Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sad and scary stuff.


Last Friday afternoon, I was sitting at my desk, in my cubicle, just typing away. I talk to my co-workers Lola and Annie pretty much all day since its a small office and we sit right next to each other. We were discussing something a few minutes before, but it was silence right then. The walls are thin, so you can hear the executives in their offices. I know all about my bosses vacation home remodel and our employees bonuses/stock options... Lola and I are always laughing about it. We speak in looks most of the time. A guest showed up in the office and our CEO started chatting loudly so I peeked over my cubicle to look at Lola and say without saying: 'there they go again', but she was concentrating hard on something so I decided not to interrupt. A couple minutes later - I heard a noise like she stood up. I glanced over and she was leaning on the desk violently shaking her clenched fists. It took only seconds to register that she wasn't angry, because her face looked completely empty. She was staring straight up like she saw a ghost. She was a ghost. Her face was dead. 

I got scared, but immediately turned around to catch her, save her, do something. Within the time it took me to push off my desk and roll my chair 2 feet, she hit the floor - hard. Still shaking and still empty, I thought she was going to die. Right there, on the standard berber carpet laying crooked by her gray cubicle. Less than poetic, that's for sure. Her plastic hair clip was broken in three places. There was puke on her cheek and her tongue was out and bloody. I thought immediately about the last thing I said to her and did she know that she's a good person and did she do everything she wanted and who's going to tell her daughter - who I met just a week before. I leaned down, started shaking her, and said 'help'. It was a scream in my head, but they tell me I must have whispered. I started to think clearly and turned around -dialed 911. By the time I got a person on the phone, she started to come around, the whole office ran over, and I started breathing again.
She's fine now. 

It took me an hour and a half to stop shaking. 
I remember so clearly the day my sister died, in our living room. I remember coming down the stairs to a stretcher. I couldn't see the paramedics, she just floated across the room under the whitest sheet of my life. I remember when my mom sat me down to tell me my grandma had a stroke. I was 9 years old and its like I was standing on the street where it happened. I remember my father, squishing my 2 year old self in between his legs. I've never met another person with a memory that young. I don't even know if its real.

It's strange how death has such a strong affect on people. No one knows how to talk about it. Especially when its tragic. I have a good friend who's grandpa passed yesterday. He was 94. It doesn't matter how full a life is, no one wants it to be over. It's just so hard to say goodbye. All the senses you shared, to see them, to hug them and smell them. My sister always smelled like coconut oil and cheap fabric softener. Now all you have is the memory. And, if you're lucky a few things to trigger it. I have a little ceramic box that says 'special sister', a ring she always wore that never fit me -now it does. Photographs my grandma took because she loved to capture time and tell you all the stories later. A little cat sculpture that sat on her old box TV - she let me play with breakable things, and a tattoo that reminds me everyday to let go of what's gone, but to remember all the things you learned and all the moments you shared. Boyfriend laughs at me for having all this 'stuff' to carry around. He's not very sentimental. I think if I lost the stuff it would be like losing them all over again. I don't know why but having something tangible to hold and see just makes it easier to live without them. No matter how difficult though - we have to try and realize that we're still here and we can carry on their wisdom and learn from their triumphs and their mistakes. You only have so much space up there, might as well fill it with happy times and special seconds you can cherish forever. 

You never fully appreciate what a big impact someone has on your life until they are ripped from it. And then, you know. And you wish you would have said this or done that. 
Witnessing Lola's seizure just woke me up to remember - I always want to appreciate the people I still have, forgive, believe, support, and don't dwell on the past. I think if I try to do that, when the next person I love leaves maybe I'll have a little more peace knowing they knew how much they meant to me.

I know this guy knows I love him :)

xo Ellie

*Photo is from when we went hiking in Muir Woods, Spring 2013.