October 19th (aka I hate thinking of titles for my posts)

Life is good.

I cried today. Not a lot, just a little. It felt good. I was remembering how six years ago, I made a phone call, and the info I got - that Ryan had died - changed me. It was a Sunday morning.

I remember hanging up the phone. The specifics I remember about that morning are so strange and disjointed. After I returned the phone to the cradle, I was struck by how contradictory it was for the sun to be shining brightly. It felt wrong that it was nice and warm, streaming through the window onto my crumpled face. Nothing should be allowed to be so beautiful and soothing when I felt like sinking straight through my bed and into the center of the earth.

Next, I remember being upstairs in my parents room. I told them. For some reason I felt the need to tell each of my sisters individually, as well. I remember sitting on the floor of some one's closet for a few minutes, for no reason.

The next really vivid memory was later in the day, right before dusk. I was sitting on the back porch swing, and was amazed that I could feel so much pain in every single way. Each breath felt like I was heaving a huge weight up and down on my chest. Even more bewildering was the knowlege that his family & his life-long friends must have been feeling much, much worse than I was. It didn't seem possible that any single body could hold that much hurt. That was the first time in my life that absolutely nothing made sense, and absolutely nothing could make me feel better. I could close my eyes, but he was still dead. I tried to lay down and sleep, but he was still gone. I couldn't find rest or peace in anything for those first days.

The last memory of that week was at his viewing. I walked by his casket, and I was gripped by the desire to touch his hand one last time but I couldn't, because I knew his body would be cold and that it would be just enough to push me over the edge. Since I didn't want to cause a scene by curling up in the fetal position on the mortuary floor, I walked past him and resisted with my hands grasped tightly together.

I hate sounding dramatic, but - it changed my life. And the most amazing part is that going through pain like that doesn't ruin you forever, like I thought it must; oddly, it makes every single happy moment richer. It stretched me, and now my capacity to love and live and experience joy is even bigger than before. Weird, right?

In other news, I love my job. The hours are perfect, its just challenging enough to be fun, but not overwhelming. The only (small, but occasionally entertaining) down side is having to walk past those shameless sales people who man those carts in the middle of the hallways and try to get your attention by any means possible. Oy.

Today I was walking by, and this dude with an accent and too much gel in his hair was holding a lotion sample out to me, smiling creepily.

Him: "Can I talk to you for a minute?"

Me: [Polite smile, with eye contact] "No, thank you."

Him: "But can I just ask you one little question?" [shoves the nasty little cup of lotion in front of my face. I can practically see the swine flu virus swimming around in it.]

Me: "No." [I now realize the eye contact was a big mistake. I avert my gaze and start to walk away.]

Him, shouting now, from a distance: "BUT I REALLY LIKE YOUR HAIR!"

[Did he seriously just say that? Yes. Yes he did. I laughed, but didn't turn around. Boo-yah.]