Print Story Roses While I'm Living
By Christopher Robin was Murdered (Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 12:03:24 PM EST) (all tags)
A sickness that ends in death. Funeral. Weather. Questions and who didn't show.

    The partner of one of my coworkers, Katherine, passed away Sunday. She'd been sick for awhile, but it took the doctors some time to lock in a diagnosis. When they did, the word was cancer. The doctors were sincerely apologetic, but they'd found it too late. Lisa, that was the woman's name, was given two to three months to live. She died four days after that consultation.

    We got the news on Monday.

    This morning was the funeral.

    It feels odd to have a funeral on a nice day. I know that there's only so much planning one can do for these things, so you take what weather you're given. But I always somehow expect overcast, gloomy weather. Thinking back on the dozen or so funerals I've attended, I can only remember cold, bitter days or rainy, cloudy days. As unpleasant as such weather might seem, there's a weird comfort in the idea – like the weather too is taking note of the event and has dressed appropriately. It reinforces the wrong headed but unshakable notion that the universe, even in all its terrible impartiality, saddens at our passing.
    A nice day seems almost perversely dissonant. Or clumsily insensitive, like a guy who gets in your face and tries too hard to convince you everything is going to be okay. Of course it is; but now isn't the time.

    It was held in a Catholic church uptown. Instead of going into the office, I went straight to the church.

    Ended up sitting in a pew next Mr. Bruce, head of the company. He's Jewish and spent most of the ceremony whispering, "What's that? What is this everybody's doing? Do we have to sing?"
    This was how my parents must have felt so many times when I was young and impatient to get through services.
    Not being Catholic, I gave him answers as best I could.

    Eulogies were delivered by a long-time friend who read from some of her letters, a co-worker who discussed Lisa's early days, and several authors who'd gotten their start with Lisa. Lisa was an editor for a small imprint of a major house. I didn't recognize the authors' names, but, I'm told, all were big writers in their field. Later I would hear one of the authors describe Lisa's passing as a potential "career-ending injury for an entire generation of scholars."

    Afterward, on training to the office with two folks from HR, one of them mentioned Robin's absence from the funeral. It was Katherine who complained to HR about Robin's infamous "lesbians are repulsive" claim. Though it was unclear at the time, and there's no way Robin could have known, that comment must have been said right when Lisa was just becoming sick, before the doctors knew what was up, before anything was certain.
    Nobody elaborated.
    For a moment, I thought that it would have been nice to have Robin there. Perhaps, if she saw the grieving family members, all the crying friends, all the coworkers and people who depended upon Lisa, she'd realize how human Lisa was. I though, for a moment, that seeing Katherine cry would make clear to Robin just what a profound and loving bond they shared. If she saw love for what it was, she couldn't label it repulsive.

    Later, however, I figured that I was just being maudlin. Hate doesn't listen to sobbing. Robin knows plenty of lesbians and gays, she works in close quarters with them, she's shared a drink with them, she's danced and laughed with them. She knows that they are, like her, just people. And yet, she's ready to condemn, to criminalize, to persecute. Why would watching people cry work when watching them laugh didn't?

    And why make this about the somebody else's redemption?

    Lisa seems to have fought enough in life. Let her rest. She worked hard, was well-loved, and was a good person. Let the people who knew that about her bury her in peace.

< Dear HuSi, | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Roses While I'm Living | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)
Powerful story. by ana (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 12:14:13 PM EST
And I'm sorry for your loss.

Can you introspect out loud? --CRwM

Thank You n/t by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 12:22:26 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Beautifully written by stark (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 12:27:21 PM EST
Not just a description of a difficult time but a thoughtful message as well.

Voted to the front page, by the way.

U.S. Patent 5443036 concerns a device for encouraging a cat to exercise by chasing a light spot.

Thanks n/t by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 12:41:45 PM EST

[ Parent ]
peace by joh3n (4.00 / 2) #4 Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 12:33:14 PM EST


Like the weather, by Kellnerin (4.00 / 2) #6 Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 03:24:18 PM EST
this was something beautiful on an otherwise sad occasion.

(10,000 Maniacs reference unintentional)

"later" meant either "when you walk around the corner" or "oatmeal."

So sorry. by calla (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Apr 12, 2006 at 10:12:48 AM EST
Stupid doctors.

I could rant right now, but out of respect for the dead, I won't.

When The Doctors Told Them . . . by Christopher Robin was Murdered (4.00 / 1) #8 Wed Apr 12, 2006 at 10:30:41 AM EST
They decided to live out their remaining days together on Lisa's parents farm in upstate New York.

So, Katherine made arrangements for long term leave and they started packing. Before they could leave, Lisa was too sick to move.

They never made it out of the city.

[ Parent ]
It's really not fair. by calla (4.00 / 1) #9 Wed Apr 12, 2006 at 10:52:41 AM EST
But then again, maybe Lisa's love of the city prevented her from leaving it.

I suspect Katherine probably knows.

[ Parent ]
Roses While I'm Living | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)