but damn it, I have some things to say. My life is worth talking about, and at the most unexpected time in it, it became extraordinary.
So, here's that story that I was waiting for.
My dad died. Not that there's anything unusual about a thing like that. He was old. He was retired. He was about to have a valve transplant on his Aortic Valve in his heart. It still was a surprise when my mom called me hysterical, telling me that my dad had an Aneurysm like event. I didn't ask any more questions. I just packed a bag and went to their home in Arizona. And then he died. I took care of business, helped my mom, and went back home to take care of my family and work. This is what I do. I take care of people. I'm the most capable person on Earth.
I didn't cry. I didn't get all emotional. I didn't let any of it interfere with my life, because it didn't make logical sense. I was an adult. One of my elderly parents died. It all made perfect sense. Death is just a part of life. That's what it is. There was no reason to fall apart, and I didn't. My mom, to my surprise, didn't fall apart either. She just took care of business and moved on. It was the most non earth shattering event in my life. I should have cried. I should have grieved. I didn't.
What changes in a few years? I don't know, but a few years later, some things happened. One day, out of the blue, I got a call telling me that my husband of twenty something years had been killed in a car crash on his way home from work. I was numb on that one, because he wasn't old. He wasn't retired. He didn't have heart problems. My mother, who was older than both my father and my husband, had outlived both of them. I don't know why I thought of that immediately, but I did. I didn't know what to think. I didn't know who to call, or what to tell them. I didn't know what to tell my son who was away at college.
I sat down the phone, and tried to think what to do. Then the phone rang again. It was my mom's local hospital. Her doctor told me that she'd suffered a heart attack and died. They were notifying me because I was the next of kin. I said thank you. I have no idea why I thanked this person for telling me that my mother was dead, but I did.
I realized that I had told the state trooper thank you as well. Why do we say thank you when people give us horrible, disturbing, life changing news? Why was it that I'd just thought about how odd it was that my mom, who was older than both men had outlived them both, and then suddenly, she too was dead? Thank you seemed like the logical thing to say. I had nothing else to say. I was stunned.
I called work and I'm pretty sure I upset everyone when I told them that I wouldn't be in, because everyone was dead. Then I hung up. I probably would have freaked if I'd been on the other end of that one. But that was one of those moments when I just didn't feel the need to worry about how anyone else felt. I just lost my mother in Arizona and my husband here in Connecticut at the same time. I'd always wanted to be extraordinary. I'd always wanted to have something amazing to write about. My big story had arrived.
What on Earth was I supposed to do next?
I waited for a call from someone. I didn't know who. It was the police who'd called about my husband. I didn't know where they'd taken him. I didn't know the name of the officer. I was sure he'd told me, but I hadn't heard what he'd said. I couldn't call him back, because I still had a house phone, so there was no call back number. My poor dead husband was lost somewhere in Connecticut. What would I do?
I knew where my poor dead mother was. She was in Arizona though. That would just have to wait. I called the hospital back and asked them if they could just hold onto her for me for a bit, because I had to find out what had happened to my dead husband's body, before I could do anything. The people at the hospital asked me what I was talking about, so I told them. They asked me if I was all right, and if they could call someone to help me. I think that they thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown, if they still call it that. The first time I had one when I was young that was what they called it.
I sat and waited. Finally, someone called from the local hospital and told me that my husband's body was there. I thanked them. I had to reevaluate that social convention. It wasn't making sense to me that day. The people at the hospital said that I should come and identify the body. I didn't want to do that. When my dad had died, he'd been on life support, and his living will said that he should not be resuscitated. I had to have him disconnected. I was there when he died. I saw him struggle for life and lose the battle. I didn't want to ever see a dead body again. But I had to go and identify my husband's body. I was responsible, so I would go.
I went. It was him. That was all I had to say about that. It turned out that some idiot had been texting and hadn't seen the giant white lunch truck going through the intersection on a green light. Instead of noticing the bright red light, the idiot had t-boned my husband's truck with an armored car. It was a spectacular collision. I saw it on the news. I only learned so many of the details. The bottom line was that those two kinds of trucks didn't mix well and they both died. I suppose that was best, because if the other driver and his smart phone had survived, I probably would have hunted him down and killed him. I wouldn't have felt like a bully or like I'd done something wrong either. That's just the way I see it.
I called some people to make arrangements to transport the body and have him cremated. That was what he wanted. Our family was not burial people. My family all wanted to be cremated. In a way it made things easier. In a way it made things cheaper. All of it was practical. Practical had become my middle name, and it all seemed to fall right into my bag of tricks. It was business. I just lost two of the most important people in my life, and it was all very practical. There was something wrong with that.
I sat and stared at the phone. I would have to call my son at some point and tell him what had happened. He was just about to start taking his finals for the year for his first year at Cornell. I didn't know if I should interrupt that or not. I knew he needed to know. I also knew he needed to pass those tests. I knew I needed to think logically. I knew I should probably talk to someone just to calm my nerves a little bit. I knew all of that. Instead, I decided that it would all wait until the next day. Instead, I sat down and watched a movie. Then I watched another movie. I watched a third and a fourth. Finally, somewhere during the fifth movie, I passed out from exhaustion.