Monday, June 09, 2008

dust to dust

Justin and his step dad Mark are spending the week together to commemorate the one year anniversary of Toni's death.

They're doing all the things that Justin's mom loved--going hiking in the desert and then to Vegas for a couple of nights.

It's male-bonding time, so I'm calling a self-imposed moratorium on calling Justin, especially since I might interrupt an actual serious moment or make Mark feel lonely because he isn't getting phone calls from his wife.

Justin and I spent the actual anniversary, June 6, in Laughlin with Jason and Amanda and SecondMom Sandi and crew, so we toasted a few times to Toni--they all knew her. Come to think of it, anyone who met her before her brain cancer knew her better than I ever did, even if I did make a photo collage slide show for the wake.

Last night when we got hope from Laughlin after the 5ish hour drive, I was trying to get things organized for the wee, and he was just getting grouchy. We were both so tired after and I have been trying so hard to live in the moment that I forgot the emotional weight of his trip's purpose and was just plowing through trying to get to sleep sooner than later. Fortunately, we have both been working so hard to communicate well that he finally told me he was stressed over the anniversary, the residency, the paper getting published, the driving.... so instead of trying to get him to tell me more things to help with our planning I just tried to do things more immediately necessary for him--like help with packing. It worked pretty well.

My mother-in-law has been dead for a year.

I should be more sad about that, but it is hard to miss someone I never knew and it is impossible to wish that she were still here to suffer through more brain-cancer-surgery related side effects. I am just sad for Justin and Mark because they miss their Toni--but they've missed her the whole time I have known them as well. It's just a different sadness now. Maybe one that can be carried somehow more completely than the weighty and cumbersome grief over a life-still-living.

Maybe it really is like carrying an urn, with the dust of death easily shifting within a box, instead of a woman in a wheelchair, with the dust of life aimlessly shifting in a body whose weight awkwardly lurches against her purpose and desires.

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