Thursday, May 11, 2017

Other Than That, How Was the Play, Mrs. Lincoln?

Last weekend was my brother’s memorial service. Which still makes no sense to me, typing that sentence. It’s not real, it’s not real, it’s not real, except it is.

I could tell you about what it was like seeing a large photo of Andy on an easel at the church, how it was so iconic of a funeral that I immediately began to choke-sob ugly cry, but I won’t. I could tell you about my eulogy, or my dad’s eulogy even, how my dad told a story about Ozzy asking him with all the shameless curiosity of a 5 year old why he was still alive. My dad said it was supposed to be him who died next, the order of death unnatural with a son dying before his father, how even Ozzy knew that, but I won’t tell that story either.

Instead I will tell you that we went to Disneyland the next day. I mean, in a world where nothing makes sense, why not go to The Happiest Place on Earth?
Unflattering photo credit: my cousin, Oliver.
I hate Disneyland. Which is to say I hate crowds and lines, other people’s kids, other people period (kind of, super fine print a mile long on that one). Lucky for me, Disneyland was thick with people who looked as emo as I felt inside. Seriously, as far as the eye could see were people dressed in black, goth women carrying dark lace parasols, their boobs spilling out of black leather corsets, men in steampunk suits clanging with buckles and chains, white makeup spackled on faces. It was...weird to say the least, but also right? Already we felt surreal going to Disneyland the day after my brother’s funeral. Everything felt disjointed and wrong, so finding ourselves surrounded by the dark subculture at The Happiest Place on Earth seemed to make as much sense as my brother not being there with us.

Not my pic, not my people. Although let's be honest--fashion aside, these are "my" people.

There was just too much black lipstick for it to be a fluke, so I finally stopped a goth man and asked what was going on. Apparently, it was Bat Day in the Fun Park at Disneyland, which he emphatically told me is NOT a themed dress up day, but an annual “meet up” that attracts people in the goth community from all over the U.S. What this meant for us is that the line for the Haunted Mansion was 70 minutes long, while the line for It’s A Small World only took 20 minutes.

What this also meant for us is that we laughed. Not at the Bat People, per se, but at everything. What else were we going to do waiting for over an hour in line for the Haunted Mansion, snaking between fake tombstones, squished between people dressed in the Victorian cult of mourning? Laugh. That’s all we could do, all we can ever do, and so we laughed. Together.

How was the memorial? Thanks for asking. It was gut-wrenching agony, another step forward in me accepting that my brother is really gone. (Why is there no analogue word of "orphan" for someone who has lost their only sibling?) But it was also healing. Being with my cousins and aunts, my sister-in-law, my nephews, old friends I haven't seen since I was 10. Despite so much tragedy, I am lucky. So freaking lucky, and so, so loved.

Thank you,
S

3 comments:

mumsy said...

Thanks again for sharing part of your life Susanah - the messy, hard to digest parts along with the sweetness and grace of raising children. Your articulation of the bumpy road you've been traveling nourishes my spirit and makes me grateful for your talent and willingness to share it. Please continue to hit "Post"

Sarah Fowler said...

Susannah, you've been through so much it's hard to believe. I started following you're blog in 2010 when I was pregnant thinking it was a cute and stylish mom blog. I admired your beautiful, emotional, and funny writing. Little did I know I would follow it until it changed into something else with gut wrenching twists and turns and deep life lessons. This is hard stuff. Stay strong and keep sharing. Thank you, Sarah.

Sarah Fowler said...

Susannah, you've been through so much it's hard to believe. I started following you're blog in 2010 when I was pregnant thinking it was a cute and stylish mom blog. I admired your beautiful, emotional, and funny writing. Little did I know I would follow it until it changed into something else with gut wrenching twists and turns and deep life lessons. This is hard stuff. Stay strong and keep sharing. Thank you, Sarah.