Sunday, April 29, 2007

Death Sucks.

That's not meant to be funny. Or ironic. It's called I'm at the point where that's all I can think to say. Death sucks. If you object to the curse word in there, chalk it up to postmodernism that says I can be a Christ follower and also use the words that aptly express my feelings even if they're considered vulgar. Hopefully you can also credit the fact that I wouldn't be much of follower if the death of my 21-year old cousin didn't leave me upset and frankly, pretty darn pissed off. I know all the lines that there's hope because Christ has conquered death. This life isn't all there is. He's in a better place. We'll be together again someday. Sure. It's true. I DO believe it. It's actually quite comforting. But there's still this heap of emotions that keep bursting through the healing words and thoughts leaving everything to feel so.... raw.

I don't know why I have such a hard time with sadness but I always seem to be crossing the razor-edge line from sorrow into rage. Don't get me wrong, I've shed plenty of tears but after they're dried I still feel like punching something. What am I so angry at, you'll ask, and I don't even know if I can sufficiently explain it. Maybe it's just that, for me, anger's more easy to deal with. Anger feels powerful where as sadness seems too vulnerable. Sure it's immature but I can't fight wanting to scream out that "It's just not fair!!!" Injustice. That's something to be angry about, right? The injustice of death, with a Dylan Thomas style plea to "rage, rage against the dying of the light!" But Thomas seems to speak of death of the aged, those who have lived and seen and done. He speaks not to the death of youth. When the cruel world claims those who have only begun to live, there lies tragedy indeed.

This week marks the fourth funeral I've been to in the past few years and three out of four have been for people under thirty. That's where death really sucks. In a reflection on the Virginia Tech tragedy, author Neil Gaiman said, "[I'm] still managing to think of this as something that happened, tragically, to Other People. And then heart sinks... and I get my nose rubbed hard and painfully in the fact that there are no Other People. It's just us." And that's true. Every death is someone's someone. A son, a mother, a brother, a friend, a cousin - an Andy.

Andy. Andrew Patrick Moore, A. Mo, though you will always be our Andy. I remember you so well as a little boy with a shy smile and how in just a few summers you became a handsome young man that I suddenly looked up to - quite literally looked up to, for in between vacations you sprouted up taller than most of your older cousins! We played board games and UNO and in a small enough group your shyness etched away and we could talk about college and friends and your future.... The future that you no longer have outside of the hearts of those that love you. My image of you will always be barefoot, wearing swim trunks and a life jacket for you were ever most alive on a jet ski or being whipped around the lake tubing or water skiing with graceful confidence. You used to say the ride was awesome because it was fast - and perhaps now that's how we can see your life: a wonderful, but all too fast ride.

I don't know what else to say besides "it's so tragic" or "it's so unfair" or "it's not right" or perhaps most appropriately, "it just plain sucks". But none of those cliches can capture the whole of the situation. I suppose I could use another's words to say it best, "There is no pain greater than losing something - someone - before truly recognizing it's value." (R.A. Salvatore). You were valued to us Andy, you still are and always will be. But your potential, your impact and value in the world, were only just beginning. I can't describe how much you will be missed, but I will say that you will forever be remembered and you will be a constant reminder of how precious and fleeting life really is. Our family reunions at the lake will never be the same - we are 17 cousins now and there will be an empty chair for you at the table. But there is hope in knowing that we will have a grand reunion in heaven some day. It will certainly be the best one ever.

Goodbye, Andy. I'll miss you man.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sorrow's Song

I'll explain later -
Basically this is a compilation of various song lyrics that just...

I was naive, and I thought that I was strong.

...but now I know that I was wrong, 'cause I miss you.
I've tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone.
Life's like an hourglass glued to the table.
No one can find the rewind button,

I miss you.

Can you tell me, is there something more to believe in?
Or is this all there is?
I'd want to know, I'd want to know, my God, 
All I know - time is a valuable thing, 
watch it fly by as the pendulum swings,
watch it count down to the end of the day.

The clock ticks life away - It's so unreal!

It's funny how we feel so much but we cannot say a word -
We are screaming inside, but we can't be heard.
But I will remember you....

Your presence still lingers here... 
These wounds won't seem to heal this pain is just too real.

But long before, having hurt, I'd send the pain below.
Much like suffocating.

This is me pretending this is all I need and I just wish
that I didn't feel like there was something I missed

And all the colors mix together - to grey.
And it breaks her heart.

I'm bound by the life you left behind,
your face it haunts my once pleasant dreams.

You won't get to see the tears I cry.
God thy will is hard, but You hold every card.

Don’t you cry, wipe away the teardrop from your eye.

It's easier to believe in this sweet madness, oh,

this glorious sadness that brings me to my knees:
Blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering, 
though there's pain in the offering, blessed be Your name.
It won't rain all the time. The sky won't fall forever.
And though the night seems long, your tears won't fall,

Friday, April 20, 2007

Drink to your health - Literally!

The next time glasses are raised with a clink and a cry of "Salud"* we can all take the cheer much more literally. Turns out certain cocktails are not as much a vice as they were once thought to be. In fact, scientists have now shown that fruity drinks contain multiple health benefits (one more reason why I looove science). According to the study, "ethanol - the type of alcohol found in rum, vodka, tequila and other spirits -- boosted the antioxidant nutrients in strawberries and blackberries." And since we all want as much benefit from our antioxidant friends, skip the smoothies and go straight for the margaritas and the daquiris. Now that's my kind of health food!

*"Salud" is Spanish for "health"

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Quote Worthy (...Again)

"Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow!

Oh yes. It's one of those years. Those years where spring is but a teasing joke to mock us all. Was it really just two weeks ago that I was wearing a tank top and pondering my slight glow of a sunburn in 79 degree heat? And now I'm starting my morning with the realization that the rain storms that woke me in the middle of the night faded in sound not because they were blowing through the area, but rather because they were freezing into a much more sinister form of precipitation! Leaving the house was the equivalent of stomping through a slushee factory and waiting for the bus in near blizzard conditions was far from pleasant (seriously, the only blizzards I EVER want in April are the Dairy Queen variety) - but there is a definite bright side to this equation.

Granted I'm fearing the frigid tundra that will be Wrigleyville for the Cubs tickets I have this weekend, but on the subject of baseball I can take all this slush and sleet as quite a good omen (not to be confused with a good Ohman - that I'm also hoping for). See, the last time Chicago recorded crazy snowfalls in April was in the "spring" of 2003. Although this resulted in a snowed out Opening Day, it led to one of the best Cubbie seasons in recent history. (Only a few outs away from the Series... thou shalt not remind thyself of Bartman...) So with plenty of snow (and Soriano!) I'll hope that this can only mean good things for my northside boys in blue.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Is it just me...

Okay you can file this one under "Random Pop Culture References That No One But Me Cares About" or you can put it in the "Is It Just Me Or..." category but let me be the first to come out with the question:

Is it just me or does American Idol Season 6* contestant Sanjaya Malakar (right) bear an uncanny resemblance to Jack Black's sidekick from the movie Nacho Libre (left)?

Long Lost Twins?

*In my defense I haven't watched a single episode of AI this season but Sanjaya's been all over the news cause lots of people are arguing that he can't sing his way out of a paper bag and other people are arguing that his hair is really awesome but no one seems to be arguing that he's a dead ringer for Eskeleton (the Nacho Libre character played by Hector Jimenez). You heard it here first folks.