formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
it's just the title at the top of the page that's new

Monday, October 26, 2009

You Better Stock Up on Light Bulbs, Mel...

I can't believe it's Monday already but my calendar and my email say it is... so it must be. This weekend went by in a bit of a blur and I'm shocked it's over already. Mark's funeral, of course, took up a big portion of it. As I've said a few times since, it was awful and wonderful at the same time. It's always awful to say good-bye to someone you love, especially when they're gone too soon (and it's always too soon when you love someone, isn't it?). But it was wonderful for a few reasons... first, although I knew that Mark's amazing attitude and gifts of humor and love were far-reaching, I didn't realize just how far-reaching. I saw and heard and felt just how loved he was... and how much good he did in his 44 years. Well, I'm sure we only scratched the surface, as there wasn't enough time to tell all the stories that would have been necessary to give the big picture, but the picture was clear nonetheless.

As I sat in the church on Saturday, listening (and crying), I started taking stock of my own life (as one is wont to do when faced with mortality, eh?). I wondered if, when I die, there will be hundreds to mourn me; if there will be story after story of my good works and my good humor and my selflessness.

And I wasn't sure the answers would be 'yes'.

I don't want someone to stand up at my funeral and say, "Well, she had good intentions" ('cause most likely it'd be Mel and she'd totally want to make fun of me and then she'd get in some sort of jab about how I once thought epito-ME and epi-TOME were two different words and then I'd look stupid and then I'd get mad and I'd have to haunt her and blow out all her light bulbs and that'd just zap the extra energy I'm going to need to haunt my ex and blow out all his light bulbs and... ummm... what was I saying?).

Oh, right... back to the intentions thing... my intentions are and have always been good. My actions, though, have not always exemplified my intentions. And I can think of loads of excuses for why this is the case, but you know what? That's just what they are... excuses. Mark had real reasons for sitting on his butt (literally, as he spent the last long while in a wheelchair)... but he didn't. Instead, he did. He did what was asked of him and, more often, what wasn't. He saw a need - that of a single person or of an entire community - and he did what needed doing to meet that need. He gave of himself, even when he was physically weak and he had to feel there was little to give. He helped other people, even when he was suffering. He talked a load (and his talk was often punctuated by the filthiest jokes, which is one of the things I loved most about him... and why Mel called him, appropriately, her 'wholly inappropriate friend'), but he didn't just talk the talk... he walked the walk, even when he couldn't walk anymore.

This weekend caused me to stop and take a look at my life. It caused me to realize how much I value and miss friends I've had for half my life but don't see nearly enough. It caused me to want to make some changes. I've come a long way in the last year, I think, but not far enough. Mark's faith in God and himself took him to Africa, where he made many changes. I'm not sure I need to do that (though Maithri, if you have space on your next trip to Swaziland, I'm in, baby!), but my faith in Mark and myself tells me I can do far more than I'm doing.

So I'm on a mission to find more. I need to find more... 'cause I totally don't want Mel to spend 15 minutes of my eulogy devoted to my 'epitome' mistake.

Oh hell, who am I kidding? She'll do it anyway. Crap.

18 comments:

Mel said...

I'm finding it remarkable that you think I'd even be able to eulogize you. I'd probably be collapsed in a puddle on the floor just muttering "epitoME, epiTOME, epitoME, epiTOME". But, I would have lots to say, if I could get it all out without collapsing, besides that. I promise! And, his funeral was like a call to action in several ways. Be more present in your friends' lives. And, lordy, when I was standing between Patrick and Doug when they were hugging me right before we left, I felt this huge sadness for missing so much over the last years. Remember that safe feeling I'm always going on about? Felt it there! And, also just to do more for people. There are times I feel like I've just done enough. I get frustrated and tired and I ask what more can I do? I'm sure he did too, but he just kept on doing it.

So, yeah, I might mention epitome, but I'd also mention so many other things: the way you raised Ryan, your conviction to your beliefs, your talent, your patience with a snoring, tripping, heavy suitcased friend, your coaching, your teasing, your devotion, your loyalty. And, of course your particular eyewear choice at Fireworks displays. That and epitome will be the best parts.

Diane said...

Oh, Jesus H. Christ, I'd forgotten about the 'eyewear choice'!

mo.stoneskin said...

I'm sad to read of this.

