Friday, May 21, 2010

Next, Maybe Old Yeller?

Last night I finished our current read-aloud - Rascal. Things were going so very, very well up until the last page, when my eight year old sat bolt upright in her bunk. "Wait a second. WHAT IS HE DOING."

The six year old, much like Rascal himself, remained in blissful ignorance until the very last paragraphs. As Sterling paddled quickly away "from the place where they had parted" her eyes grew large and then.....the sobbing began.

Twenty minutes later, as I administered another dose of Rescue Remedy to my distraught baby, I reflected on the need for sadness in childhood. In a happy-ending culture, where Disney's Little Mermaid does not dissolve into sea foam, where the main characters NEVER get killed off, and where children are not expected to attend funerals, the routines of illness, separation, loss and death are unknown to a lot of people.

I've been thinking about this a lot, naturally, and have had some interesting email exchanges with commenters on recent posts. I was surprised by the idea, expressed by several people, that friends of those with cancer often desert them - they don't know how to act around an ill person, they don't know how to be with a dying person.

So they back away.

I wonder whether, in the peculiar type of sheltering that people do with their children - wherein they are routinely exposed to anonymous media violence, but not the human reality of suffering - our society has created a generation of emotionally-paralysed adults who, from lack of practice, don't know how to empathise.

Last night, as I was comforting my little girl, her sister was thinking aloud about Rascal. "Someday I'd like to see the movie," she said. After a minute she added, "Though I bet they changed the ending...they usually take those sad parts out."

But I don't want the sad parts out.

The life I live is incredibly rich. There are shining moments of near-perfect happiness.

There are huge gorgeous feasts with my family.

There are hot and lazy summer days, there are steaming pots of tea in the fall.

There is uproarious laughter.

The feasts are so much better when you're hungry. The lazy days wouldn't be nearly so lovely if my muscles weren't tired from days of work. The laughter is never better than when my face is still wet with tears.

I won't cheat my kids of this: the intensity of relief and joy when it has been tempered by tension and sorrow. Their pets will never 'go away'. Loss will come to them, and sadness, and they need to learn how to cry - cry hard - and grieve and mourn, and dwell in darkness.

And tomorrow, when the sun rises, everything will seem new.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Speaking of noses...

How much do I want this? Much much. I've been scoping it for the better part of two years, since Lizbon linked me to the one she wanted.

I have gotten two emails from the owner of Body Matters Gold, both with coupon codes for percentages off. The first code was for 10% off: "TXT10". The second was for 15: "TXT15". So what I'm wondering is, if I go through the checkout and put in "TXT50" will I get it for half price?

Embarking on a new sweater today. This one is a knockoff for my niece, who showed it to her Mum on the Gap website, calling it her 'dream sweater'. Sadly the sizing was all wrong for her, so her Mum couldn't buy it, but I've decided to come to her rescue.

I need some simple knitting because things have taken a decided turn for the worse. Sandy is so very, very sick. This week I'll be with her on Wednesday and Friday, just spending the day sitting with her while her husband is at work and the kids are at school. She can't be alone in the house.

Knitting figures largely in our history. I want to knit while I'm there because it comforts her. I can be in her room for hours and she doesn't feel like she has to talk to me, because I have something to do.

So, the yarn will be Loyal superwash wool, with the colourwork done in (probably) Lanett. I'll use Ann Budd's handy book for the basic sweater, and add the colourwork bands when the body is completed. I haven't decided whether to knit the bands first and seam them, or pick up and knit them from the body stitches. I'll do as the spirit moves.

And as much as this distraction will also comfort me, as well as Sandy, I'm afraid it can only help me so much. When push comes to shove...I'm lost. I don't know how to lose a friend. I think the handbook for that might turn out to be short: muddle through as best you can.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Stress Management

Some people get massages.

Some people overeat.

Some people shop.

I punch holes in my face.

I feel better now.