Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Mighty Abyss

The mighty abyss. Waiting for us all. Two this week. One today. Long term friends. One a client, or maybe two, one asking for free tax assistance periodically. I was reviewing emails and had forgotten that. My sent folder was full of such requests along with affectionate exchanges over the years. The other, who died today, was a successful, long-term client. Friend would be a strong word for E, it was one of those connections in between client/acquaintance and not-quite-friend. Friends are those I invite to my home for kindred spirit communion. Not E.

You know how it is when someone close dies. You mull over the times. Revisit. And try not to speak ill of. E was a strange bird indeed. I don't think she allowed herself closeness or intimacy.

Twenty years ago, I remember flying to South Carolina with her for a retreat in the mountains near Asheville. A gorgeous spot. I'd had a huge argument with my man of the time in the morning. He had said he was going to drive me to the airport to meet E before boarding. In the morning he said he was too tired, go get a cab. And I went spare. He sullenly drove and I made the airport just in time for boarding. I remember not sharing what had transpired with E and faking normal. The trouble with people who don't share with me is that I usually feel like a crazy lunatic if I do share: the eyebrows, the long stare, the h'ms, as if such derangements were your peculiar dysfunction and certainly never happened to them.

I had all these gift certificates for a car rental, courtesy of another client. So we rented a car at the airport and E insisted on herself taking the first driving shift through the Blue Ridge Mountains. I didn't argue, though I was feeling slightly miffed as I had paid for the car, certificates notwithstanding. When I feel miffed I feel small, and ask myself why are you making a big deal out of this?

It was a long drive and after a coffee/pee break, she got back behind the wheel in spite of my friendly "my turn to drive now?" The weekend was great, I reconnected with some old friends and the workshops were powerful and memorable.

So we leave the retreat and E, who had not given up the key to the car, gets into the driver's seat. I say (very nicely) "It's my turn to drive."

"No," she says, firmly and clearly, "It's mine," and started the car.

I debated this. Get into a whine of: you drove ALL the way here, my turn, my turn!

But I let it go, I did. Because, surely, how important was it?

But truly, it was symptomatic of everything she did. She had to be in charge, in control, running things. I gave up having dinner with her on Wednesday nights in downtown Toronto, as I realized I'm not built for the kind of superficiality she represented. Her Blackberry, for instance, was constantly under the table sucking her attention. I let her go as a client about 4 years ago, mainly because of the stress she engendered in me by leaving everything to the last minute and not heeding my gentle/and or humorous reminders.

Her death was quick and unexpected. The vicious tentacles of an aggressive cancer which she kept hidden from most who knew her.

E was a good woman. That I know. Nobody is black and white as Hollywood likes to depict. We are all a mighty mix of oddity and occasional profundity with our inner demons bouncing around for attention.

E did her best as we all try to do. She was generous and kind in many areas. As long as she was in charge. But people like E leave us with many unanswered questions about the complexity of human nature.

And now I'm wondering who's next?








9 comments:

  1. I'm sorry this keeps happening--every death and life--should leave us with questions, at least I think so, based on my own experience. In the last few years, I've often wondered whether I've done enough or been enough un my time on this planet and as of yet, have reached no firm conclusions...I've seen too many people with too many regrets at the end...I will e-mail, but have been having late nights as my male cat is upset at being suddenly a solo despite the added attention, so very tired and trying to catch up a bit with things. The weekend was harrowing. Sorry to hear of this passing. This E sounds interesting, despite being controlling and very private. Best to you.

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    1. E it's left me with the biggie of do we ever know anyone at all truly? I'm so sorry about your loss too. Discombobulating. We are left spinning. I applied to be a foster mom to poor dog who was left abandoned. Now I'm having second thoughts. Second thoughts are my constant companion these days.
      XO
      WWW

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  2. At our age, this is normal. You have given such a beautiful portrait that I feel like I know E too! There are many like that everywhere and unless one is capable of saying "no" firmly, they will take charge. Sometimes, it is better that they do, as had it been me instead of you, I would have very gladly allowed her to drive!

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    1. I adore driving Ramana especially mountain driving. It sure was symptomatic of who E was and remained. They are dropping like flies around me and perhaps we grieve for our younger carefree selves who had 200 years to live?
      XO
      WWW

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  3. Those people who insist in being 100 per cent in control of everything are very hard to deal with. They just won't take no for an answer however much you coax them or freeze them. Nevertheless, as you say, E was a friend and the loss of any friend is always sad and upsetting.

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  4. Yes...... I've come across people like this too! Control freaks, we call them.

    I'm reminded of our mortality especially at this time of the year when I get out last years Christmas card list and find I have to cross several people who've died during the year, off it. I suppose it is inevitable as we get older.
    Maggie x

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  5. Here is another take on E. Maybe she thought you a terrible driver. Therefore preferred to take destiny into her own hands. Yes, does sound idiotic but isn't. I have sweated, on count of courtesy, in the passenger seat, fully expecting to not arrive at destination in one piece.

    Other than that, WWW: May E not turn in her grave. Not much she can control six feet under.

    Hug,
    U

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  6. Controlling people can be a trial, that's for sure.

    Catching up, I read through the commentary on your election post with some amazement at the defense of Trump. I'm still grieving, mixed parts fury and despair.

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  7. excellent read this is...something I have been pondering upon since last two weeks...there's nothing much that can be done for control freaks but to let them be...that's what i think.

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