Krissie: Sometimes Life Sucks

That’s my scared look. With good reason. Life has gone sideways. Is it the Mayans? The stars? What the hell is happening?

I miss my mother. I felt trapped by her. As I mentioned before, I had good reason not to feel terribly tender thoughts for her, and yet I took exquisite, loving care of her. Never realizing that I actually loved her after all. And now I miss her. I keep thinking I need to call her, or that she’s coming over for dinner, or that I need to ask her something. Who would have thought it?

Mini-me never had to deal with my mother’s craziness. Don’t think she ever saw it, which was one good thing. She had wonderful times with her: together they traveled England and Europe twice, once when she was sixteen and then when she was in her late twenties. That was one good thing about her not getting back to see my mother before she died. My mother was once more out of control, and it was good Mini-me didn’t have to see it.

Mini-me lost the brother she’d grown up with when she was 20. He drowned when his car went into the Delaware Canal. She lost her darling Uncle Dougal (only good uncle she had) about a week after her engagement party. She lost her adopted-away half sister, Jill, right before her birthday a couple of years later. For many many years her birthday was forever associated with the death of a sister she had just found.

But Mini-me is an extraordinary creature. She survives. She adapts. She moved to England, went to school (with Damien Lewis and Joseph Fiennes) and got her degree in stage managing. She toured England with operas and musicals. She married a lighting designer over there, got burned out (not by her husband ;> ) and went to work for Virgin Atlantic, which was great, taking my daughter and me to Tokyo, England and Venice. Then, when her husband got burned out they left England and moved to Lake Tahoe to become ski instructors, because, as she said, she could be happy anywhere and that was what put the light back in her husband’s eyes. Really, she’s an extraordinary person.
So after all that sorrow, all that adaptability, what happens? Her mother dies when she’s only 64. Leaving her with not just terrible grief, but the biggest physical and financial mess you can imagine.
As icing on the cake, just as Mini-me felt like she could get her birthday back after years of associating it with her sister’s death. So in honor of this totally shitty year, in which she lost her beloved grandmother, her father-in-law, dying slowly and painfully of bladder cancer, dies on the morning of her birthday.

I told her she should do what I did when my sister died a week before my birthday. Just stop celebrating it for a while. And therefore, don’t age that year. By those standards I’m in my late fifties (except then it comes to Medicare, which I will embrace with passionate enthusiasm).

So Mini-me, after three cross-country trips to VT this summer, now has to make her second trip to England with her husband tomorrow. She’ll go to Peter’s service on Friday, then fly out and arrive in NJ to go to her grandmother’s service, most of which she arranged and even paid for the catering, bless her heart. Hours after the reception is done she’ll get on a plane and fly back to Reno, then get a ride back to Tahoe, where she’ll immediately go back to work while her husband is behind in England for two weeks.

And she’ll be cheery, upbeat, and serene. She really does live the serenity prayer, pretty much always have. She was just born with it, she’s extraordinary, and I love her to pieces.

I can’t spare her the shit she’s going through. I hate that after all her expenses she then paid for the catering, and I wish to god I could have helped, but the little bit my mother left isn’t going to cover that as well as the minister, organist, etc.

Crusie’s not having a walk in the park, either. She spent a fortune on glasses and none of them work — she’s better off with over-the-counter reading glasses. Not a tragedy, but just one more kick in the ass. She just keeps getting slapped upside the head. Someone go out there and distract whatever vengeful god has her in his sights. Just wave wildly and then duck for cover. If enough of us do that They won’t find her.

As for me, I soldier on. I baked yesterday, put Autumn-y runners on furniture, plus fake foliage in pitchers for a splash of color. Then I went through a new box of photos and ached inside. But that’s to be considered and dealt with later…

In the meantime, we’ll all get through this year as best we can. But spare a thought for Mini-me. She may seem invulnerable, but I think she’s had enough shit thrown at her for a lifetime.

22 thoughts on “Krissie: Sometimes Life Sucks

  1. I think it’s just life. I don’t think people die to teach us lessons: what a waste that would be! And none of us is important enough to be worth another person’s life.

    I had to ask these same questions when my mother died. My cry is always “it’s not fair!” But life is neither fair nor unfair, it just is. I need to learn to live the serenity prayer.

    That said, there does seem to be some bad energy or just a lot of bad stuff happening right now to a lot of people, or an accumulation over the years. So I’m sending out good, happy, healing vibes into the Universe for Jenny and for Mini-Krissie and even for me because things are still not unsucky yet.

  2. Mini-me says:

    Thank you, Krissie for the props. I guess I am proof that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Or more reslilient, or something. Whatever…. I guess with everything life has doled out, I just believe that whatever was meant to happen will happen, including my survival through the good times, the bad times, the CtG moments and everything. Also, I am truly a Pollyanna, so I try to find the glad in everything. It pisses people off sometimes, if they want to wallow in the bad, but it’s the way I am. But I do my own share of ‘fixing’ people too. It’s how I stay busy, how I stay sane, how I operate and still see the world in a positive light. That being said, there are still times when life throws something at you from so far out in left field it becomes a body blow. But it always works out ok in the end. It has to. All these challenges/body blows/CtG moments exist to create the people we are.

  3. The times when life comes at you swinging with both hands can be hard to understand. You wonder how much you’re supposed to take, how you’ll ever get through it, but somehow you do just that. And at the other side there is some kind of new beginning. Or at least I have found it to be so. My best to Mini-me and her husband in this time of stress and loss.

