Archive for September, 2009

Two Posts for the Price of One

There are two linked, but somewhat separate, subjects I wanted to write about today.

Part one. Ever since this entire situation started on Saturday, I’ve been strangely calm. I wasn’t panicking when I called 911 Saturday morning, and while I’ve had many emotional episodes and did, in fact, totally lose it when they pulled my mom’s breathing tube, I’ve been rather okay, emotionally. This has been worrying me almost as much as the situation with my mom; it’s not that I’m so self-centered, it’s just that since basically Sunday morning the outcome was evident; the following days simply made it more obvious and unavoidable.

Since Saturday, though, I haven’t been crying and curling up into a ball on my bed nearly as much as I’d expected. I did feel like I was running on empty from Monday until about Wednesday, but that’s faded with the closure that Thursday morning brought. And with a good night’s sleep and that closure, my paranoia about being a jaded, emotionless thing has grown.

It was this morning, though, that a thought occurred to me. I sat, thinking about what I had been feeling instead of intense sorrow. Disinterest, general malaise, apathy, loss of appetite, and a lack of interest in doing much. Wait a minute! Not only are some of those symptoms of mild grief, they’re all symptoms of clinical depression! Thank God. I am feeling crappy.

My mood has notably improved, though. Not just because of that realization, which absolved much of my paranoia. There’s also the fact that my mom gave one person a set of lungs, another person a kidney, and a third her other kidney and pancreas. Knowing she has helped so many people in this event has helped my Dad and I substantially.

Part two. If you’ve never lost a parent or other member of your immediate family, let me try to document my experience so you can have at least a glimpse.

Outside of the trauma of the moment – any car accident, cancer diagnosis, or the trauma of actually watching someone die (which I hope never happens to any of you) – the actual idea of the death of a loved one, in this case my mother, is simply too big to look at head on. It’s much like the S.E.P. field in the works of Douglas Adams. I’ll wait while you read the section I linked in the last sentence. Anyway, the death’s like that. Saying to myself “My Mom has died,” doesn’t mean much. It’s too big. It can’t be fathomed, at least right now.

However, it still shows. The other day I was having a conversation about drinking water and I said “We have an undersink filter.” Now, the word ‘we’ doesn’t mean the same thing as it used to. The definition of my family has changed.

Likewise, last night I went to bring a sandwich upstairs, and as I climbed the stairs I started mentally preparing for the short argument I’d have with my mom about bringing food upstairs. Then I stopped, because that wouldn’t happen anymore.

I know it’s going to continue, too. I’m going to come home from a friend’s house at 5:45 in the evening and ask, “Have you guys eaten yet?” I’m going to have to learn the hard way to use the past tense when talking about my family.

To come back to the original SEP metaphor: This isn’t something you see when you look straight at it. But if you catch it out of the corner of your eye, be prepared for a shock.

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And In The End

My mom died this morning, a little after nine. It was rather peaceful.

Her liver, pancreas, and kidneys are usable – the liver to one person, one kidney to another, the second kidney and pancreas to a third. Her lungs looked good from blood tests, but they’ll need to examine them up close before knowing if they can be used for a fourth person. Edit: The lungs proved usable, but the liver did not. Still, that’s three lives changed for the better.

I’m not sure what else to say. I might have actual words later on. Right now silence is very comforting.

I’ma Calling You Out, Broseph

The day before yesterday, I wrote some things about Dan Brown, popular author and literary punching bag. Then yesterday happened. However, in my ongoing attempts to distract myself from what happened yesterday, I’m bringing it back.

In the post two days ago, I made fun of one of Dan Brown’s character descriptions, comparing it to many novices I see in World of Warcraft who are living a hair too vicariously through their characters and haven’t given them any flaws. However, I’d like to give Mr. Brown a chance to redeem himself.

Here are some lines from Wilson, Wisconsin, which I consider one of my best character descriptions.

Winston turned to face the child, his scruffy mustache, wrinkles, and rotund figure giving him the appearance of a malnourished manatee in a polo shirt. “Hello!” Winston said to the boy, with the mix of wonder and bewilderment he used when encountering any person, technology, or concept younger than the wine he had in his basement.

Dear Mr. Brown: If you can do a better character description than this, I will personally buy a copy of your new book, The Lost Symbol, and read it with the best open mind I can. But it has to be specifically addressed to me. And the fact that almost nobody reads this blog should not be used to protect him – if I were a world famous author, I’d certainly spend all my time googling myself for people calling me out. Yep.

