Monday, October 6, 2008

The Meaning of Life (in a way)

Thursday my friend Pennie passed away.

At her memorial, I was reminded that during a very dark time in my life, Pennie met me for breakfast every Sunday for about two months. We’d both shared similar childhood experiences and she met me to talk, to tell me about her life, to assure me that I wasn’t alone in my struggle. She helped me a great deal.

There are a lot of people in my life, but only a small number would commit to me in that way (unless they have a Psychology degree and charge $200 an hour). Pennie was a special person and I’ll miss her very much.

After the services, I sat with my friends Chris and Alisa on their porch and talked about life and death. I read somewhere that this is what makes us different from animals, that we know we’re going to die. I’ve been thinking of something Chris asked ever since then. Does knowing your time here is finite change the way you act in day to day life? I’ve been thinking, can I say that I’ve done the same thing for other people as Pennie did for me?

So I’ve been analyzing a bit. In the four days since Pennie died, I have thought ill of people I love. I have held grudges and kept anger inside. I haven’t called my mom. And I have picked two, no three (really stupid) fights with my husband.

One fight was about how he’s always wearing his headphones at his computer, which by the way is a courtesy to me so I don’t have to hear every ding and bang of whatever game he’s currently addicted to. My grievance though, was that he can’t hear and respond to me no matter where I am in the house, being of the opinion that anything springing forth from my mouth is of utmost importance and requires prompt attention even if mumbled under my breath while walking away. Especially since what I was mumbling is that he should look before he puts things in the washing machine like my suit jacket and would he put his suit jacket in the washer? No.

But alas, here I go, so easily stumbling into tiny things that seem so insignificant in the grand scheme of life. So what’s my point? I don’t really have one (come on are you really that surprised?) I guess the point is we just have to keep on living the best we can every day. Loving the people we love, helping others, not holding grudges, and checking that things aren’t dry clean only before putting them in the washer.

(Danny’s addendum: How about not putting things that are dry clean only in the hamper).

(Steph’s addendum to the addendum: Still you should look, and come on it’s a suit jacket, it sticks out like a ketchup bottle on a snowbank.)

For Pennie

You belong among the wildflowers
You belong on a boat out at sea
You belong among the wildflowers
You belong somewhere you feel free
--Tom Petty


james ford said...

I have met Pennie once at Geoff and Alex's wedding and she asked me to carry their cake inside (she doesn't know me... I could be a maniac). I got chocolate icing on my tie and she was very apologetic.

Natalie always spoke highly of her and was disappointed she was out of town when the service was held. I am sorry for your loss. I know Death and I have a relationship. When things like this happen it's the universe's two minute warning reminding you time here is finite and maybe I should spend more time with my loved ones and not watching The Simpsons which is what I was doing on my father's last day. said...

I am so sorry for your loss. She seemed like an amazing person and made the yummiest cupcakes! If you're like me and believe in heaven, when its our turn, we'll have a big party with all the people we have lost, and Pennie will be really busy making lots of cupcakes for our big party.

I'm sure she will be missed terribly. Always think back and remember the funny moments; it makes this difficult time a little easier to handle. :0)

Jocelyne said...

I've never met her, but just hearing you talk about her brought tears to my eyes.

It sounds like the universe lost one of it stars. From your blog though, it seems that her light will shine on.

Lori said...

I'm sorry about the loss of your friend. Your reflections are so honest. Pennie met with you and provided YOU support but I'm guessing she's the type of person that got something out of her relationships and you gave her a gift each time you connected with her.

I'm also wondering (from reading about her diagnosis & your dog sitting experience): what's going to happen to her dog?

madwoman said...

I think about that you don't know what you got till it's gone thing all the time as I drive my husband further and further away, still I keep driving...oh well.....