more human than human
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2002-05-21 05:11:48 (UTC)

Things that should come with expiry dates....

Everything in the world seems to come with an expiry date
printed on it: meat. milk. cheese. pop. medication.
condoms. So why can't humans? You know, have their date of
death printed on their forehead, just so the rest of us
could at least be ready? Last night, while giving him a
back rub, a good friend of mine told me that it had seemed
like I'd known too many people who had died. It all
started before I was even born, with my brother, who would
be 26, but died when he was two weeks old because of a
condition called a two chambered heart. For anyone who
knows absolutely NOTHING about human biology, the human
heart SHOULD have four chambers. At the age of two, my
grandpa Popo died. I don't remember anything about him,
but he left me a college bond that may save my life one
day (thankyou grandpa) Then, when I was about three, my
great grandmother died. She was pretty cool, from what I
remember. At age 90, she was still doing loon calls
flawlessly. I remember her room at the hospital (or was an
old-folks home?) There was alot of green, and I could
barely reach the bed. She had a beautiful rocking chair by
the window that she would sit in and knit. I went to her
funeral...and refused to go to another until grade ten.
Then was my great uncle Shawn, who I only remember meeting
once, but he loved his icecream....especially vanilla,
from what I recall. After that, a friend I met at cadet
camp died. The first person who really made me hate the
movie Armageddon. Through the entire camp, Jessica, Barry
and I would flirt...more out of boredom than attraction.
He was such a sweet guy. He could tell instantly when I
was upset, and always had some way to cheer me up. I
danced with him at the camp's end dance. I can't remember
the song, but I'm pretty sure it was from the Armageddon
sound track. A few weeks later, while watching Armageddon
for the first time, one of few times my sister and I were
getting along, the phone rang. It was Jen, a girl I'd met
at camp. She asked if I remembered Barry. I said yes. She
said. "Oh. Well, he got hit by a train. But guess what?
Phil (her bf) called me from Calgary!" I started balling.
I still can't watch Armageddon without crying, and its not
because of what's-his-name dying at the end. About a year
later, in grade 8, I went to the states for 3 months.
While there, I kept getting emails from my friends talking
about this new guy, Chad, and what I sweetheart he was,
and how they couldn't wait for me to get back so I could
meet him. Eventually I began to feel like I new this guy,
and I began to get excited to meet him. More curious than
anything. I had a boyfriend, and this guy was more than 2
years older than me, which at the time just seemed wrong.
(yeah, we all know what I think now) Then one day, I got
an email informing me that Chad had died. He'd been found,
hanging, in what I believe was his laundry room, but I
could be wrong. My sister's stalker faked seizures at the
funeral, then blamed it on my sis for "breaking up" with
him....THEY WERE NEVER GOING OUT! Two years after that, at
the end of grade 10, I called my cousin that I had stayed
with in grade eight. I was all excited, because I was
going down there for a family reunion the next day. She
asked me if I remembered Craig, a chubby little red-head
kid who I'd gone to school with. She informed me that I
would be arriving in Idaho the day before his funeral. He
had been driving with his dad, his first time driving, and
he started to point at a vehicle to his right that he
wanted. In his pointing he swerved slightly to the left,
where he was sandwiched by a semi. They managed to pull
his dad out, but for him there was no such luck. The
funeral was huge. It seemed like most of the sophomore
class for the following year had shown up. I ran into some
old friends, including an old boyfriend...unfortunatly
under the worst of circumstances. It was one of few times
anyone ever saw Brett cry. Just over three months later,
at the beginning of grade 11, I had the best weekend of my
life. My dad drove me, my best friend, and my boyfriend up
to Jasper for a camping trip. He and his girlfriend stayed
at a nearby hotel...assuming that 2 tents meant Kevin and
I wouldn't share one (riiight) We set up the two tents
facing eachother with a tarp tunneling between the
openings, so if we heard by dad pull up, i could sneak
back into "mine" and mandy's tent unseen. We stayed up
late around the campfire, drinking hot chocolate for
warmth (it was september) After this wonderfully stress
free weekend, I arrived back at home and received a number
of urgent messages from Tracey, my Idahoan cousin.
Figuring that she and her boy had broken up, and she may
be in need of moral support I called her. When she still
sounded upset, I jokingly asked "who died?" This wasn't
the best question. She told me to sit down. I started to
get scared. She told me that Robbie, one of the sweetest,
most beautiful guys I knew, had died a week before....on
September 24, one month before my birthday. Despite our
fights, he was one of those people I could have fallen in
love with, in a not-so plutanic way. He was my muscle boy,
a nickname he despised. He would argue now that he was a
muscle MAN. Yes Robbie, I guess you are. The last time I
saw him was the day I arrived in Idaho for my family
reunion, the day before Craig's funeral. He was biking
passed my cousin's house, and I ran out in my socks to
stop him. He came back, his cheekbone-length, blond hair
in about a dozen little braids, and hugged me. I hadn't
seen him in two years, since the summer after grade eight.
And he actually looked happy to see me. I asked if he'd be
at the funeral, but he said he couldn't handle funerals.
We talked for a couple minutes before he had to take off.
The last thing he ever said to me was "see you later." I
screamed when my cousin told me the news. My sister came
running in, asking "What happened? What's wrong?" I
couldn't say it. I just kept whispering into the
phone "No, it can't be. not him." She asked who. I asked
Tracey how. It turns out that Robbie had never quite
broken the drug habit that had started shortly after the
eighth grade. He was addicted to cocaine, and since he
couldn't get any, he had inhaled Freon gas...easily
availible to the son of a frige repair man. His family,
who had just driven his older sister home, found him
laying in the drveway in a coma. They thought he was
simply staring at the stars. I felt terrible that I
couldn't go to his funeral, which the entire high school
and much of the junior high, plus parents and family
friends attended. The church, I was told, was packed. They
had collected pictures from friends for the funeral, and
my cousin donated a bunch from when we all went to Copper
Mountain to ski. I was in most of them. His sister asked
Tracey who the other girl in the picures was. When she
replied with my name, His sister told her that he'd talked
about me constantly. When I started to cry on the phone
again, I guess I must have said his name, because my
sister said "Oh, no." I collapsed onto the floor. My
sister took the phone and talked to Tracey. My dad asked
how he died. When I told him, he looked at me in disgust
and threw me a box of kleenex, and walked away. I heard
one of his favorite songs on my birthday, Du Haste. I hear
the one song we danced to frequently. Don't Wanna Miss A
Thing, by Aerosmith. Now I REALLY can't watch Armageddon.
A few months later, in another phone conversation with
Tracey, I was informed that Chance had died in a
snowmobiling accident. He had jumped his machine off a
cornus and caused a minor, but for him, fatal, avalanche.
He was in a few of my classes when I was in the states.
Today I learned that a man, known to most of Fort
Saskatchewan as "Uncle John" passed away. I remember him
trying to explain to me how a restaraunt worked. I was
tired and in grade 6, so I didn't pay much attention. I
wish I had. His restaraunt, "Uncle John's", made the best
home style fries in town. He showed me how he made
them....I paid attention to that part. He was a sweet old
man, and one of the happiest I've known, too. I'm pretty
sure he did everything in life that he wanted to. But that
doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye. I wish I'd
known. I would have stopped by his diner the last time I
was in town, and had some of those fries.

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