A Week Of Extremes And Realization Of The Importance Of Being

A big week. A week of strange extremes.

Both children graduated this week: Em has finished Grade 8, Dee Grade 5. Both go to new schools in the fall, and while it's extremely exciting, it's also hard to swallow. Our children are growing up, and I'm not ready for it.

My beautiful daughter, Em. Fourteen, going on 26. We're very proud of our baby girl, who got Principal's Award yet again, as well as the English Award. Straight As across the board (except in Music, but that's because she readily admitted to being lazy and not caring...so we are punishing her for the summer with loads of music lessons and being allowed to only listen to classical renditions of hit songs, aka Musak, for the entire summer).

Our little Dee, full of glee and smiles, with his teacher. He did really well in all his subjects as well, but excelled in heading soccer balls. That's our boy.

And then, another hard few days at work. Too much disorganization, too many people taking time off, and impatient co-workers all come together to cause me a lot of aggravation, and an uncontrollable feeling of overwhelming fatigue and frustration.

I was looking forward to having dinner with my friend Slut on Thursday, ended up working really late, and then got stuck in a traffic jam that never ended up having a reason for being, so I was over a half hour late arriving at the restaurant. Thank god Slut is patient, and doesn't own a watch.

And then I found out two icons of our time passed away.

And although I can't say I've been a huge fan of either Farrah Fawcett or Michael Jackson, I can't pretend that it hasn't hit me like a heavy brick wall. Because they were huge, and affected each and every one of us in some way, no matter how much or little.

I got sucked into all the Michael Jackson hubbub when his skin started turning white, and when his nose began looking misshapen, and he denied having had surgery. I bought The Wall, and loved his music when I was younger. As Jackson became stranger, I started to ignore much of his life because it was all too weird for me and gave me the heebeejeebees. I'm not good at dealing with people who are too out-of-the-ordinary. They scare me somethin' fierce.

Now that he's gone, apart from the utter disbelief, I just feel really sad for him, because I think he ended up being a very lonely person, and very alone. And, although I think he dug his own grave, for the most part, I also believe he was very much a victim. I hope he's in peace now.

And then there's Farrah. All I knew about her was that I loved her hair when I was in Grade 9, and I tried to copy her hairstyle, but could never quite make myself look quite as lovely as she did. Marissa could, and I hated her. She and I shared many Grade 9 classes, and she was the epitome of Farrah Fawcett. And I wasn't. I hope Marissa now serves Dilly bars at the Dairy Queen. Me, bitter? Never.

I watched Farrah's documentary, Farrah's Story, the other night. And I saw a very different side of her, one I didn't know existed. The suffering this poor woman endured during her three years of cancer treatment is something no one should experience. It's inhumane. She went from being a beautiful, vital woman full of joy, to a thin shell of a person, her skin grey and scaly, her body racked with the illness that ultimately took her on Thursday. But somewhere in there, regardless of the torture she went through, her spirit kept on living, and hoping, and loving the life she was living. What touched me most was the fight she had in her to stay alive, to beat this disease. She never gave up. Even when everyone around her knew it was just a matter of time before the inevitable happened, she kept on, trying experimental treatments that would make her sicker than the cancer itself.
And perhaps what made this all the more awful was that this woman grew up being known for the most superficial of things: her beauty. And yet, somehow, she seemed to have transcended that superficiality that society had placed on her, and had grasped what life was really about: the sound of the rain falling, a surprise snowfall, the laughter of a child.

Which then led me to compare these two icons: one who had seemingly given up on life a long time ago, and was merely existing in a non-existent world, and the other, who fought with everything she had to continue living life to the fullest. Her love of life was based in the simplest our world has to offer: listening to the rain falling one day, she cried, hoping she'd still be able to experience that in heaven, if it ever got to that point.

Somehow, these two people touched me in ways I didn't realize, until their passing late last week. And although I feel sad that Michael has left us, he had really left this world many years ago. Or was he ever a part of this world? Whereas Farrah fought with every cell of her being to stay rooted in the here and now, feeling the rain on her face, Michael holed himself up in mansions he could not afford, and lived a life no one really knew (or wanted to know) anything about. He was merely a semblance of himself, a ghost, a man already gone.

