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Tuesday, April 18, 2000

Get Your Shoulder out of my Face

An email I just sent to a list of friends:

I just received an incredibly annoying call in what I fear is soon to be a stream of such, so I am sending out this warning to any of you who might have unwittingly participated (since many of you would eventually get this news):

My mother died Saturday morning, a couple of months into her relapse of cancer, and five years after she was given a year or two to live. To me, death, everyone's death, is inevitable, including my own, and it's just a matter of when, and this reality *really does* fall well within the scope of my every-day awareness, just as I am aware that I cannot flap my arms to fly or simply wish for something and have it be true. So, hard as it may be for most people to imagine, it's *no big deal*. (And I *liked* her, too -- I had a great deal of respect for her, all of my friends who've met her have liked her, etc.. etc..., and yes, it's too bad I won't get to spend any more time with her, or exchange recipes with her, or talk about old times, yadda yadda. But there are lots of things in the world that are too bad, and if you are objective about it, this particular one is really very far from the worst.)

Now to the call: An old friend of the family, someone I haven't talked to in quite a while, just called me to express her sympathies, and in the process of doing so, and in particular in seeing that I wasn't grief stricken and hole up in a dark room, she basically got into an argument with me insisting that I *will* be suddenly stricken with "feelings I've never had before" and "she's there for me" blah blah blah. Unfortunately, the only honest retort to this would have been to explain to her that *she* is the one in denial *all the time* -- i.e., it's not that I am in denial of the incident, but rather that most people are in denial (emotionally) of the *possibility* of the incident, so when it happens, they are forced to face it, and have to live for a small time with one foot in the doorway of the infinite perspective vortex, and this is a terrifying experience for them. Naturally, I'm not going to begin to attempt to explain this to her, so I just have to go "Ok, thank you. Yeah, uh huh.. uh huh... ok... that's nice... yeah.. ok.. thank you.. I'll remember that.. ok.. bye bye now.." while I'm thinking "Oh, just fuck off and go back to your tiny little life, would you?".

So the lesson is: feel free to cry on my shoulder about it, but please don't jam your shoulder in my face.


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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com