You know, just when you think things can’t possibly get any worse, a day like yesterday rolls along to knock you right on your ass with all the force of a magnitude 8.0 earthquake.
That’s a pretty bad quake, wouldn’t you agree?
I feel numb with shock and am still damn sick, marginally better except that I have almost virtually no voice left and am still coughing uncontrollably like a sick camel.
Yesterday Z’s auntie died. The news made me stunned me. I had just seen her the week before, she had hugged me so very tight and kissed me on my cheeks so hard, with such strength, how could she be dead? I loved her very much, you see, and this is so damn hard for me.
As whacked and weird as Z’s immediate family is, (mother, sisters, brothers, and their kids), this aunt, who was married to his father’s brother (but also a distant cousin) and all her children –all 9 remaining of the original 10- are the EXACT OPPOSITE. I often told Z that I wish “Uncles Wife” was my MIL instead. I always felt loved by her genuinely. By all of them in fact. Whereas I never have really felt accepted and included as FAMILY by Z’s siblings, I immediately was accepted and loved by this branch, from his Dad’s brother’s wife and their offspring. The difference? They call me Family; by comparison, my hubby’s side says I’m “like family”. See the difference? God forbid Auntie’s girls should find out I was sick or in the hospital! Next thing I would know, they would ALL come and visit me-daily-or fix me old herbal remedies for my cold or cough or whatever and worry over me.
They are all very close, and she was the matriarch. She was all the things that Z’s mother is not, never has been, and should be. She never allowed arguments or dissention between her children or between them and the in-laws for that matter. In fact, at the wake last night, one of her daughters in law was crying and screaming the loudest of all.
She is the one, that when I was going through a particularly rough time in the first few years after moving here with all the problems Monster caused for me, and Z was saying within Aunties hearing that it was because his mom was old, Auntie looked at him, smiled at me, and said to the room at large “That’s not true Z! Don’t make excuses for her, I’ve known her since she was 15-her age has nothing to do with this, and there is no excuse either- and she has always been like this, spiteful, jealous and crazy to boot! She drove your Dad crazy too, even though he was strict with her on her behavior.” See what I mean?
Almost every year, at the feast day celebration at the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan, we would all gather at her home. I always loved this day and looked forward to it. Z’s siblings never came, but we went. The whole HUGE family would gather, her 9 children, their spouses, her 39 grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren too, as they started coming along. Arianna loved her too. Auntie would usually have me sit next to her after the feast and she would talk to me and tell me stories, and sometimes, she would shock the hell out of me and have me laughing my head off. She was so damn funny and blunt. I am especially close with one of her daughters. I usually go to her house every Thursday evening in fact. That is where I saw Auntie last week
I still can’t quite believe she is gone. She should still be here.
She fell the other day and suffered a mild fracture in her hip. At the hospital, they wanted to operate. The bastard anesthesiologist decided to give her an epidural. They ran full tests, her blood, heart, sugar, cholesterol, everything, was perfectly normal. When you are having an epidural inserted, from my own personal experience, when the doctor tells you, you must not move at all, in fact, you must hold your breath until he lets you let it go so that the needle that goes near your spine doesn’t damage you. Apparently, she had a bit of a sore throat. She coughed when he was in the process of inserting the needle. Ie: she moved. Did he stop? No. Did he take it out and try again at a different point? No. He left it as it was, the sonofabitch. Then he administered the anesthesia. Almost immediately after he started it, she began vomiting and then her heart stopped before the surgeon could even touch the scalpel to her flesh. They got her heart going again, but it was stopped for a minute. They cancelled the surgery as she went into a coma. It seems the anesthesia caused a blood clot near her heart or something like that. She never came out of the coma and died yesterday afternoon at 4pm. It took all the men in the family to hold one of her sons off the doctor. He went after the doctor’s throat in a rage.
And before any of you say it, this is NOT the land of "sneeze on me and I'll SUE!". There is no such thing as a medical malpractice lawsuit here....yet.
An interesting point of fact, this is the same hospital (that I don’t go to anymore) that I almost died in recovery after the D&C that was performed after my miscarriage 5 years ago. Again, residual anesthesia effects. I can still remember feeling myself slipping away even now, like my soul was lifting out of my body. It’s hard to describe.
So, last night, as sick as I am, I was at the wake for 4 hours until I was about to fall from my chair. I only cried once, and that was when my favorite of her daughters came and I hugged her and she collapsed sobbing in my arms. Her tears were more than I could take. But then, I was strong for the rest of them. I couldn’t let myself. There is 3 days of mourning beginning today. I was so exhausted, but before I went to bed, I thought I’d check my email to see if I had anything from my Mom, since I hadn’t heard from her in the two weeks since she got back from her vacation, which is more than strange.
