Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Cupcake therapy

We've gone a long time without posting. Unfortunately, it's not because we're holding our breath and waiting the appropriate time before announcing that we're having a baby. I'm not pregnant, and the whole project may be on hold for a bit. But backing up to why we haven't posted ...
Jason, a cousin I've adored my whole life, killed himself on June 19. My grandpa correctly called it a tragedy--Jason's sister pointed out that it's the only tragedy our generation has ever personally experienced. While my family is interesting and complicated enough to double as a genogram glossary, nothing really bad has happened since my dad's mom died young of breast cancer and my mom's dad died young of lung cancer (both before I was born.) My Umma (mom's mom) died when I was 11, but that was after a 17-month good-bye, before the real pain of cancer set in, and while she was still living independently. I still cry about it sometimes and will suddenly miss her like crazy, but I can recognize that it was pretty close to "the good death."
I don't think there's anything good about Jason being dead. That's not Pastor Anne talking, that's Jason's little cousin. Who is angry and really, really sad. I can intellectually appreciate the argument that he's not living in misery any more, but my body rejects that reasoning. I'm not worried at all about his soul--I just wish he wasn't dead.
The good came in the way our family came together, doing just what a family is supposed to do--taking turns taking care of each other, taking turns leaning on each other for comfort. I was reminded that I love them very, very much. The good is also in our memories of Jason, which we shared along with a huge number of pictures.
On the ride back to Connecticut from the funeral, my legs--which had been aching all week--began throbbing with pain and my feet swelled up. Sean and I sang for the last two hours of the trip to help distract me. Still in our funeral clothes, we drove straight to Student Health, thinking they'd give me a diuretic for the swelling. They sent us to the emergency room, and 8 hours later they'd ruled out kidney failure (whew!) and blood clots, but wanted me to follow up some abnormal blood flow they found on the ultrasound. I'm going to have a cardiology work up and an abdominal ultrasound to make sure everything's OK with the remnant tumor and my heart--although I'm pretty convinced that it was all from too much salt, standing, and dehydration. My legs are still achey, but the swelling is gone; I'm not worried. But, if there is something wrong, it's probably good that I'm not pregnant.
To work through all this I've been baking. I've made strawberry cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting, Texas sheet cake, chocolate cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting, buttermilk shortcakes and blueberry/lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting. All were quite good and most of it went to my Greek class. I think I'm ready now, though, to be less productive in my sadness. I am grateful for the voices of my pastoral care profs that (in my head) tell me what I'm feeling is normal and OK. Knowing these things, having read those books, I still don't know what to do with this grief.

3 comments:

Lisa Marie said...

I'm so sorry, Annie. I love you so much and hate to know you're going through so much. Write me anytime - or call me anytime. I love you.

matermagna said...

Lisa: Love you too! And love the pic on your blog right now ... it's happiness in picture form, really.

Arwen (who's doing some catch up reading, if you couldn't tell) said...

*hugs*

people speak of grief and say it will pass. you know from your grandmother's death that it doesn't pass but it becomes less on the front of your mind. There will be a time when it will not be as present and will only occasionally side swipe you emotionally. And the best thing to do at those times...is call or write to us, because we love you and we will gladly give you an ear, a shoulder or a cup of sugar.