Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Words, Like Silent Raindrops Fell

I've been thinking about how to write this post for a couple of days now, and I'm still not sure I'm going to do it right. But like everything else in life, you just need to jump in, so I will.

Over the past year, I have heard the same refrain over and over again: "Just relax and enjoy this time", "It will go by so quickly," and most frequently, "In the scheme of things, all the little details aren't important."

I hate when people say that to me.

I would love nothing more than to relax. I would relish the opportunity to not stress. I wish I could heed that advice, but my brain truly won't comprehend it. I just can't, no matter how hard I try, let all the little things go. I try to tell myself that I don't need to create menus (and, intellectually I really know that I don't) but I can't just not do them. I don't know why; it must be the way I'm hardwired (which is apparently with the red and blue wires crossed so that I could blow up at any second).

But this past weekend I actually experienced something that put things more into perspective than all of the advice in the world. It's one thing for someone to tell you that "it's not a big deal in the scheme of things" and it's a whole other to see why it isn't.

On Saturday, my Mom and I were well into Wedding Trial Weekend when we went to the salon where I was to have my makeup trial. I was clutching my file of "wedding makeup looks" which the Makeup Artist suggesting I bring along with me. I was also psyched because the Makeup Artist had told me that she would do my trial for free. (For FREE? This is unheard of in the wedding industry! Even the bridal shows charge a price for tickets. Cake tastings come with the burden of a commitment to order a full cake for $600 and the trial for my hair cost the same amount that my hair will cost the day of my wedding.)

We walked into the salon and I breathed in the wonderfully relaxing smell of eucalyptus (the salon also happens to be a great spa). We sauntered up to the check in desk and mentioned that we were there to see Makeup Artist and we had a 1:30 appointment.

Her eyes widened in surprise and she became silent.

My Mom and I looked at each other.

The receptionist began to speak slowly. "You didn't hear? ... Makeup Artist passed away two weeks ago."

My mouth dropped open and my stomach dipped. I conjured up Makeup Artist's face in my mind - she was a young woman - I was sure of it. Perhaps there was some mistake?

"What...what happened? Are we talking about Makeup Artist? I thought she was young...." I trailed off.

The receptionist's eyes filled with tears. "She was. She was only thirty-two. She died suddenly of an aneurysm the day after Christmas. She left an eleven year old son."

Thirty two. Exactly my age.

My heart started beating more quickly and I started to sweat. I had a lump in my throat that was making it hard to breathe, but I had no right for such sadness - I barely spoke with the woman for more than ten minutes.

I suddenly thought of the phone message I had left last week on her cellphone, reminding her of our appointment. It occurred to me that when I left the message, she was no longer even living. Did her husband watch the cellphone ring and ring, but couldn't bring himself to answer it? It was too horrible to imagine.

We excused ourselves from the salon and sat in the car in silence. I'm not a religious person at all, but I counted my blessings.

Do my parents drive me up a wall? Yes. Am I lucky to have two loving parents? Yes.

Do I think about hitting Mr F over the head with a frying pan at times? Yes. But I'm lucky I will have the chance to walk down that aisle and see him waiting for me at the end of it.

Will I continue to obsess over the little details of this wedding in light of what happened? To be honest with myself, probably yes.

But will I keep the image of this young woman, snatched away from life at the same age I am today, tucked into the corner of my consciousness, ready for recall when I start to dwell on the superficial? Yes. Truly, I will.

When I got home that night, I opened my wallet and pulled out the business card that Erin had given me when we met in mid-December. After a fun conversation about how much we both loved makeup, she scribbled her name and cellphone on the reverse side and the words "free makeup consult" on the front.

As the tragedy of it all bounced around my head, I walked over to the garbage, ready to toss it in. But I decided to keep it.

I placed the card back in my wallet.




Krista said...

Oh ... how awful. You didn't know her, but she touched your life ina small way. And you do have a right to mourn someone you barely knew.

Authentically U - Bride said...

Wow! Life is so precious! We should all be grateful for each day. and I agree with Krista, you have the right to mourn.

nadia said...

i've been reading your blog for a while but not commented til now. so sad when someone so young is snatched away. A spooky young death thing happened to me too while planning my wedding. The day i went in for my hair trial the hairdressers best mate died suddenly. He was 32. My hairdresser was in pieces bless him.
And, when a bride i knew went in to collect her jewllery she found out the girl making her jewellery for her was terminally ill and had months to live.
I guess there's nothing spooky about it really but it just makes it hit home.

ChendaBride said...


Just came across your blog today. What a way to gain some perspective huh? It's so sad. Good luck with the rest of your planning. I couldn't agree more with you about not finding it helpful when people tell you to relax, but it's also good to have a larger view of all these things.

Smomo said...

I love to read your blog as it keeps me grounded - especially when I read something like this. Wow, way to get things in perspective