They remind me to remember the little things in this life: the sun shining on my back, the birds singing in the early morning, my children giving me a hug just because, both of them graduating and being happy and fulfilled. I don't need anything more than that. Except maybe a perpetual bag of supersized Cheetos.


FrankandMary said…
Recently when I was mentioning I use to "do" so much more socially, and now I want to read, jog and play with my cats, the man I'm dating said, "But, you know, you seem happy."
Damn, he's right, I am. I'm with Farrah.
The Grandpa said…
A very sensitive, insightful post. And you've got two great looking kids. But nothing but Musak? That's cruel and unusual punishment.
A. K. said…
Congrats.. Think i have missed out so much..
Parents its natural for parents to feel that way..
darsden said…
Awesome Mary, your babies are going up and it goes by so fast. Congrats on both of them.

Yes, feel the pain and tragedy of Farrah, I too learned things I didn't know about her. She was extremely strong!

Michael, I feel did leave long ago. His music legacy is untouchable but he had major issues that I am not qualified to judg on...I too hope he has found some peace...but even more forgiveness from his sins..!
If only one could live in a bag of cheetos!
A very awesome blog, we are not prepared for our children growing up and it do come as a shock when it happens.
Your comments about the passing of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson
were all so very true. very sad in both cases they both completely opposite in personalities. well done this made excellent reading.

Congrats on the kiddos doing so well this past school year!!!! and what you wrote about the "icons" so true and so touching...I dont handle death of anyone very well. When it happens it does make us alot of times sit back and rethink "LIFE"
ReformingGeek said…
Nice post! Congrats to the kiddos. I'm glad they are happy.

Cancer SUCKS. Period.
mo.stoneskin said…
It is sad thinking of how MJ weirded out and what a state he was in by the time he died. Makes you think about how precious life is, which is kinda odd given that we all know how fragile popstars' lives are.
Grace said…
You've got some good looking children there, and it seems they are smart too. Lucky you!
Miss Thystle said…
yay for this kiddos!

interesting point about MJ. I hadn't thought of it quite like that, but you are correct, I think.

Lastly, I didn't know you knew my sister, Slut. Nice girl, isn't she?
Congrats on the dual graduation! Nice to hear your thoughts on the recent deaths. Amazing the impact that both had.
Jeanne said…
Beautiful blog. Thanks for saying what I was feeling -- and congrats on your 2 grads!
Omigosh I love this post. I've been sad about Michael and Farrah too, not b/c I knew them, obviously, but b/c I grew up with them. I haven't watched Farrah's documentary. I saw snippets but I'm not up for it. It looks grueling and I don't want to see her suffer.

Junior is going on 2 and I feel the same way: I'm not ready!! I can't even imagine middle schoolers and high schoolers. Your kids look beautiful (and not in the superficial sense). Certainly cause for celebration.
P.S. I want a friend named Slut!
Carol Kilgore said…
Great post, Mary.

I tagged you for the I Cannot Tell a Lie meme.

Check Under the Tiki Hut for the rules to this one.
Lauren said…
Well said! Well Said!
Helen Ginger said…
I feel pretty much the same way about MJ and Farrah. We can't get cable, so I haven't seen her documentary. If it comes out on DVD, I'll probably get it. In the end, I would've liked to have seen more about Farrah and less about MJ.

Straight From Hel
Monogramchick said…
Wow! That was a great post. You take on Farrah is so true and so painful to think about. I feel for her long time BF that they were never able to marry. Well enough on that. Congrats on the 2 grads....
Debbie said…
I agree with you about MJ. I think he was a victim. He never really had a chance for a normal life.
Wow....2 graduations! How exciting for ALL of you! The kids are so adorable.

I always thought Farrah was the prettiest of the "Angels". I was shocked to read that she was actually only on the show for 1 season....it seemed like she was on there FOREVER! I am brunette, so I never really tried to copy her hairstyle, but I did buy a skimpy red swimsuit that I managed to ROCK back in the day....

Michael Jackson just makes me sad...such a waste of a true talent.

I hope your work settles down some soon!
CurvyGurl ♥ said…
Hey Mary! Your hard work definitely pays off :-). I'm running a little giveaway, please stop by when you have a chance :-).

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