Actions, intentions, Romans 6, that old chestnut. That's what grace is all about.

blognut said...

I like this Mel of your's and all of these secrets she has on you. I'm totally going to encourage her shenanigans, you know? There's nothing you can do about it except avoid dying, okay?

I'm pretty sure that she's right, though. About all of it. The kind of friend you are, the kind of mom you are to Ryan, the loyalty, conviction, and all of the things you've already done and aren't thinking about. Just sayin'.

XO

Rachel Cotterill said...

You just have to make sure you tell all the stories first, so that when we read your blogibituary (ahem) we'll understand the in-jokes. I think photos might be required for the eyewear. Seriously. If you haven't got photos from that incident (Mel??), you might just have to recreate it.

Debbie said...

so sorry to hear about your friend!!! and what a beautiful post!! I had a similar 'Epiphany' when thinking about my life and whether I live it! or just survive it! I think you are doing awesome! BUT I do get your heart on this...

hebba said...

There are moments in life that change you forever. They make you think, think, think -- and then suddenly (and often briefly) everything around you come into such intense focus and you wonder how you never saw those things before. Your friend, Mark's passing seems to be such a moment in yours.
I think you're pretty spectacular already. I read about all the things your are doing this fall and I wonder how you can do it all.
But use this time of self reflection wisely. What a tribute to Mark it would be.

justsomethoughts... said...

beautiful.
the tribute lives on in the hearts of those left behind.
you made many smile.
many different smiles.
that's what i'll say.

Maithri said...

I cant think of a better way of honouring the life of a friend than by using their example to shine our own light a little brighter in the world... to give a little more love each day...

And you my beautiful friend do that every day...

Now as for Africa...

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

COME.TO.SWAZILAND.

Come anytime... It will change your world.... and we'll have soooo much fun together... you know that right...

Write to me!

Love you,

M

Sometimes Sophia said...

I've had that thought... wondering whether more than a handful of people will show up at my funeral. And I've decided, it's actually between me and my God to know the extent of my worthiness... In fact, I hope the pile of anonymous good deeds far outweighs those actions which have earned me friendship or recognition. "For you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

Stu Pidasso said...

Remembrance is a gift of love, as is our time...the one thing we can not get back. Every day you spend teaching your daughter and all the little sinkers is a gift to the community from your valuable resources; personality and time. I think you ar A-Okay......but we can all do a little more.

bearly domesticated boneman said...

http://www.humortimes.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=90

(Really. I wouldn't kid a kidder, either!)

f1trey said...

LOL I do PLAN TO outlive anyone who could give a rememberance.... on my tombstone I want "I told you I was sick"...LOL

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Sometimes, the essence of what impact we have made in our lives can be seen in our friends and family, and I think you under-estimate your legacy, Diane...

Just imagine if all those little ones had never been taught to swim by you? Never mind the positive impacts you've made on lovely Ryan, and the criminally insane, like Bloggus and me?! ;) Be well, petal, thinking of you, xox

Knucklehead said...

Hey, if our friends can't mock us at our own funeral, what's the use of having them in the first place?

dianne said...

I would say that many of us take stock of our own lives in these intense moments of sadness and loss...it makes us think about our own mortality and whether we are living or just existing.
Some individuals do 'walk the walk' and make a great difference to many lives but most of us strive to do our very best to help others and touch lives, maybe not on a grand scale but as important just the same.
I like it that the people I love and care for are here with me now, it doesn't matter to me how many people attend my funeral. ♥

sherri said...

I've attended too many funerals here lately, and have several friends battling cancer and it does cuase me to take stock of my own life and intentions as well. I am so inspired by these courageous friends of mine- and you're right- good intentions change nothing. I want to make a difference- everyday- not just when I feel like it.

In this way, funerals can be good for those of us left to deal with our lives.

And the epitoME thing...nothing compared to my many blunders. But I like the idea of blowing out lightbulbs.

Jenners said...

I think you aren't giving yourself near enough credit ... most people don't. You'll probably be surprised to see who mourns you at your funeral (cuz we all know you'll be haunting it to see what Mel says). But I relate to what you're saying -- it can be easy to intend or want to do stuff and then not do it. But don't discount the fact that you are raising Ryan (essentially) by yourself. That is NO small thing! You don't have to travel near and far to do amazing things ... just being a good mom and person is enough. It really is. : )