Sunday, July 04, 2010

In Case Heaven Has Wi-Fi

New Viewer's Guide to This Entry: I had a friend who was like a big brother to me since I was five. His mom is my mom's best friend. We celebrate every holiday together and vacation together every year at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware every year. His name was Brad. He had muscular dystrophy. He died in December. I got to be there to help him pass, bringing him slushies and providing a lot of his care. It was beautiful and awful and I write about him with great love and some caution because his story is not mine to tell, though it's pretty much What I'm Workin' Through for the past six months. We were both avid fans of the TV show Lost. I wrote the first part of this entry right after the Lost Finale. Joel and I are in the car right now driving down to the beach. His best friends from college and high school and childhood are all coming down for fireworks and beach fun and on Monday, we will scatter his ashes where he asked us to.

Hi. You should have been here tonight. More specifically, I should have driven home to E. Pete and brought you a Coke slushy and we would have watched it all from the 7:30 p.m. preview on and Killian would have made herself a lap dog even though she's really ginormous when she sits on you, well, me, but I never would have pushed her off. I should be walking home to the place I now call "my parents' house," flip flops slapping up C@roline and P@rkridge Drives, passing in and out of yellow pools of light from faintly humming streetlamps with the smell of ginkgo trees in the air.

But to wish for that would be to wish for you to still be in pain, bored and frail. I hated that for you, but still, I wish you were still here for this. For all of it. Saying "I miss you" is inadequate.

Oh, it hurt to see that character of Christian Shepherd. Oh, it hurt to see him alive and whole and free of his demons, helping his son realize that in order for them to be embracing and talking then they must both be dead.

No one dies alone, I suppose, was the thing with the dog at the end. And you didn't. I never would have let that happen, which is probably why you picked me.

Lost the Finale: not for dog-lovers or the recently bereaved. Kleenex says bless you.

Thank you for that. Thank you for picking me. Have I ever thanked you for that in any of "our talks" where I just talk and hope that you listen and then hope that I'm not stopping you from playing tackle football or riding a motorcycle or whatever it is that you get to do in the afterlife that's cooler than watching your friends and family cry because we just don't get how fucking cool it is where you are yet.

Well, anyway. Thank you. For asking for me and then asking me to stay and letting me be the one to say the hard words, like, "I think I know where you'd like to have your ashes scattered. Would you like me to put it out there, and you say yes or no?"

Memorial planning on a notepad with your hero trach'ed and intubated. They never show THAT on the life insurance commercial with Grandpa Witherspoon, do they?

As this grief cycle turns and then turns again- I'm cycling back into nightmare mode, AGAIN, dont'cha know- I'm back at the point where I think, "I can never do that again. I can never be that strong for anyone else, can never help anyone else die. I emerged from that phase in February, thinking, "Well, maybe I could. For a loved one, a parent, Joel someday if I had to, but only when we're reallyreally old, please. But I could. I could do it again."

That was progress, back in February. I went screaming back to Hell To the No sometime last week when I started giving Mt. Laundry the side-eye and thinking about packing for the beach.

For the past six years you know what my favorite part of the beach house was? Getting to reposition you every night at 2 a.m. after I retired the laptop, savoring the solitude in the house full of sleeping parents and guests and friends, the only sounds that broke the sleeping hush were mine- clinking the recyclable beer bottles and loading the dishwasher for the morning breakfast rush- and yours- the hush-shush-shush of your bi-pap as I slid open your bedroom door, at your request.

That was awesome, Brad, getting to instantly make you feel so much better with a simple 10-second act of moving a blanket or flipping your pillow to the cool side. That was the best.

Anyway. I was staring down the laundry, thinking about what I should wash so I can pack, when I remembered with the shrieking brakes of a Mack truck trying not to hit a squirrel that you aren't going to be at the beach this year. Like, duh, right?

But to wish to have you back is to wish for you to be bored, in pain and frail, on the boardwalk with a book and not down in the waves or the sand or in line for the Haunted House with the kids. I will ride with Aiden so he won't be scared, because it was awesome when you did that for me, except now I WANT to be haunted. But I will go with the others to spread your ashes, because- just like spinning you at night- it's a ten-second act that I can do with the others, at your request.

Damn, your being dead just SUCKS.

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