Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Three months

The first week after Ron died, Mai asserted that there were some good things and some bad things about Daddy dying. I had to take the bait. “What?”

“Well, the bad things are that I’m really sad that I’ll never get to spend time with him again. But the good things are that he won’t have to take shots anymore, and he won’t have to sleep at the hospital anymore, and they won’t have to take blood anymore, and...” the list went on and on, as if the sheer quantity of the good things could compensate for the enormous gaping hole left by the one bad thing.

Mai has become a very careful listener of song lyrics. The other day, James Taylor’s version of “Only One” was playing on the iPod and Mai remarked, “Mommy, I really like this song because it makes me feel like I can still have a lot of love with just one parent.” Mai consistently digs deep to come up with the most positive spin she can muster surrounding our great loss. The actual refrain from the song is:

“You are my only one
You are my only one
Don’t be leaving me now
Now you’re my only one.”

Mai also commented on the lyrics of Les Miserables’ “I Dreamed a Dream” which I have been playing as part of my malaise mix. She opined that the words aren’t really happy. What’s not cheery about:

“I had a dream that life would be
So different from this Hell I’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.”

Joking aside, three months later, I think our family is doing OK. We all still have our very sad moments, but we also have a lot of joy and love, which is absolutely what Ron would want. 

I’m stealing a George Bernard Shaw quote I found on another widow’s blog: “Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.”

Tal, at age two, has always understood the permanence of his father’s death, but doesn’t yet realize our situation is not universal. During a playdate, his friend was crying and Tal threw in his two cents: “I think he misses his Dada.” In the early weeks after Ron’s passing, the structures Tal built out of his magnetic tiles were mostly hospitals. Now, they’re more often horse stables or dog houses. It’s progress. Mostly, Tal is still his exuberant self. 

In that way, Mai and Tal have saved me. It’s so clear that there’s just one way for us to play the hand we’ve been dealt, and that’s to celebrate life and to live as beautifully as possible; to surround ourselves with joy and great love, because that’s the way we lived with Ron and he would be so heartbroken to see the cancer take that away, too. 

So we are enormously thankful for those of you who are committed to joy, and who have the capacity to live it. You are the beautiful souls who know that peace and happiness are choices, and that laughter is as life sustaining as air and water.