Well, Boy and Girl, I’m home from the whirlwind tour of Arkansas-oklahoma-texas-newmexico-arizona (reverse and repeat), feeling sleep-deprived and cotton-headed and thoroughly tired of anything Subway can possibly offer, eating our way across the country at Love’s Truck Stop/Subway Exit 27/195/362/35/183/328 ad infinitum. It was a time-warp including little social media as mom has no internet …
… and my iPad spent a day in time out when it wouldn’t renew cellular data, leaving me in a social media black hole.
OMGawd NO! I’m fading…fading…
Wait, hold on – Mo’s eating a contract.
Right, I’m back, thanks. It’s fine, it was the extraneous pages of the contract, nothing important, and he didn’t swallow. This is why God invented Scotch tape. It’s nice the Scots got something named after them, too, even though a roll of sticky tape is probably nowhere near as fun as a day-long holiday celebrated with green beer and lots of food and parades and stuff. A roll of sticky tape…beer…sticky tape…beer…no wonder they play bagpipes. It’s payback to the rest of the world.
SO. It’s LENT. I mean, it’s been Lent for a while now, a couple weeks or so but who’s counting? I’ll tell you who: my dear friend who gave up cussing for Lent is counting for sure and by dammit, I can tell you that. I think you have to be some special kind of stupid to give up cussing. Not that I think my dear friend is stupid, much, but at least for myself I’m pretty sure cussing saves lives. St. Patrick’s day falling inside of Lent also makes me happy that I didn’t give up beer. This has probably also saved lives.
I gave a lot of thought to things coming into Lent – I’ve always liked the idea of time set aside to refocus, for renewal of some sort. I spent a couple weeks considering and rejecting possibilities.
The week before Lent I was working out with Killer and Brenda. I was so proud. I announced cheerfully that I’d decided to give up bitching for Lent.
I was quite confused when they shouted “NO!” in unison.
Brenda followed up by announcing that if I quit bitching she will quit training with me, and Killer seconded the motion by noting she would fire me.
Although slightly disappointed at the reaction I was secretly very relieved because I’m pretty sure giving up bitching would make my Brains explode despite taking my meds on a regular basis (you think I’m kidding). I amended it to quit bitching at Hubs and almost immediately after this decision I went out of town for 9 days. Coincidentally I did very well at not bitching.
We had a great visit with my mom, the B’ster was an absolute blast and the best-behaved 4 year old I’ve ever seen. He played on the iPad for the entire 48-ish hours we spent driving, other than when we were eating or he was asleep. Mom had such a wonderful time playing with him and it was a huge blessing to see her doing well and getting along fine, rattling around in that big old house by herself. Next month will be two years since Dad passed and she’s moving forward.
I could not tell you if I think of my brother 14 times a day or once a month. I have no clue. I do know that I think of him a lot at times like this, when I’ve been back to Arizona and childhood memories fill so many places. I seldom remember him with anything but joy and the peace of happy memories.
I don’t even know how it arose, Jen and I talking about Bret and what it might be like if he were still here. I expect he’d be married, there would probably be nieces or nephews or both. Maybe I’d even still live in Arizona, who knows what course my life would have taken. He’d be there to talk to, he’d have been there through everything with dad and he’d be there now to share the weight of worry about mom.
It does no good to think of it unless remembering him can bring joy, but today I struggle, finding tears on my cheeks as I drove to Kroger and again just now, as I write. I am OK with that, it will pass. He was joy. He was laughter and smiles, he was a friend to everyone. When they say the good die young, they must have known my brother. Raised by the same parents, I was a mousey, scared, insecure little girl who thought far too much about far too many things.
Maybe what I need to do for Lent is realize we’re all not so different, after all. Maybe I need to realize that we’re all here with our own struggles, our own memories, our own joys; sitting in our mental glass cubicles looking at everyone else doing so well and not realizing they struggle too, and we’re doing about as well as everyone else.
Bret William Eske