Sunday, March 4, 2007

1, 2, 3, Jump.... No. Wait.

I was going to jump out of an airplane yesterday.

Something about the temperatures at jump altitude kept me grounded, but I was going until I got that call.

When I started making the plans I picked March 3rd as the day. It would have been brother Mark’s 51st birthday. He and I used to have dinner and call each other old on our birthdays. The last three without him have been decidedly less celebratory.

I wanted to celebrate this year.

Skydiving is not something my brother would have done. I’m fairly certain he would have found colorful ways to call me an idiot for doing it. You see, when he died I told myself I wouldn’t mark the anniversaries - I didn’t want to be one of those people that said things like “four years ago today…” yet, without fail, the day he died, his birthday, and my birthday seem to glow like heated iron off the calendar pages.

The skydiving was about me. Sometime just recently I’ve had the realization that there is cause to celebrate the life I have left ahead of me, the rest of my life, without him. That was a hard realization to swallow. Never mind that making his birthday about me made me sound like an unbelievable narcissist.

Mark was a teacher and a poet, and he was often asked to read at weddings or other important public gatherings, he had the gift of fitting profound feelings into just a few lines. Mark joked that he kept those poems brief because he wanted to get out of the church before god realized who was in his house. I don’t have his gift. I wish I did. In my life extreme emotion has always been answered with physical exertion. I think skydiving will be my poem to him about how grateful I am to have been loved by such a great man. It will be about gratitude and letting go of the bottomless pit of hurt and sadness and about hanging on to the best parts of him; the lessons he taught me about everything from Geometry to our own family history.

No, that wasn’t a tense error. I’m still going to jump.

Maybe I'll think of my own colorful ways to call myself an idiot on the way down.


rennratt said...

You are not an idiot.

Crazy, yes.

But not an idiot.

Enjoying yourself on an otherwise sad day is NOT narcissistic. It is simply punching sadness right in the face.

Enjoy the jump.

Anne said...

I'm sure your brother would want you to be happy. If this is what you feel will help you, you should do it. Sometimes it takes something big and memorable like this to start feeling better again. Good luck.

roo said...

come to my house. we'll jump off my back deck and i'll call you any name you like. stace will too i bet.
then we'll drink a beer, toast Mark, and watch lightning bugs. mmm...june 8th or so?
i'll mark my calander.
but i have to go back inside when the bats come out. yeah. i'm a punk. that can be the name you call me.

kenju said...

What Renn said. If I were younger, I would do that.

Biff Spiffy said...

You rock. Even more for telling us about it.

You want total support and admiration? You got it.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

March 6 (tomorrow) is my mom's birthday. She would have been 67 this year, but she died in Nov. 05. On her last birthday, I was busy with a one month old baby, working on probate matters, etc. I was too busy to be sad. This year is much harder.

I hope you enjoy your jump. Good for you for going for it. :-)

Anonymous said...

You just go right ahead and jump! What an amazing tribute to what sounds like a wonderful, beautiful man. You go, sistah. And sister.

utenzi said...

There was a line in some movie, Cravey, that went something like this: Why would I want to jump out of a perfectly good plane?

I really think that's wisdom. Think about it! LOL I suspect your brother would agree. Oh well, have a fun fall.

tiff said...

I'll go with you.

Can I can I?


Carmi said...

Anyone who writes with such sensitivity and grace is anything BUT an idiot.

I know he'd be proud. You were and are a great sister - whether you're planted firmly on the ground, or hurtling toward it at an ungodly speed.

Anonymous said...

I get nervous about stepping out of the car to go into the grocery store, so I cannot imagine taking a leap from a plane.
However, I am certain your brother would have written a lovely poem to praise the bravery of his sister.