How did I get this job, anyway? I am retarded. I just scanned five black and white documents, and didn't choose the right options. So instead of being single, two-sided pdfs, they are numbered 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, etc. until it gets to the end, where it goes 119, 121, 122, 120, 118, 116, etc... Argh. (To my coworker who reads this blog: I'm sorry. Soon you will not have to deal with my trifling mistakes, you poor, encumbered soul you!)
Four years ago my brother died after being diagnosed with strep throat, then whoops! it was actually leukemia. (From lame clinic, if we had a soul we would tell you: "We would like to apologize for our laziness and reluctance to spend money on a medical test that would have detected the leukemia before your family member spent 30 days hovering near death in an ICU, it's just that we're HMO motherfuckers and can't be bothered. Thanks.")
Yesterday was his birthday. Or, would have been. What can you say about someone who was once vibrant, full of humor and light, and then died at age 34? It was painful and unfair, but there is nothing to be done now except remember. Remember how life can be taken away so quickly, before you have time doing what you intend to do. Don't put anything off, if you can help it. You never know when the day will come when you CAN'T do what you want with your life.
I know that for me, life sometimes feels like a burden. Too often I find myself thinking, 'How am I going to get through this? I can't take this pain,'. Then on the flip side, I think about how amazing it is that I am here. When you think about the biological odds (millions of sperm, that ONE egg...) and the anthropological history of the world (wars, famine, disease, lack of medical knowledge way back when, etc.) it further boggles the mind that we made it to 2006 when one of our relatives could've easily been killed before creating one of our predecessors. If JUST ONE had not made it, we wouldn't be here.
I don't know what this type of thinking is called, or even what the point of it is, but it does help me get out of my funk to think this way. It makes me appreciate life, even when it's bad. I guess it makes me think that just as there was life for thousands of years before me, there will be life after me. There will even be life for me after the current crisis passes. I guess that if life lessons weren't painful, we wouldn't really notice them, would we?
I know my family is thinking about the same thing today. I think the passage of time has lessened the sting of loss, but the lesson of having lived through it is still there: Don't Put Things Off. Life is Short. Enjoy Life and Your Family Now.
There is one more ingredient that helps, that I could not do without: knowing that I am not alone. That's what the internet has given me, the gift of knowing that I am not suffering alone, or crazy to feel this way. Through both email and the blogs I read, when my powers of positive thinking become eroded to the point that I can't conjure a single good thought, I read stories of other people's troubles and my thoughts turn to how I can help that person. Then I start thinking about how I can reach out, or ask for advice, or just plain commiserate. And that makes it a little bit better, enough to where I can shake off the negative energy that brings me down and become a stronger person for having gone through it.
That's what I want my family to know right now, that I am there for them if they need me; whether they need to talk, listen, or want to commiserate. Life is short, but it is mostly good. And it's even better when you are in good company.