Thursday, July 24, 2008

Brutal Week

Warning: Very Sad Post

The week culminating in the thunder moon was like a nightmare. I felt anxiety all week to the point of having stomach aches many mornings. It's easy enough to explain it by noting that I had returned from vacation and had to adjust to new coordinates; the kids with new caretakers at their camps, a tide of details to manage including applying sunscreen to all the children in the morning, accounting for bathing suits, towels, underwear, googles, and swimming caps, and that never easily solved solution of bringing water. I'm trying to go the high road of avoiding bottled water, which led me to search target for some reusable container. If they were little pirates, they'd just have their bottle of whiskey with them, you know water gets very rank after months at sea, but hooch doesn't.

I could've used some hooch last week, if only I could drink it without feeling worse. That's why I have to meditate. Or pray, which I did plenty of days last week. There were some periods where I carried my rosary beads around with me like a security blanket, pressed into some anxiety center between my heart and my navel. What in the heck all was going down?

Bad things came in threes. The first bitterness was the story of the child named Chase, newly adopted from China, who died because his father completely forgot about him, leaving the child in the car when he went to work instead of taking the boy to daycare. Poor poor forgotten Chase, so far from home.

Poor Pluto, our Chinchilla, who started having seizures Sunday, while I was shopping for water vessels at Target, and who died the next day. He was the greatest pet ever, so gentle and soft and amazing. I'm picturing him scurrying around on the craggy peaks of ethereal Andes in Chinchilla heaven, taking abundant luxurious dirt baths in volcanic ash.

On Thursday I learned that someone at work died, not someone I knew but someone who people loved, a young woman with a year old baby. She died from blood clots in both her lungs. Her husband found her collapsed and took her to the hospital, where they resucitated her three times before she passed away. Rest in Peace, Kimberly.

Then on Friday, the thunder moon was full and glowing through the night's humidity, as if the air itself were full of tears. I came across this tale of the Buddha when I was looking into the meaning of mustard seeds as a symbol of faith. It seems they are also a symbol of grief, and nothing tests faith like grief. The story begins when a woman visits the Buddha seeking a cure for her child:

"Lord and Master, give me the medicine that will cure my boy." The Buddha answered: "I want a handful of mustard-seed." And when the girl in her joy promised to procure it, the Buddha added: "The mustard-seed must be taken from a house where no one has lost a child, husband, parent, or friend." Poor Kisa Gotami now went from house to house, and the people pitied her and said: "Here is mustard-seed; take it!" But when she asked Did a son or daughter, a father or mother, die in your family?" They answered her: "Alas the living are few, but the dead are many. Do not remind us of our deepest grief." And there was no house but some beloved one had died in it.

You know how people make a gesture of playing a tiny violin with their fingers to mock someone's melodrama? I'd like to play an actual song on an actual violin this time, something for the dead, and for us living struggling with our losses and failures. What would you like me to play? Just let me warn you, I don't play well.


M.Thew said...

Beethoven's 9th's "Ode to Joy", everybody can whistle it, no?

amarilla said...

Funny that you should say that. I actually am learning to play the violin and one of the songs I'm working with is called "The Silver Spire." I believe it's an Irish Jig but parts of it powerfully remind me of "Ode to Joy."

Lisanne McT said...

Sorry to hear all this bad news,hope next week is better!!!!

City Mouse said...

Oh, A - I'm so sorry to hear all this. I tend to be a little overboard on the stars-and-universe stuff at times like this, but I do feel like it was a difficult week in many ways for a lot of people. So sorry for the one, two, and three punches, and I hope you're feeling better. I know the little things just compound life when the big ones are already getting in the way.

And I'd like to hear the old Irish folk tune, "Molly Malone," because it's about a sweet girl that bad things happened to. It's supposed to be sad, but I find it rather joyful too.