"In 2008, American space agency NASA beamed the Beatles song "Across the Universe" into deep space to send a message of peace to any alien that happens to be in the region of Polaris -- also known as the North Star -- in 2439."
She can kill with a smile, she can wound with her eyes She can ruin your faith with her casual lies And she only reveals what she wants you to see She hides like a child but she’s always a woman to me
She can leave you to love, she can take you all evening She can ask for the truth but she’ll never believe And she’ll take what you give her as long as it’s free Yeah, she steals like a thief but she’s always a woman to me
Oh, she takes care of herself, she can wait if she wants, She’s ahead of her time. Oh, and she never gives out, and she never gives in, she just changes her mind.
She’ll promise you more than the garden of Eden Then she’ll carelessly cut you and laugh while you’re bleeding, But she’ll bring out the best in the worst you can be, Blame it all on yourself ‘cause she’s always a woman to me.
Oh, she takes care of herself, she can wait if she wants, She’s ahead of her time. Oh, and she never gives out, and she never gives in…she just changes her mind.
She is frequently kind and she’s suddenly cool But she can do as she pleases, she’s nobody’s fool And she can’t be convicted, she’s earned her degree And the most she will do is throw shadows at you, But she’s always a woman to me.
My mother recently had to break the news of Dad’s death to the janitor at the gym where Dad worked out (and Mom works out). They were friends - with a language barrier, but I taught Dad Spanish phrases so that he could tell the janitor ‘have a good day,’ and they managed to tell each other about their families a bit and certainly exchanged pleasantries. They called each other “amigo.” When my mom told him that Dad had died, his eyes filled with tears.
“WHY do I keep coming out to this dust speck of a not-particularly-interesting world out at the farthest possible edge of all that’s bright and beautiful to talk to these idiotic creatures who make a pt!walnath look assertive and a Zabriskan fontema look smart? I ASK you.”—A Wizard of Mars by Diane Duane
"So, either by thy picture or my love, Thyself away art present still with me; For thou not farther than my thoughts canst move, And I am still with them, and they with thee; Or if they sleep, thy picture in my sight Awakes my heart to heart’s and eye’s delight.”
“I hated talking, and I hated listening to everyone else stumble on their words and try to phrase things in the vaguest possible way so they wouldn’t sound dumb.”—Miles, Looking for Alaska by John Green (via awordafter) (via effyeahnerdfighters)
Also, today has been relatively good. I get to work at the WC again next year (for $!), my application was approved for the apartment I want (cheap, decently cute, super-great location, with a friend), I got compliments on my hair, and I’ve been fairly productive. I don’t feel very freaked out about schoolwork - I am doing alright, and that’s all I can ask for or expect from myself right now. And I cleaned my room. And this morning I had this great moment of, “wow, I’m at university. What a privilege to be able to get a college degree - I am so grateful for this.”
Also, I finally got my University Choirs sweatshirt. Nerd fashion! And though normally I don’t like Z. Randall Stroope, his Lamentations of Jeremiah is a thing of true beauty. The alto line KICKS ARSE.
Just now, I was having a teary moment and asking the sky to give Daddy back, and looking out my big window. And oddly enough, the window across the parking lot, which belongs to, I am fairly sure, an unoccupied house/apartment, flashed a string of orangey/yellow lights three times. Hi, Daddy?
There’s just so many things like this I keep hearing about. Barbara from the library, who apparently sleeps like a log, woke feeling terrible at the exact time we think Daddy’s mind shut down. She woke her husband, Tom, and he asked what was wrong. She said to him, “Something’s terribly wrong - Randal is gone.” And when my mom called Michael and Angela to tell them that Daddy had died a few hours previous, as they were on the phone, a red-tailed hawk flew over and landed on their porch just outside the window, looked at them, and then flew away. They think it was Daddy’s spirit, saying goodbye. And Leah’s things with the birds of prey in the time when Daddy was dying.
And other peoples’ stories. Susan’s thing with the owl at her late friend Sue’s house. Julie’s story of the book flying off the shelf while they planned her dad’s funeral (“no! don’t spend money on me! spend money on BOOKS!” they imagine Buchie was saying). Julie’s story of honest-to-God seeing her (dead) father in a chair across from her when she was at a guy’s house. Her father told her, “Julie, leave now. Get yourself out of here.” She didn’t listen…and it turned out that the guy was seriously Bad News and had definite intention to harm her. (She got away okay.) The tree that fell in the backyard just after Opa died. The odd weather the week after Daddy died. How the program for Matt’s first play after Dad’s death was printed upside-down - like Dad’s favorite card.
There’s just…there’s a lot there. Both Susan and Julie are scientists (Susan’s phD in bio, Julie’s in psychiatry). When Julie was talking about this, and Susan was there, she said “I feel stupid saying this in front of another scientist,” and Susan quickly said, “oh, I’m a believer.”
You are supposed to be reading Foucault’s Scientia sexualius while eating a cup of tuna and some cheesy rice cakes for lunch. You are not supposed to be reading up on sepsis, which killed Dad, on Wikipedia. You were having a good day so far: don’t ruin it like this. Please return to your previously scheduled activity of BEING PRODUCTIVE.
Remember me when I am gone away, Gone far away into the silent land; When you can no more hold me by the hand, Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay. Remember me when no more day by day You tell me of our future that you planned: Only remember me; you understand It will be late to counsel then or pray. Yet if you should forget me for a while And afterwards remember, do not grieve: For if the darkness and corruption leave A vestige of the thoughts that once I had, Better by far you should forget and smile Than that you should remember and be sad.
(My choir did this last year. The whole week of the shiva it echoed in my head.)
So I dunno if materialism in a person in mourning is uncouth, or something, but I don’t really care. Little cards & gifts are fun to receive and let me know that people are thinking of me. So imagine my delight when just now I checked my mail and had a totally unexpected care package from none other than my own dear Ruth!!!! I am so thrilled! It contains a very huggable I <3 NY teddy bear (where did she find this in Europe??), the world’s cutest keychain (a black sheep!), stickers, hot chocolate packets, a card, and a bookmark made by a 3rd grader at a Gaelscoil. (That is an Irish-speaking primary school. So you’ve all learned your Gaelic word of the day, thanks to Ruth.)
“'I just don't want him to be afraid or sad. I'm afraid he's alone. What if he doesn't know where he is?' Rocky whispered to her mother at the service. Her mother had flown in from California and she put her hands on either side of Rocky's face. 'He knows where he is, sweetheart. It's the rest of us who are confused.'”—Lost and Found by Jacqueline Sheehan
Dad’s first slow dance with a girl, at the seventh grade dance. Our good friend Michael (Leah, you met him at the hospital - the amazing person who sat and told stories to Daddy for hours) found it on a CD about 5 or 6 years ago and gave it to Daddy for Christmas.
“She wanted to find the client, go back to her and look her up, call her and say, “I was full of shit, I’m so sorry. The dead are gone. I can’t find my husband in my heart. The dead leave us. Death is unbearable.””—Jacqueline Sheehan, Lost and Found
That time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. In me thou seest the twilight of such day As after sunset fadeth in the west, Which by and by black night doth take away, Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest. In me thou seest the glowing of such fire, That on the ashes of youth doth lie, As the death-bed whereon it must expire, Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by. This thou perceiv’st which makes thy love more strong, To love that well which thou must leave ere long:
(This was Daddy’s favorite sonnet. I read it to him in the hospital, and he gave a slight smile. In his copy, the last line ends with a colon, not a period, which I think is interesting and probably a typo but also gives it this sense of oh - I wasn’t done!)