Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mixed News

Three nights ago, the boiler (sort of) exploded and silty water spewed all over the basement floor. By the time I caught it, the flood was an inch high. (I would have photographed this disaster for you had I clearance to violate the privacy of Bob and Kate's basement). (I don't).

So Bob and Kate's daughter and I spent some uncalculated number of hours doing the hazmat dance in her parents' basement. Then we got tired of hazmatting around and left the rest to be dealt with later this week.

Only later this week, as in right now, got exciting and busy is a way that no one wanted it to. Somewhere in the Monday time frame, we learned that Bob was not feeling well and that he and Kate would be returning from their vacation early so that he could see his own doctors. At the time I thought this an odd choice. Why fly all the way back to the U S of A just to get some antibiotics and a blood culture? Don't they have that stuff over yonder?

Well, duh. Leave it to me to miss the main point, which was, of course, that his condition was so serious that they did not think he would survive without the aid of his own team of doctors.

The "duh" factor was of course the main obstacle to me fully comprehending what all was said to me two days later, when my friend called me to tell me that her father had died. Of an infection. While awaiting medical evacuation.

Folks, I still don't have my head wrapped around this, but I have just enough brain damage to remember what today is like for people who loved Bob, in particular his daughter. So I am doing what I can: answering phones, taking messages, running the vacuum cleaner, sweeping up the crumbs, and hoping I can do something, anything right for the many family and friends who are grieving.

If you consider how often we, the friends of the deceased, feel like we just wish desperately that there were something we could do, I feel incredibly grateful to be in a position to do something for the family, even if it is just answering the phone and putting fresh flowers in the all the vases. Oh and casseroles. Making a lot of those, too.

Now that I am at the bottom of this post, I realize that the title makes no sense. There is nothing "mixed" about death. So the mixed part, if there is one, is that for at least right now, I don't feel helpless and ineffective. This feeling is not likely to persist, but I will take it for now.

Rest in peace, Bob. You are deeply loved.

5 comments:

Avitable said...

It's nice that you have been able to be there for the family. I wish we had been able to be there for you.

Catherine said...

I'm sorry for the loss, and glad that you're busy and able to feel useful and helpful. Casserole-making and other food prep can be a nice zen activity, too.

sybil law said...

Feeling useful in a time like that is a great feeling, indeed. Sorry to hear about Bob. :(

ingrid said...

Woah. I too am sorry for the loss. How are you doing?

Mrs. Who said...

Helping to take care of the living...that is one of the most beautiful ways to honor your friend's life.