  4. What Roben said because she’s said so beautifully and eloquently as always.

    My best to Mini-me and to Jenny and also to you and to Lani as you support them both.

  5. Lois says:

    Lots and lots of times life sucks, it isn’t fair and it is very hard when we hurt or when our friends/loved ones hurt. But the options are limited, so we go on. We eventually find the joy in crazy pets, see the beauty around us, listen to great music or read a wonderful book.
    Thanks Krissie for sharing your year with us. I think many of us see parts of ourselves in you (and each other) and know we are not alone. Love to you, your niece and your ‘sisters’.

  6. Maria Powers says:

    Hugs to one and all. I am with Mini-me on that what happens will happen. I tend not to view the world as a “why me?” place. My sister says it drives her crazy because I tend to see the world as more of a “Why not me?” place. Also, I am not sure how we determine that this is bad and this is good. Why is pain bad? Why is laughter good? I often think that we make situations worse than they have to be by labeling them notgood or bad.

    No, I don’t want to have to pay out money because I ran over an exercise ball on the freeway. On the other hand, it wasn’t much money and was less than the deductible so all was good. Perhaps me running into that giant exercise ball meant that the sleepy woman behind me with three kids in the car didn’t almost run it over and over-react causing an accident that did grave bodily harm to her and the kids. We don’t see all of the pieces of the puzzle and labeling something bad or good with our limited vision seems limiting to me.

    Pain hurts, but labeling it bad makes it hurt worse at least to me. So, for me, grief hurts. It makes me sad and weepy, but it isn’t bad or good. It simply is itself. It simply is certain moments of life. These moments aren’t bad or good. The cup isn’t half full or half empty it is simply a cup with liquid.

    Again big hugs to you all.

  7. Maine Betty says:

    Sounds like she’s due for a break. We tend to have stories about our lives and others’ lives, and it may be that her story of her life is not the same as the one you tell.
    She sounds like a generous woman, full of love and grace. How wonderful you have each other for support and to share memories.

  8. ChelSierra Remly says:

    hmmm … What if you wrote your Mother a long, heartfelt letter, then burned it, and scattered the ashes on her gravesite? Or toss them into a good, strong wind?

  9. Micki says:

    Oh, dear. Anyone who suggests that a person dies to teach a lesson should be shot and buried alongside the deceased. Things happen, people die.

    Now, we are a very intelligent species, and if we should happen to *learn* something during the process of mourning, that’s a wonderful thing during a tragic time.

    But to suggest the Great Fates (or whatever) purposefully kills off people? Enough to turn one into an atheist.

    If I believed in hell, I should think there’s a special section reserved for people who killed themselves to teach someone else a lesson . . . or maybe they already lived it on earth.

    Oh dear. Mini-rant just to say I agree with Skye. There’s probably a 2LDK reserved in hell for people like me . . . .

  10. Micki says:

    First, my heartfelt sympathies for all of you.

    Next, I tend to deal with pain by distancing from it, going all Spock (or Sheldon), if you will.

    I think part of it has to do with statistics. A couple of years back, my whole family was rocked by the death of three men “before their time.” All were medical things, so maybe it was their time, but they sure didn’t get to enjoy their three-score and ten. My aunt lost her son, her brother and her husband in the space of four months.

    The two older men had bad genetics and a tendency to “cheat” on their health issues, I think. My cousin was just one of those freak heart things.

    Why? Why? Why?

    But, if I think about it, we hadn’t had any deaths in the family since I was about 10, I think. Thirty years of good, or at least deathlessness. Statistics ganged up on us and gave us the deaths all at once.

    We are born to die, and the joys of modern nutrition and medicine mean that we live much longer than we used to. The bigger the family, the more deaths there will be. That’s just math.

    But on the other hand, the bigger the family, the more potential joy while living.

    As I mention above, I don’t think the fates kill off people to teach us a lesson. But, if we are going to learn any lesson, I think it should be to appreciate the living while they are here. An e-mail, a card, a visit, a backrub . . . simple things that are here and gone, but at least they were here once. Something to remember when everything is gone.

  11. Nicole Goldstein says:

    I am sorry for all of your losses, ladies, and I know that repeated losses near the same day – especially a milestone can make that day difficult, sometimes for years. My wish for you would be to turn it around a little. Instead of giving up your birthdays for years (if you enjoyed them, especially), pick a date in a different month and celebrate your day. Meet your friends for dinner, indulge in cake or champagne or a really nice haircut or whatever you do to celebrate you.

    Celebrate your strength, your evolution as a person, celebrate the gifts you have and really, whatever else you do – give yourself a break. For that day – and it should be more than once a year – let go. Enjoy yourself. You’re allowed.

    Mini-me seems to have built a great life, even though the foundation has some big, horrible things in it. She had learned to turn landmines into landmarks – an amazing and essential skill.

  12. Amie says:

    That sounds like a good idea – celebrate your birthday at different time. My step-son died at the age of 9 from brain cancer a week before my birthday, almost 3 years ago. My birthday sucks now, and I know it will for many years to come – he was the son of my heart, and, most likely, the only child I will ever have. But, I know I used to enjoy celebrating my b-day – it’s a day all for me – so I think I will pick a day in the spring next year to celebrate.

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