Ball’s in your court, sir.

I Hate Writing Non-Fiction

Anyone that knows me IRL knows that my mom, bless her, is just a monstrous alcoholic. She’s been one all of my life, though it was never this bad. Once upon a time, she could work, whereas last night she attacked me when I took away her two beers and whiskey backwash.

If you’ve never had an alcoholic, drug-addicted, or WoW-addicted parent, you might not know how… apathetic one can get. And I’m not saying this as an insult – truly, I’ve thought about it and I’m… weirdly okay with how hard it has become to care. I’m sure lots of people will look at that and condemn me, sure. But without some kind of religion to put faith in, or any kind of hope for willing improvement on my Mom’s part, it gets easier and easier to become very jaded. Truth be told, I was far from surprised when I heard a cry and heard her tumble down the stairs this morning. Truth be told, I expected it. I’d picked her up off of the floor twice last night.

Continue reading ‘I Hate Writing Non-Fiction’

The Password is ‘Cry’

Mmph. Good morning, all. I haven’t said anything in a while, so I thought I’d pipe up and remind the world that I’m alive.

First, a list from the Telegraph that made me a little sad: Dan Brown’s 20 worst sentences. In reality, several examples have more than one sentence, so it’s more content than it says on the tin. Its headline on Fark was ’20 ways to make an English major cry,’ and I couldn’t resist. I really should have thought of #1.

#20, though, is really where it’s at. Quoting from Angels and Demons, Chapter 1:

Although not overly handsome in a classical sense, the forty-year-old Langdon had what his female colleagues referred to as an ‘erudite’ appeal — wisp of gray in his thick brown hair, probing blue eyes, an arrestingly deep voice, and the strong, carefree smile of a collegiate athlete.

Dan Brown is describing his hero, Dan Brown Robert Langdon, with prose on par with people whose RSP tags I mock. Maybe people would come to this site more if I wrote like this. Let’s give this a shot.

Although not overly handsome in the classical sense, the two-hundred-year-old Dawnblade had what his female compatriots called an ‘academic’ appeal — well-behaved fire-colored hair, sharp, insistent cheekbones, a clarion, high pitched voice with an angelic falsetto that would make Geddy Lee jealous, and the smirk of a man confident in how much no good he was up to.

I have to stop there before I get a concussion from headdesking.

Moving on, here is a list of activities listed on the side of a Kid’s Meal bag at my unnamed place of employment under the heading ‘Have you ever?’

  • Shot a basket
  • Raced an imaginary friend around an imaginary tree
  • Trained a balloon animal
  • Swung a bat
  • Arm wrestled an arm chair
  • Played hopscotch with a frog
  • Ridden a pony
  • Skipped to the corner and back
  • Cannonballed off a diving board
  • Juggled helium balloons
  • Been “it”

I listed this because while many of the ideas are common and simple – being it, swinging a bat – some of them are just… wrong. If I ever saw a child running in circles, asked what he was doing, and heard back, “Racing my imaginary friend around an imaginary tree,” I think I might burst into tears. Furthermore, I think arm wrestling an armchair (which is one word, thank you) would lead to breaking one of the arms involved. Don’t know which.

Oh, and I doubt it counts as juggling if you don’t catch each item at least once, so no one’s juggled helium balloons. Hey, kids! Strap yourselves to the ceiling and throw things downward! The Kid’s Meal bag says it’s a good idea!

Well. That’s all for now. Finally working on Defenders of the Light again, and have an idea for a sequel to A Dark and Stormy Night. Hopefully those get cranked out soon.

I Love the Internet

Have I mentioned that I love the internet? I think I have. Look at this and tell me you don’t love the internet too.

I love the internet.

Love it.

Top-Secret Preview

Adapted from a conversation I had with a friend today. Anything that makes Ben laugh aloud is usually funny enough to warrant writing down. Expect to see it in a story down the line.

“Hey. That guy looks like Sheriff John Bunnell.”

“Oh? Is he the guy that hosts America’s Most Wanted?”

“No, he hosted World’s Wildest Police Videos. America’s Most Wanted is John Walsh.”

“The guy from the Eagles that isn’t Don Henley?”

“No, that’s Joe Walsh.”

“Didn’t Don Henley do American Pie?”

“No, that’s Don McLean.”

“Bruce Willis from Die Hard?”

“That’s John McClane.”

“Who… ran for president last year?”