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06.09.01 1:23 a.m.

"No, no, I didn't mean to - I'm only telling you because, it's not m-my place, but... there's things, thoughts and reactions that I had, that I couldn't... understand, or even try to explain to anyone else. Thoughts that made me feel like I was losing it, or like I was just a h-horrible person. I know it's different for you, because it's always different..."

 -"Tara" on Buffy 

When it rains it bloody pours.
There is just too goddamn much death in my life right now and I don't really know how to handle it. Where to put all the feelings that well and ebb before I can name them. I think I will name them all "pain" and be done with it. That or "Bob." I think "Bob" is a very good name for pain.
I use humor to cope. You'll excuse me. If I cannot laugh about something, than I obviously cannot deal with it.
So, my grandmother, Gramma Louise just died. Well, I guess she actually died around ten. My father was explaining it all to my mother, but things hadn't really hit me then, so I wasn't listening. I was trying not to.
My father just walked out and handed me a tissue. That is how I knew. Well, he outright told me after he gave it to me, but it seemed extraneous. Words often do at times like these.
I wanted the tissue to smell like something. Something other than paper. It did not. It was no more than thin paper.
There is going to be another funeral. And another wake. She is going to be cremated, I think.
She had not been well for a very long time. Not necessarily sick, but not wholly her. She had mentally deteriorated slowly but steadily until she could barely recognize her own children.
My father just got home from seeing her in Rochester. She had some tract infection and was sick. I knew she wasn't going to make it this time. I really very much did. So I should have been more prepared for this. I was not really.
Dead, dead, dead, dead... I was hoping the word would lose some meaning if I kept writing it. The word "kept" just did and I wrote it only once. Funny word, "kept." Did you know that "dreamt" is the only English word that ends with "mt"? Fun fact for the day.
The woman who babysat me when I was little died. Sad fact for the day. Her house used to be this wonderful place for me, especially her basement. We used to roll around her cement floor on her furniture dolly and throw billiard balls across the table long before we could conceive that a real game could be played with them. And she had this riding mower and my older brother used to drive it around. Oh gods, and there was this tree we could play in for hours. So many branches.
I didn't love Todd, ever, except as a person. I loved my grandmother. Obviously I would. I knew she was failing, and that does make it easier to deal with. She wasn't just hit by a bus suddenly after having seen me. She withered slowly, which perhaps is sadder. Death is an end, but dying is a constant reminder to the world that they are mortal and that you are not long for this world.
My mother says that Gramma Louise was so full of morphine during her final time that she barely knew what was going on. I do not totally believe this. No matter how demented (clinically, not colloquially) one is, I think they always know what is happening on some level.
I think the death should end now. But I am scared it won't. Like three deaths are needed? I don't know. No one else in my life should have to die, because I only have so much composure before I lose it.
I was with Emily tonight. We ended up walking over to Glenham to stare at stars. As we sat, my pager went off and my father had 911ed me. I thought the worst, knowing that my grandmother was sick. He only wanted M to move her car and I yelled at him for scaring me so by misusing the 911. He apologized and understood, I think. He understands now, I know.
Just before we got to Glenham, a bird flew into me, thoroughly rattling me. So when we got to the field, I asked M if she had any extrasensory ability and she said, "Not really. I only know when people die." I wanted to ask her, though she never met my grandmother - not this one - if she were dead. But I didn't because... I suppose I didn't want to know. I didn't think that she'd get rigid and state that my grandmother had, or even know. I just didn't want to voice it.
More death to deal with, this time family members and wakes I can't avoid and lawyers and such. Her house was already sold because she couldn't manage living alone. I wonder if I can just hide and things will be taken care of. It doesn't seem like I should have to function.
My father wanted me to send an e-mail to Dan's phone, telling him of the loss since we cannot get through to him. I filled out the address part and wrote "Grandma" and was stumped for the rest. My father was standing behind me and wondered how we should phrase it. My mother suggested from her bed, "has ceased to function." So we all broke up at her irreverence and I suggested, "has been deactivated and is no longer one with the Borg." Humor, you see. Must be genetic.
My mother was discussing how long my grandmother has been declining. She said, "two years ago. Remember? Graduation." My graduation. Now I have graduated again. And Bryan will soon. Do you know how bloody much I am getting to hate the word "graduation"? Now it is coupled with the death of Todd and my grandmother. They graduated too, from this earthly plane.
You know what is worse? Graduation parties. I do not think I will ever attend another without stigma.
All my family will be coming down. How very odd.
I think my mother knew, because my mother was pushing my father to go this weekend to see his mother. In case he would never get another chance.
I know I will feel cold because of this soon. I want death to take a vacation. It has to play elsewhere.

reading: Jitterbug Perfume, Tom Robbins
listening: My mother be supportive in a vaguely abusive way
wanting: Death to find a different karass for a while.
interesting thought: My mother speaks to death on a weekly basis.
moment of zen: Wanting the tissue to smell like lilac breezes.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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