Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Rollercoaster Life

E on the dragon rollercoaster
Last week was a weird week for me. It was like a giant rollercoaster of emotions. First, it was my favorite week of the year- Glen Rock's Fun Fair. Last week of school and the carnival. For the first time I can remember, it started on a Wednesday instead of Thursday. It was going Wednesday evening through Saturday evening. My plan was to go Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. We love carnivals, this one is in our town, it's easy, and I can eat meat on a stick to my heart's content.

On Saturday before the week of the fair, I'd seen my friend's husband at the pool. My friend had died about a year ago from cancer. He mentioned that her Unveiling* was going to be the coming weekend. It was going to be a private family thing, but of course, I just started thinking about her, how it had been a year already, and how so much had happened in that year. I just was running through old times in my head.

Unfortunately, then, in the early part of that week, an old friend of mine passed away. I wrote about her in this blog entry- Vange: This Is My Super Bowl - She had been sick but she passed away totally unexpectedly. No one thought she'd pass away. I know I didn't. It was one of those crazy things that happened as a result of a complication, not the actual illness. Like, years ago, when a friend's mom had beat cancer, only to go for a check up where she died from a complication from the testing to make sure she was cancer-free.

I was in shock from when I heard the news...through now. I am seeing her tagged on Facebook and it's jarring because I still can't believe it. I guess because she was more my FB friend than anything else. We didn't hang out but we talked online.

We went to the fair on Wednesday and Thursday. I can compartmentalize like that. I have to be able to do that. I had to do that when my mom died. We had a new baby and a new store. I had to hop to it and just keep moving. Since then, I've learned to just basically keep moving. I went to the wake on Friday in the late afternoon. I saw people I haven't seen since before I graduated high school. I thought I was fine until I saw the body and her mother. You're never prepared to see a body, but you're extra unprepared to see one that's your friend, your contemporary. I caught up with some old friends and then I kept moving. I went from tears to sadness to meeting my childhood friend and her family at the fair again.

For Saturday, I'd RSVP'd yes to a celebration of life. It was a party for a friend who just actually BEAT cancer. She got diagnosed in October with breast cancer, and without going into details, she kicked it's ass. She's ok. So one two friends lost their fight, and one is getting to celebrate life. It's just so crazy how each person fights a totally different battle.

My friend's party was at California Wine Works in Ramsey, NJ. It's a really cool place. From what I understand, my friend and her husband made wine there last fall and their wine was some of what was served the night of the party. It was a warehouse kind of space, but it also made for a great party space. The garage doors were open, it was a beautiful night, and there was room for a DJ.

It was a really inspirational evening. So many people- like eighty-something were there to celebrate. Many of the women were involved in making a video of them lip-syncing to "My Fight Song". I got the emails too late- they were in my spam folder. I didn't know the person's name who sent them and I've been hacked way too many times to open mail I don't know. I would've done a terrible job anyway. I'm not a performer. Leave that to E. It was an amazing video though and it gave me goosies. A mutual friend's husband works with Andy Cohen and he got Andy to even add a little message to her. THAT, was REALLY amazing and wonderful. I was thrilled to catch up with some friends I hadn't seen in a long time. Margaret & Ted, Salina & Bill, Sharon & Franco, Adina, Pam, Christine- loved getting to chat! I'm so happy that all is well with Jen and that she is a success story. She's thirty-six and has a lot more life left to live. I knew she'd beat it though. She's one fierce biotch who I've always known to get what she wants.

I also have to add in, just as an aside, my friend who had the party- she ditched the wig. She went with her natural, now very short hair. It looks amazing and I almost cried when I saw it. One, it reminded me of Samantha on Sex And The City, when Samantha was giving her speech and ripped the wig right off her head. Two, just that it was brave. She, as most people, has always cared what people think. She took off the wig, let go of her inhibitions in that way, and just gave a big F-U to cancer and to feeling like she needed to cover it up. Personally, she reminded me of Billie Jean Davy (The Legend of Billie Jean) as Joan of Arc - "Fair is Fair". It was hot. 

It just sucks that I'm at an age where friends are dying and having to beat cancers at all. We joke all the time in my store that our busiest days are when our ad is next to the obituaries. Because people not that much older than I am read the obits. I always thought that was humorous, but that's because I never really thought about the possibility of friends dying so young. Now I've seen two friends pass away within a year's time. Another friend of mine just posted on FB about her friend out in LA that also passed away this week. We're all in the 30-50-something age bracket. It's just not fair.

Like I said- it was just a weird, emotional week. I thought about & missed Jocelyn, said good-by to Vange, and celebrated Jen. E finished school for the year with an AMAZING teacher- Mrs H. I was so sorry to have him finish having her as a teacher, but so ready for school and (almost) all of E's extracurricular activities to end. Camp was starting this Monday, so in between all this other stuff, I was running around making sure I was prepared for that. Being so busy, I barely had time to think or feel, so that was probably a good thing.

Now the summer is kicked off and I'm in another whirlwind trying to figure out July 4th weekend. I plan on just soaking up every minute of sun and life for the next two months.

Margaret, Jen and I
Joce, Me, & Cohen in cut-outs I stuck together. Damn I was tan.

Shirley, Vange & I at an Autism Speaks benefit

*Unveiling (Jewish ceremony)- Within the first year after the passing of a loved one, mourners and their family gather at the gravesite for a ceremony called the unveiling, the placing of the tombstone. At this event, a grave marker is put into place and the monument is formally dedicated. There are a variety of specific customs that revolve around the gravesite to honor the person who is now deceased. During this ceremony, it is not necessary for rabbis or cantors to be involved. It is a spiritual time for the family to comfort each other and remember their loved one.

California Wine Works:

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