Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Remember to Breathe...

Sometimes, I get so overwhelmed that I just don't know what to do. You know the feeling I'm talking about. I relate it to my cell phone. When the cell phone has been used consistently and has given absolutely everything it's got, it gets to a point where the only option is to just shut down.

Lately, I've felt like I was at that point - I was going to shut down. I needed to shut down.
I recently created a post entitled Holy Hiatus, Batman! In it, I was apologizing to my faithful Peeps for the lack of blog contribution lately, and I was talking about just how busy the month of April is in the Chicken Wing household. I thought that was insanity. I thought wrong.

Insanity came when I thought that I had enough to "deal with" in the month of April. I don't mean that in a bad way - honest to goodness, I don't. It's just tough to find that point of mental balance. Work has been more than crazy for the past month. I've been busy pretty much every single weekend. I'd fallen way behind on my housework, to the point that I was overwhelmed just thinking of all that still needed to get done. I had the incandescent joy of celebrating my anniversary with Mr. Chicken Wing, and birthdays of people we love most in the world. I received my annual reminder that I haven't seen my daddy in 15 years on the anniversary of his death. Then, while at Sam's Club and barely dragging by while getting much-needed toilet paper and half-and-half in bulk, I got the phone call - the call I first got when I was 10 years old, and life had changed as I knew it.

It was Wednesday, April 28th around 6:30pm. It was someone I hadn't talked to in ages - so long, in fact, that I didn't have her number. From the tone of her voice, I immediately knew this was one of those calls...I knew something was wrong.
Something was wrong. My college friend, one of Mr. Chicken Wing's fraternity brothers, had passed away. I felt the rug get pulled out from under me, and to be perfectly honest with you, I can't remember the rest of my Sam's Club trip. I can't remember the drive home. All I know is that I made it home, and I did manage to purchase everything that I needed at the store. Beyond that, all I knew was that I was numb and confused. He was 30 years old and one of the most healthy guys I'd ever known. He was famous for making everyone laugh. He had a really good job that he was proud of. He was a good man. He had just gotten married in October 2009. He was too young for this.

The next few days were full of phone calls and dead cell phone batteries. There was crying. There was listening. There was consoling. There were hugs, and well wishes. There was planning, and rearranging schedules. I had a very important meeting the morning after I received this news. My brain was pulled down two separate paths simultaneously: The first path led to focus - I had to keep it together. This was my meeting. The second path led to sadness and disbelief. How could I act as though nothing was wrong? He was my friend. To put it mildly, it was chaos. I had a bad day at work on Friday, and it was just way too much for one day...complete sensory overload.

I worked six days last week, and then drove north for the funeral with two of my best friends. We reminisced about Del, and the good times we had. We talked about our regret for having not seen him in such a long time. We pondered these things in silence at some points, too. I also had to formulate my plan of attack in regards to supporting Mr. Chicken Wing. This was very hard for him, because he knew Del longer than me, of course. It was also so hard because this was his first time losing a peer. Unfortunately, I've had quite a bit more experience in this area, so I knew how I would handle it. I didn't know what Mr. Chicken Wing would feel, or how he would react. I just knew I wanted to be there for him. I also knew I wanted to give him a huge hug.

The services were nice, and it was so good to see so many friends that I had been missing so much. Most of them, I had missed even more than I realized. The only thing missing was Del. Usually, when we all hung out, he was there, too. I think we all had to come to terms with the fact that it could never be that way again - it could never be like it was in the good ole days. I saw a friend of ours named Kyle, and that was especially difficult for me. You see, I have never known Kyle without Del. I met them together, and when they came back to visit the rest of us at college, they always came together. While they were equally fabulous individuals, they had always been a package deal in my eyes, and seeing Kyle without Del just felt so wrong. It broke my heart. It caused me to break down.

It also sent a wave of revitalization through the masses of our college friends. The days following were filled with messages of hope and of determination to live life to the fullest. We had to do that. We needed to do that in Del's honor. That's how he lived his life, and that's how we wanted to live, too. We were all determined not to let life get in the way of communicating with one another. Del brought us together in life. He brought us together in his death, too.

So, while I know none of us will ever be over this, sometimes it takes something like this to make you take a step back and appreciate all you have in your life. It makes you notice the smell of freshly cut grass or the sight of a perfect sunset. It makes you hold on to those closest to you just a little bit tighter. It reminds you that you have something else to look forward to once we all get to heaven if we do. That's when we'll have the biggest family reunion of all.

The friend I received "the call" from, Del, and Miss Chicken Wing

The fraternity brothers at two of my best friends' wedding...the bride, groom, and I rode up to the funeral services together. Can you spot Mr. Chicken Wing?

So, I once again want to apologize for the super light posting recently. I try not to let myself get so overwhelmed that the cell phone (aka Miss Chicken Wing) has to shut down. I plan to start picking myself back up here in the coming days. I know that when I finally catch up on my sleep that things will be better.

For now, my only constant thought is just, "remember to breathe."

Until next time,
Miss Chicken Wing

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