Sunday, March 15, 2009

Circle of Life

When I was young and we'd drive to northeast Texas to visit my grandmother, I always looked forward to the fabulous meal that she would have waiting for us, but I dreaded the conversations I knew we would have while eating it. They usually went something like this:

My grandmother to my dad: "Do you remember Joe Wilson who used to run the feed store?"

My dad: "Yeah....he's a nice guy. How's he doing?"

My grandmother: "He died last month."

My dad: "Oh. That's too bad."

My grandmother: "You know Ethel from church?"

My dad: "She goes to the same beauty parlor as you, right?"

My grandmother: "Not anymore. The cancer's eaten her up." (I always loved how she said "the" cancer)

We used to laugh about these conversations on our way home. We didn't understand her obsession with death. But now I completely get it. Because now when we go visit our parents, Ryan and I get to hear all about the latest funeral or cancer diagnosis. It's downright depressing.

In the last few weeks, three of our friends have lost their fathers. As I type this, another friend is sitting by her father's bedside watching him take what are most likely his last few breaths. Her father happens to be one of my parents' best friends.

And while I know death is just another part of the life cycle, I'm still not used to dealing with it. And explaining it to Sydney makes it even worse, especially since she's really curious about it and likes to talk about it a lot. I'm honest with her (sparing her the adult details, of course), but it's still hard. Sometimes being an adult/parent just stinks.

So if I'm a little quiet this week, you'll know that I've got a funeral to go to. And I've got another sympathy card to buy. The fourth one in as many weeks. See? Downright depressing.

Fortunately for my emotional state, the circle of life in my little corner of the world is continuing: a dear friend of mine got married yesterday and I have several friends who are expecting babies in the coming months. Heaven knows we deserve to hear some happy news after the month we've had.

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