She was one of those 'young managers'. Do you ever deal with those? People who climb the ranks quick because they're so damn good, professionally and personally. Probably.. you have ...but not enough.
Anyway in 1992 I was on 'mandatory sabbatical' from university looking for a place in a world. A desire to work in theatre box offices and short order cook lines was winding down. She hired me when the public library still resided the Virgin megastore site, an age ago.
I was one of a gaggle of six or so in our mashup division, a good job, good pay, some more serious than others. With slackers and the occasional junkie cluttering up my sofa or apartment floor I was in the category more to the serious side. I was not always so great. Abby in her unflaggingly quiet sterness sorted me more than once. A good investment for the mother corp for the next nine years and for me... The person in my mind who gave me this profession I love so much; someone completely unlike me my mentor.
Just married she had her first child just shortly after. Still remember the crowded workroom scene and the quintessence of giving Goodnight Moon that bright day in '93. My son nightly clings to a bunny just like the one I gave to her daughter J.
I inherited a new manager and quickly moved elsewhere. It was a big system no need to sit still. In two years we were back together A. expecting her second child then and my eye on a higher position, just married myself now. I covered part of her leave soon after. But not for the maternity, for medical. When her little second one was only 6 mos. A. was diagnosed with breast cancer.
It was terminal. She did everything best she could, as ever so, and we prayed against hope that she would be relieved, protected for being as fine a person as she was. She was an exceptionally fine person. Swearing on my heart this is not looking at someone through the tragedy kaleidoscope glasses. How young was I to wonder as much?
I think many of us have chatted when there is loss how it is a capital challenge the appearance of a person, their every moment. I remember an exchange with Tony
about how inconceivable it becomes that our children just appeared that it fills us with the dread they, or us, will ever disappear from each other. I know some of you have felt such dread -- or worse
. This was my foundation of schooling for it.
She is as kind and good and hardworking as A. ever was. We have worked nearby one another for 6 years and it was only in the chatty intercession of Christmas break we connected the dots. "Oh did you work at the library downtown? Did you every know A.?" But "Yes" I gulp. Turns out C. is the sister in law of A. The one who kept the time at palliative care, the one there when other family members had retreated or never began for the dread, anger or unending despair of it all.
Perfect. Perfect it would be C.
C. it turns out had just seen that girl, J., her niece. They were going to buy the graduation dress she will wear this year. I saw pictures of her and of the baby boy who was barely a toddler when he lost his mama too short a while after she took him to Disneyland. They are well. Beautiful children approaching that age I was when their mother hired me.
We went over all I knew and few things I didn't. That A. bought her daughter a wedding dress before she died. What she wanted for her husband another colleague of ours. Again how it was that C. was there.
A circle closed. A cycle of life exploded for me in a thousand pieces. What do we really ask of this life each day? To demand longevity? Or, to value not what we consume but what we create? My heart was elated in its way that it was C. It was the gladness I had which surprised me. So glad it was her that was there for A. What matters but what we have for each other? A moment of faith delivered to me; someone otherwise a skeptic.
I feel some disquiet at the consolation I got in this intersection of story. Worrying I was make it all trite; but as I set it down I hope it conveys, as for me, hopefulness, gratitude.**** with no small measure of thankfulness to Susan who gives so much through her storytelling and no doubt helped me meld my mother-womanness with value and not demand.
Labels: breast cancer, the end