Finally there was an email from Mom and that is where I got the news that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
To begin with, something that didn’t make sense to me a few days ago makes sense now. I just thought it was weird. I kept dreaming of my friend Bonnie’s hair. I dreamt about Bonnie, but in my dream, I kept staring at her hair. Very weird, but I shrugged it off.
My Mom told me in the email that Bonnie, my best friend since 7th grade, the Maid of Honor in my wedding, my sidekick through most of my life, has lymphatic cancer. It’s all throughout her neck and under both arms and she is in quite a lot of pain. Before they start Chemo the doctors are checking to see if it’s spread anywhere else so they can plot their course of treatment. I am completely devastated.
Bonnie and I did everything together. Went everywhere together. Her parents and I are very close, particularly her mom and I. We worked at the same place, graduated from High School together (My favorite graduation picture is of Bonnie and I with our Dad’s on either side of us) My Dad loves Bonnie to pieces, not to mention my Mom and they are awfully picky about my friends and always have been.
Bonnie and I went to College together, and even purposely had most of our classes together too! The night I met my husband, Bonnie was with me. (Ok, never mind that she had a crush on him already!) I can't look at a Boston Terrier dog without calling it a "Bonnie Dawg" cause she had two of them she adored. We've always been there for each other, good and bad, thick and thin.
The day that I moved from America here, Bonnie came to help me pack up my belongings for the movers and she came and helped my Mom when the shipping company came after we had left too. The Airport Shuttle was there, Z, Arianna and Monster were all in there and the driver was screaming that we had to go…NOW. I think that is when everything hit me that I was actually leaving my home to move on the other side of the planet away from everything and everyone I knew and loved. Bonnie and I were just hugging each other and I couldn’t seem to move, finally she dragged me over to the shuttle, literally pushed me in and shut the door on me.
I didn’t get to go to her wedding, but in the end, that was a good thing. The fucker she married turned out to be a bigamist and a sneak, a man whore, a user and a thief. Wait, isn’t a bigamist a guy with two wives? Maybe I should say polygamist? Yeah. Turns out he lied about everything from day one, used her, screwed everything in sight even a day after the wedding, had her support him, took her to the brink of bankruptcy, never apparently used condoms with the women he slept with, or her either for that matter, (and he had one-night stands almost nightly until she figured out what he was doing about 7 months later) when she wondered why she was alone all the damn time. Turns out, he also had a few other wives and kids scattered all over the country. He asked her to drop him at his sisters and when she did, she saw a lady chasing after his car with a toddler on her hip. He told her it was his sister and her baby. Turns out it was his WIFE and HIS baby. She finally got it annulled, had to go through the hell of AIDS tests for about a year, which she thankfully escaped, only now to come down with cancer. From one nightmare to another.
When I called Bonnie during her annulment, she kept telling me “Why Cyn? Why did he do this to me? If you had been here, I know this never would have happened to me. I know you would have seen through all his lies and shit, you wouldn’t have let me do it. You would have woken me up. (Cause, well, I’m the voice of reason and logic in our friendship and she listens to me and knows my advice is from the heart, even if it will hurt her a bit.) I know she was right, and I wish I had been there for her too.
Bonnie is 9 months older than me. I can’t believe she has cancer. It doesn’t run in her family at all to my knowledge. I know that age has nothing to do with getting cancer, but it wakes you the hell up, you know? God, I pray she can beat it, if it isn’t too late. She has the best heart. She doesn’t deserve this, dammit.
So, last night, all hopes of sleep were pretty much shot for me after reading my email. I was exhausted and sick and in shock. I thought I would be able to conk right out.
Instead, I sobbed uncontrollably off and on for about four hours on my side of the bed, with my mind running. I kept trying to stop, but I just couldn’t. I guess it was a little bit too much of an emotional day for me. I was crying pretty quietly, but I guess I woke Z up. He thought it was only for Auntie. I told him it was also about Bonnie. He was floored. Then, he turned over and went to sleep. I couldn’t stop crying until I finally passed out from exhaustion round about 5am, but found no peace in sleep either. In my dreams were Auntie and even more of Bonnie, and all the memories shared with both of them.
Auntie is gone, and Bonnie is fighting for her life. God, what a day.
Did someone get the number of the Semi-truck that ran me over?