A Plastic Spoon, Hamilton, and thoughts on the Unimaginable.

I decided it was high time I give the blog a little bit of love today. I’m coming down off of Pfizer and so far so good. I had mild needle point tenderness that later radiated into what felt like too much lactic acid from an arm workout. I can’t quite describe the fatigue. It felt like earth’s gravity was pulling me down a little, I was less light. Something about my countenance just felt heavier. It’s weird because I did not feel gradual fatigue. It felt like sudden onset fatigue, like someone had flipped a switch and suddenly my post shot wakeful hyper vigilant self went from seven to three, BOOM just like that. I drudged on anyway.

So goes the story of my weekend. On a Friday, I was getting the Pfizer, and by Sunday I was sitting in a Chuck A Rama of all places conversing with others over a plastic spoon on a table that was used to scoop my former brother in law’s ashes. There was some talk over butter beer floats if five dollars would be the appropriate amount to bribe a brother to use the spoon representation of my former brother in law to dollop some of that butter beer and ice cream into their mouth. Was their any wisdom in dining inside at a Chuck A Rama on a Sunday during a pandemi discussing such matters? Probably not. As for my State leaders, most mandates ended April 10th, a day that was chosen arbitrarily.

So, I guess you can say, I fell off the caution wagon for a day, because I was trying to be a good support person for my sister. We waited until Spring to do any kind of graveside service to honor my former brother in law and Spring had arrived. My sister showed up with a glass blown planet that encased a small portion of her husband’s ashes, another brother had his sealed into an ornate carved wooden box. A therapist suggested the sealing part as closure, like closing the lid on a casket. Another wanted his portion of ashes to float for a spell in the sky, some ashes were put into the earth, and the fire was just a given, as part of the cremation. My sister’s element was water, and that is something that is in the works for an upcoming journey to Hawaii. None of us are particularly pagan, it just worked out that way.

I am now sitting here at my computer trying to process this unusual and very improvisational way in which a few of us gathered to process grief. This closure we were never given in November to gather at a graveside, to reflect and console. Would it have all worked out this way without the Pandemic? Had we all completely flipped our lids and did it matter? On my brother in law’s family’s behalf, I’d like to say his siblings had lost BOTH parents and were saying goodbye to a second brother, with three siblings left out of five. I don’t think they had one more somber farewell left in them, and quite frankly, I don’t think my brother in law would have wanted it that way. I imagined him as the embodiment of that spoon laying on the table at Chuck a Rama surrounded by love and laughter over butter beer.

I am not a royal watcher, but I’d have to be living in a bubble if I were not aware that Prince Phillip had died and it was like a huge HA! He got the quiet ceremony he always wanted without all the excess fluff and fuss! A deep rooted question hit me like a ton of bricks today, is this pandemic in some way impacting the way that we as a society collectively grieve? Pandemic aside, there’s been a lot of buzz in the news that has been beyond painful for so many people in this country right now regarding multiple events. Then again, another mass shooting is hardly getting a mention anymore because they’ve become so common place. Our flag now hangs at half mast continuously like a deflated balloon.

I don’t want to take this blog to a weird place, I’m just merely questioning collective grief right now and if it’s loaded with questionable or outlandish impropriety, that leaves me with only one conclusion, there’s some kind of collective trauma response happening here. This is a protection mechanism really. Is this mechanism ugly, most foul, or sinister? Hmm…according to my contemplations, not necessarily. Maybe we are all just human and whatever mechanism we are flying with just means that we are still alive. We are in this. Which is something I can not say for my former brother in law. When I really analyze it, I don’t see his death as feeling quite as heavy as it did before. I’m sad he is not carrying this life with us, but there’s also a small amount of peace knowing he is no longer carrying his load. His portion became much too burdensome to carry. So here we all sat at Chuck a Rama today, regrouping, trying to figure out how to fill that space he’s left behind, and the best we could come up with for today was a tiny plastic spoon.

I must say, that in between the Pfizer vaccination and the spoon there was Hamilton which I watched twice over the weekend as I held my vaccinated arm close to my body, and these lyrics have just kept running through my head…yes, we are dealing with the un.imag.in.able. It’s quiet uptown, I like it uptown, and by god, it’s just so fucking beautiful in the saddest way. If you know, you know…I just joined the Hamilton train a little late but maybe it came right on time. Might I suggest giving Unimaginable a listen, because my friends that is what we are dealing with here. Where no words can suffice, one must simply fly with the unimaginable.

My daughter sent me these two images, a Rainbow in Hawaii and this field of sunflowers. Today I feel compelled to buy sunflower seeds by the handfuls and plant them in my garden, as I contemplate this path I will take with my sister and her son with her water element to Oahu, which also feels unimaginable.

I am reminded of spoken language and a term used to describe a word that can have contradictory meanings that are interchangeable (in essence, they are their own opposites). That term is called a contronym and few words in the English language have them. It just dawned on me now, that unimaginable just happens to be one of them. Words just blow my mind sometimes. There just seems to be something magical about a word that can travel in opposing directions. Such a beautiful word. Such a beautiful song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjEoOeXId1k

Until next Post

Rachelle Whiting

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