This Is for You, Brad


The day was lovely: sunshine interrupted casually by a languorous cloud every little while. At the same time, it was Day Twenty-four of Cast-on-Right-Arm. Frustration was volcanic. I got through the shower with my plastic bag-wrapped arm not getting too wet, a minor success for which I should have been grateful. But I wasn’t budging on the sourness of my attitude. I was very sorry for me and nothing helped.

Then, I reached for the small plastic bottle of seasoned salt… and dropped it onto the floor, spilling some of its contents. (We’ll pause briefly here to pray for Joan and for some sort of redemption for her outburst of sailor vernacular.)

A dark silence prevailed in the house. I went to the comfort of my computer and deleted all those sales/linkedIn/political emails, receiving an extra squish of glee in doing so. Checked my emails and went to Facebook. There was a Notification there from a friend who knew and loved Mary Kay. Her message was: for you, Joan, with thoughts of Mary Kay. The link below it was an exquisitely beautiful scene of the Chinese Ballet’s Swan Lake. I watched it, spellbound, although I’d seen it before. And, yes, I thought of Mary Kay. (FYI, Mary Kay was my daughter, who died suddenly on June 13, 2006. She was a ballet teacher and owner of Ballet Theater of Dance.)

As I said, the sunny day was dark as sin already for me. But these thoughts of my only daughter roiled that darkness into an ache that delved into my very soul. How can she not be here with me, laughing, commiserating, loving? Why can’t she help me be to her kids what she was, no matter how hard I try? Why can’t I still get through a day, good or bad, without missing her?

As I always do, I vented into a cold, wet, wash cloth and continued with my day. At the gym, I rode the stationary bike at 60-63 RPMs for half an hour, thankyouverymuch. Then, Paul and I made a salad and brought it to dinner at friends’, Mary and Don. We were getting together to spend some time with their son, Brad, visiting from Virginia.

And Brad turned my day around.

First of all, he’s such a handsome young man that it’s a pleasure just to look at him. He greeted me with a huge smile and a warm hug and we had stimulating conversations all evening. But what really made my day was his quick humor and the way he would belly laugh at my comebacks. Every time he laughed, it activated another quip from me. I was on a roll and I loved it. I was having fun!

Oddly, the subject of Mary Kay came up again; not just that, but the subject of her funeral. More specifically, the eulogy I had given for/about her. (I know: why would someone bring that up at a dinner party?) But I handled it. Without crying. A little quiver at one point, but I was in control. And Brad helped me do it. I pretty much said what I had to say about the eulogy, why I did it, the really hard part of it, and bragged further about Mary Kay… all directly to Brad. Somehow, he got me through it and soon we were laughing again.

Paul and I left their house filled with fantastic food, the happiness of friendships, and the pure pleasure that comes from shared laughter.

Thanks, Brad. I love you, guy.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. VVV
    Mar 10, 2015 @ 16:16:26

    Mary Kay was the beautiful (in every sense of the word) daughter of a beautiful (in every sense of the word) mother.

    Reply

  2. brad
    Mar 11, 2015 @ 22:02:06

    I love you too Joan! This blog made me smile. It was great spending the night with you and Paul!! Brad

    Reply

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