Mel

I have been fired twice in my life. The first time, I was hired for what I thought was a cashier job in the mall, only to spend my first day doing hard sales.  Before I even had a handle of what the store sold, which was mostly novelty and gift items.  I planned to quit when the shift was up. It was a leave-at-lunch kind of job… but I had been sent out to get lunch for my boss, which made that impossible.  Plus, I at least wanted my pay for the day.  I got called over about 3 hours before closing to be fired.  I couldn’t have been happier.

The second time, I was working at a doctor’s office where my mom worked. I had been there for almost a year and a half.  I wasn’t treated particularly well (I had no job description, really… and when my direct manager got a promotion I found myself doing less of my work and more of hers), but I did my work and they seemed flexible with my changing schedule from semester to semester.  Well, seemed.  Not quite two months into this particular semester, a heavy one where I’d had to cut my schedule way back, I received a phone call that I was being let go because I wasn’t completing enough work.  I was upset.  More than that, I was angry.  I had record of the work I had done, and sent a letter to the doctors at the practice explaining to them what I had done. I didn’t care so much that I was fired– but I cared a great deal that my work ethic and character might be on the line.  Out of a decent-sized office, only two people reached out to me at that time.  My favorite doctor, and Mel.  I have kept in some touch with the other workers, and still am a patient at the practice. I began a new job, on campus, a few months later. Which wound up to be my favorite job ever. All things work for the best. But Mel’s card was a great encouragement to me… and it meant the world. She knew I had been fired unfairly, probably one of the few to realize this, and she wrote a beautiful note saying what great things were ahead of me and how that job was just a very, very small part of the life I would have.  She was right and I was far happier without working there– and even happier to know that someone saw who I was. 

Mel passed away last week.  Two days ago, Mom and I attended her memorial service.  She had battled cancer since before I knew her. And when I say battled, I mean battled. Mel gave cancer a run for its money.  After having tumors removed from her brain, she was still planning her return to work in a couple weeks.  It was after this that things took a turn for the worse. Mel was tough stuff with a great sense of humor. She was a protector. Sitting at the service, seeing her family… I still cannot grasp the concept of death.  Even after all the practice I’ve had.

Wednesday marks a year since my grandmother passed away.  I still cannot grasp it.  I still forget at times.  Still feel as though it’s not real.  Still can go back in my head to that day, and the weekend before.  It doesn’t happen as often… but it’s hard to shake when it does.  

Yesterday, we had a baby shower in my family.  My cousin’s wife.  Expecting a girl, their first child, this Spring. It is a reminder of a new season for us. Death is back in 2012 for my family– Life is in 2013, with two babies due in the next two months. A reminder that the bad is passed.  A reminder that even though death is hard to grasp– so is life.  This creation– how impossible that a baby grows and is born.  How miraculous.  As said in RENT, “the opposite of death isn’t life– it’s creation.”  I am still working on this.  Working on letting the emotions seep down to water the seeds that are growing deep down.  I’m waiting to see what will come.  I know that it will be good.  

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