Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Current Neuroses

Well, we are heading to Kentucky tomorrow. My uncle has not passed away, but we expect it to happen any time now. His oxygen has been removed and his feeding tube and IV have been taken out. At this point, it is a matter of brief, precious time.

It would be cheaper and less of a hassle for me to go to Kentucky alone, but I want to hold my partner and my children close at this time. I don’t want to be separated from my family. As a result, I am going to be travelling 13 hours in a car with my beloveds. Our plan is to leave at 4:00am tomorrow morning. Today, we will be packing and making final arrangements. It could get interesting. I am a bit worried.

On the topic of worrying, let me entertain you briefly with a list of all of my current worries. Yes, my uncle is facing death and his family is facing the loss of a wonderful father and husband. Of course, I am worried about them first and foremost. However, being a good little Catholic good, I can produce complex layers and layers of worry. I can muster depths of neurotic worry beyond your wildest imaginings. Here are some of my recent thoughts:

1. I am worried that my kids will not know how to act in church at a lengthy Catholic funeral. I mean…they are heathens, really. Non church-goers. Sure, they are fairly well-behaved children, but that does not mean that my daughter will not announce loudly that she is bored. That does not mean that my eldest son will not begin singing inappropriately. That does not mean that my youngest son will not wander aimlessly up and down the aisle. It could easily turn into a circus with my children as the ringleaders.

2. I am worried that our portable DVD player will not work. We haven’t used it since we went to Kentucky last June. It is a cheap DVD player. If it were to die, this 13-hour trip could go down in history as the day hell actually descended upon Earth.

3. Our dog has to be boarded. We are taking her to the Humane Society this evening to board her. I am worried sick she will think we are abandoning her there. She’s such a loving dog—so very attached to us. She simply will not understand why we are deserting her. Such a stupid thing to worry about, but I am worried nonetheless.

4. I am worried about work. Everyone has been extremely supportive and understanding. However, I feel like I have been “checked-out” for the last week while we’ve been waiting on news about my uncle. I need to get my head back in the game when we return from Kentucky.

5. I am worried that I am going to forget something crucial on this trip. Like my cell phone. Or my Nook. Or the kids’ handheld video games. Or my blow dryer. Or—heaven forbid—my poker money. My family mourns by eating and gambling (that probably explains a lot).

6. I am worried that I am not going to make it to my brother’s house in Kentucky in time to watch Western Kentucky play Kentucky in Louisville tomorrow night in the first round (I can’t get used to calling it the second round) of the NCAA tournament. Yes, an insane thing to worry about, but it is not called March Madness for nothing.

7. I am worried that my children will be experiencing death for the first time. How do I explain it? How do I make them okay with it? How do I avoid scaring them?

8. I am worried about heartburn. I mean…it is Kentucky. I will likely spend the next six days subsisting on gravy and biscuits and fried chicken and Grippo’s barbecued potato chips.

9. I am worried that I will not have my Keurig with me to brew my perfect cup of morning coffee. I am worried that I will have to fork over $5 a day for Starbucks instead. I am worried that Ruanita will flash me a disdainful look every morning when I spend $5 on coffee. I am afraid that the guilt over spending $5 a day on coffee will prevent me from enjoying my $5 cup of coffee. I am worried I will have spent $25 in vain when all is said and done. Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know (a phrase I am sure to hear from Ruanita on this trip).

10. I am afraid that life will all too quickly go back to normal after this trip. Despite having a voicemail from my uncle saved on my cell phone, I am worried that the world will too quickly forget a wonderful man. Yes, life should go on. And it will go on. However, it seems so very wrong. On some deep, innate level, it just seems wrong.


Anonymous said...

So sorry Shannon for you and your family. All of the above may happen but you will deal with it and the church just might kick up it's heels and enjoy the kids and the beauty of youth. Dying is a tough thought and concept for kids but yours are old enough to understand it on their level. Breathe and remember laughter works to help in healing and mourning.

Barb said...

Shannon... I am so sorry about your uncle but so glad you will have your family close to. Everything else you're worried about is really not important in the greater scheme of things. If your kids misbehave or you lose some technology gadget or you miss a basketball game, you just remember it as part of the story of your family's journey to pay your respects to your uncle. Travel safely and don't worry. It will all be okay... and your uncles death may end his physical life but it will not end your relationship with him.

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