August 09, 2009

Rainy Day Letter to the Dead

Dear Marilyn,

I think of you at odd times. February 2, the anniversary of your death, came and went this year almost unnoticed. Yet at other times I catch myself thinking “Marilyn would love that,” or “I wish I could talk to Marilyn about this.” It would be nice just to have someone to catch up with. You know, an exchange of how-are-you’s in which each party actually cares about the response.

So how are you? Besides dead?

I don’t suppose I’m going to get any response. I could make something up. I’m good at that. I could create a whole new life for you, or a continuation of your current one, say as a ghost or on some alternate plain of existence, heaven, if you like. However, I think it somehow defeats the purpose.

I’m still here. Still living in the same little apartment. Still taking the same classes at the same college. Still have the same cranky cat. It’s going well. I’m looking forward to a swiftly changing future and I wish I could talk to you about that. You always had great practical advice. Mom advice without the burden of mom expectations. I wish we could commiserate about our love lives (or lack thereof) like we used to. Better yet, I wish I could be happy for you about finally finding that great relationship you always wanted.

I’d like to tell you about my day, the little quirky details that used to make you smile. I ran into Colonel Bolin in front of Canfield the other day. He’s still got the same big smile and booming voice I remember. He’s filled out a little now that he no longer has obsessive PT requirements to fulfill, but his hair still stands at attention. It was kind of odd, almost surreal, since I’ve been working on a piece of fiction with a character closely based on him. I should be working on my Buddhist architecture paper for Rumiko, but I can only do that for so long before I find myself switching back over to this book. I’ve got about eight chapters, not all sequential, and an outline now. Maybe when classes start again, I’ll send it to a publisher or two just for giggles. Can’t hurt, right?

I saw Paul a few weeks ago and we talked about you. He’s doing well. He misses you, too.

But you know, it’s all in a good way, the missing you. Because when I miss you, I think about you, and when I think about you I am reminded of so many good things. Some of them aren’t really good. I remember how angry you could be sometimes, angst-ridden and frustrated. I’m not to the point where time has glossed that over and made it nostalgic quite yet. But it was valuable for me to know that part of you, so the memory is still good. Maybe that’s selfish, but it’s true.

I wonder if I’ve changed. I’d like to know, to have an objective opinion and I could always trust you for that. I wonder if you’d have changed if you had more time. I think that’s the only thing I regret, that you didn’t have time to become happy within your life. You became happy within your death in a way, because it forced you to let go of so many notions and attachments, but that’s not the same thing.

I realized the other day that Brandon is going to outlive April, buses willing. Our family has a history of being long lived, on both sides. April’s family does not and in the last few months she’s had some heart problems. My brother is going to be a widower someday (buses willing) and I hope it is a long, long time from now. I wonder if he has realized that.

When our Grandpa Dale died he cried. I never did. We never saw our mom, Aunt Donalee, Uncle Dean, Uncle Dave, or Grandma Del cry and it bothered Brandon. I understood it, but I don’t think he did. I hope we will be the kind of family he needs. I hope I will be the kind of sister he needs when our parents die. I hope April will still be here to support him when that happens. She’ll bawl her eyes out. Mom has vowed to live to be a hundred and thirty just to make my life miserable, so I don’t know.

I suppose it’s inevitable that I related you with death. Not fair, though. It makes for a depressing sort of letter. I’d rather be cheerful and make you smile and laugh, but things just didn’t work out that way. I guess you don’t mind, eh? I hope you’ve found happiness and freedom from suffering.

I love you.



john said...

Thanks for the excellent post. You made me smile and cry. : )

Yay Marilyn!

Kavita said...

"Marilyn’s death gave me a greater sense of compassion than any other event in my life. I am aware of the suffering of terminal illness, the pain of cancer, the mind numbing effects of drugs, the grief of loosing a friend, a mother. I can feel that deeply in my heart the way I have felt little else. And I can feel deeply for those people who experience similar situations in their lives..."
My path to you opens on this post, I found you through 'Equanimity & Apathy', Monica. In exchange for enjoying your writings, I welcome you to stay with me; you're coming to India sooner or later. I know.

Monica said...

Most likely, yes, but be careful what you wish for. I might just take you up on that! Thank you for your generous and supportive comments, as always.

Suck it up. Marilyn didn't go for weepy guys (or gals for that matter). ;-) Kidding. Cry as much as you want. Take care.