Let me get last week down, before I forget the important bits and before I lose my blogging mojo:
Monday: We received an email from a close friend informing us that a very good friend of hers had unexpectedly died of a heart attack the previous Friday morning. Mrs. Fruit, our friend and I were actually discussing him at dinner on Friday night, not knowing that he had already left us.
I've always been obsessed with and deeply affected by death, ever since I was 8 years old. Two of my great grandparents died that year, although I don't know if that's what started it or not. My mother wouldn't let my brother and me attend the viewing or funeral. "Such things are not for children," she'd said. I wonder now whether she herself had had a bad experience as a child, or whether it was a response to my father having attended "country" funerals where mourners wailed and carried on in an overly emotional way. I know she thought it was deeply inappropriate for my father to have been allowed to see that kind of public grief. She didn't let me attend a funeral until I was 11, for another great grandmother. Before Dad pulled into the parking lot, she gave my brother and me a solemn description of what the body would look like, to prepare us.
Accompanying my predictable freak-out where death is concerned, is a weird preoccupation with whether the deceased knew he or she was going to die.
I used to think about this when I was 8, and for a good part of that year, every night before I fell asleep, I would say to myself, "When I'm going to die, I'll tell myself, 'I'm dying now.'"
The thought of being here and suddenly ceasing to be here, or ceasing to be, really, really bothers me. When my great uncle stood up from his chair in 1993 and dropped dead before he hit the floor, I was devastated to think that he---presumably---hadn't known what was happening. How sad, not to be able to prepare oneself emotionally and/or not to apprehend the final act--and fact-- of one's time on the earth.
Of course, intellectually, dying instantly seems like a blessing. There would presumably be no panic, no fear, no regret, no sense of loss. But still, knowing that the end is near would give one time to prepare.
When I was recently studying the Enneagram, I came across one of the chief fears of my Type (Nine): annihilation. Reading that, I understood a little better why death freaks me out and why I show up at funerals for people I don't even know.
Tuesday: My brother is arrested and charged with "wanton endangerment," the penalty for which is 1-5 years. This has to do with that crazy situation I described awhile ago. I wish I could write more openly about it; if and when it hits the papers, I will.
Rather than go to the cops and/or state police and/or FBI as my parents begged him to, my brother has been agonizing over the situation for a month or so. He couldn't sleep so he went to his VA physician, got a prescription for Wellbutrin and Xanax (nice going, doc, giving Xanax to an alcoholic and daily herb-smoker. Real nice.) I know from experience that ramping up on the SSRI's can be hellish at best. Turns out, he continued to drink heavily and all day. Not a good combination. He told my sister-in-law to take their children and leave. Then he started calling this neighbor who has allegedly done some pretty horrible things to my brother and my sister-in-law. My brother threatened the guy and somehow ended up at a store and fired 2 shots while they were arguing. He must not have shot at the dude, or I guess they would have charged him with attempted homicide.
My parents are okay with my brother going to jail. I mean, they'd prefer that he didn't, of course. But I think they believe if he can get away from the drugs and booze, he can straighten himself out.
Wednesday: Taize service in the evening. I usher and light a candle for the first time in months. I view the service as "work," since I have to be there early and do stuff. But, I feel strongly and loudly called to light that candle.
Maundy Thursday: Beautiful service. LadyBurg actually manages to do a foot-washing ritual, probably the first time ever in our 250 year old congregation. I help serve communion.
Good Friday: I've taken the day off work to help Senior Pastor and Seminary Intern deliver home communion. I've agreed beforehand that I'll only accompany them on the morning leg 1) because I need a mental health day, but I don't want to forego the possibility of a healing Eucharist and 2) I feel sort of like a third wheel. Usually we do this in teams of two. I figure Senior Pastor will want to talk shop with Seminary Intern.
Holy Saturday: I join other members of our Worship Committee to place the Easter flowers in the Sanctuary, Narthex and other public spaces. Three of the women have strong opinions about color and composition. The men and I don't care one way or another.
Easter Sunday: I have to confess that I wasn't in a great mood. I do get annoyed with all the C & E'ers in their finery. Why don't they come back?