Not the buck, but the puck. If, in fact, the buck stopped here, many things would be different. I would not be slapping this ever-loving puck from one end of the rink to the other with such wicked consumption just trying to keep it in play. Not really trying to win anymore as much as I'm trying to prevent days like today when I end up with one cheek to the ice watching the puck spin slowly around once...twice...a third slow turn...and then crash slowly to a flat halt against the ice two inches from the tip of my nose. Down. Hard.
I blink, but only in slow motion. My eyes can't focus. My mind can only think one thought: "This is reeeally gonna hurt when I try to get up." Then, "do any of those teeth belong to me?" It's the quick one-two sucker punch of life and before you know it, you're down and gasping for air.
Life seems to become, at times, this brutal contact sport. My gears are stripping and my body physically is giving up at times and I keep losing plates that I'm supposed to be spinning somewhere or that puck spins to a halt and I push up on my elbows and knees, but a knee falters and I go flat. And just for a bit, yes, the puck stops here. Not in any sort of authoritative manner, though. The game cannot go on. I leave the ice carried off the ice by my bruised and bloodied teammates and we mop each other up, assess our team and our stores and see what we've got to keep ourselves going. If anything. Then we step back out onto the ice. Always.
Today, I drove to Round Rock, TX to say goodbye to a friend of a friend who committed suicide last week. This is the third suicide to touch my life in about as many months. Yes, three. Like a storm of discouragement descending on my life and infesting the lives of those I love. I have to say, though, that the service was beautiful. The deceased's cousin is a priest and a dynamic speaker...he was a joy to listen to. Not your traditional Catholic. More of a catholic (little c). I'm not going to clarify, so some research may be required on your part for that one. Full of hope and joy and love. He held that service together in a way I have not seen since the likes of my grandfather Jackson (Baptist minister not Catholic, but known to deliver Catholic mass upon request as he ministered in a very rural area).
I prayed much for DKH-V as this was how she lost her beloved hubby. In fact, it was the motivating factor behind our pilgrimage...to offer a knowing connection to JKK's wife when she begins to come to grips with the fact that her hubby took his own life. It is a rarified group. D felt so moved to go that it was a no-brainer in my mind. D has been through it, so she has the value of sympathy versus empathy and that makes ALL the difference.
The day reminded me so of burying my uncle Gary and much was running around in my head, but in the midst of all this tragedy a flower bloomed...I had a wonderful time getting to know D better! What a rarity of a woman to find in our little (microscopic) town! Wisdom of years forced on her by experience, of course, but nevertheless, she has opened her heart to so many from so many backgrounds and persuasions...maybe that's my favorite thing about her. That or she's like me and her gourmet soup comes from a can at Kroger! She makes being my real self so easy even though she's such a confident and on-the-ball type which I am, too, but not in the same situations. Anyone who whips out a color-safe bleach pen in an Italian restaurant to remove a well-placed marinara drip is my kinda people! Come as you are! You will be loved!
Tomorrow, I intend to launch from the sofa, rip off my iPod and eyemask (Drea could NOT have given me a better gift) and slap that ever-lovin' puck clean into the opposing goal! And maybe for a bit, the puck WON'T stop here for a change and that feeling that someone's been kicking my dog will ease off.
RIP James...you were loved.