Do you ever feel overcome by an emotion that you know is entirely…messed up? 

On my lunch break today I ran an errand. I saw someone I’ve known all my life; a person who has not been well (physically, nor perhaps mentally) for years. I bobbed and weaved to avoid being seen and therefore having to have a conversation with her.

I used to care for her quite a lot, actually…and I still do I suppose, now more in a nostalgic way than with any sense of a real, remaining connection. The truth is, ever since my dad died, seeing her makes me feel angry.

I feel angry because my dad – my incredibly youthful looking 70 year old dad, who took such great care of himself – is gone, and yet this other person, who seems to have checked out years ago, is still here.

I told you – it’s messed up. I’m not proud of it. I’m just being honest with you, because I think you’ve come to expect that from me.

And so…

With a gradually dawning sense of irony, I sat there in my car shoveling Mike & Ike’s (apparently, my lunch) into my mouth in a parking lot, stewing about how unfair it is that people who take good care of themselves aren’t given any priority over those who do not.

First of all, we are owed nothing. Take good care of yourself because it feels good (or don’t, for the same reason) and you are not guaranteed one minute more (nor one minute less) on this Earth for doing so.

Second, every life has value. How dare I place more of it on my dad, just because to me, he was perfect. That’s bullshit and I know it.

Third, I have no way of understanding the path this person has been on, nor what she has been through. I have no right to judge. For all I know she is thinking the exact same thing when she sees me…

Why am I still here when Bill is gone?

For about the last ten years of my grandmother’s life, every time someone younger than her died, she’d say, “It just doesn’t make sense that I’m still here.” It seemed to me to be a combination of guilt…and, honestly (toward the end of that decade), a little resentment. She was ready. My grandfather had died twenty years earlier than she. When she died, I remember the last line of the eulogy my dad wrote for her.  He said, “I can imagine my father there waiting to greet her, drink in hand, saying, ‘Sugar, what took you so long?”

I really do believe that we each incarnate onto the Earth for reasons we can only begin to understand while we’re here. We all have our life paths or trajectories.  Some of us simply get to be here longer than others, which can obviously be hard for those left behind.

So…what then? I still feel how I feel, regardless of the fact that I know it is clearly wrong for so many reasons…reasons I am clearly capable of articulating and understanding.

Sometimes emotion trumps reason, and we just have to hope that time will heal us.

In the meantime, please pass the Mike & Ike’s…

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