I've been home sick with a bladder infection since Wednesday. It's one of the realities of life with catheters. I've slept all day. When I'm sick, I sleep hard, oblivious to the things unfolding around me.
Take yesterday for instance. We'd gotten up early to run to the drugstore. I slept in the car while Tony drove and ran in to pick up the scripts. We came back and I laid back down on the bed (freshly made by the sweet husband person) and slept some more. He didn't even complain that I wrinkled the bed spread. He's a good egg.
Tony says he woke me up before he left for work, but I don't remember it. My first awareness of a world outside of dreamland was a sharp Doxie bark in my ear. She's wonderful for cuddly sleeping when I'm sick or while reading a book. She's the best until she's tired of being on the big bed or of sitting still. Then, the barking starts. She climbed up on my shoulder put her little snout right in my ear and barked. Apparently she was hungry, thirsty AND needed to go out.
This sleeping hard thing is a recurring theme of my life. We have family pictures of me asleep after holiday meals in the most awkward of situations and positions. When I was in college, a group of my friends waited for me to fall asleep on a couch and then carried the couch all around the campus quad until they found the perfect spot for it and left me there until I woke up the next morning. My husband has learned not to count on me for navigational help since I'm always asleep before we ever leave the District.
The sleep is refreshing and comforting, but I miss things as a result. I've apparently missed out on heated family discussions, loud Scrabble games, entire sporting events, movies, sermons (yes, I admit it...I've slept in church!), and all sorts of beautiful scenery along the side of the road.
Yesterday while I was sleeping all sorts of things happened. Legislation was debated less than a mile from here. People's futures were decided based on votes on said legislation. Dogs were walked. Babies were born. Tears were shed. Laughter was heard. Games were played.
Yesterday while I was sleeping, America...and the world...lost two pop icons. This morning, it was announced that Farrah Fawcett lost her lengthy battle with cancer. This afternoon, right around rush hour here on the East Coast, Michael Jackson died of an apparent heart attack.
I was in middle school when the Farrah look became popular. I, like every other middle school girl, begged for the LOOK that would define hair styles for a generation or more. My hair was duly cut by my best friend's Mom and I learned to fix it in the "winged" style.
I wonder if the hair spray industry sponsored Farrah's career? They certainly profited from it. My love affair with hair spray came to a screeching halt not long after college graduation. My hair was big enough on its own, thank you, without the added laquer to make it JUMBO. It took me a little longer to get over my perm fixation, but I digress....
The first time I remember being aware of Michael Jackson was in the 8th grade when I heard him being discussed in very hushed yet awed tones during lunch at the private Christian school I attended. We'd all signed contracts that we'd not listen to "that" type of music so I was floored by the audacity of the girls around me to even mention anything that wasn't on the approved list. I, after all, was a champ at sticking to the approved list. I sat there with my Farrah hair and wondered who this marvel of falsetto and fabulous dance moves might be all the while wearing a scowl of disapproval.
By the time I reached high school & then college, I'd outgrown my self righteousness to a point of being able to enjoy the Jackson 5 and Michael himself. While I didn't own a red leather jacket with mesh trim, I had a ton of friends who did. We all wore a glove on one hand (I wore one on both hands, but they were at least different colors so I sort of fit in) and my nephew was a champ at the moon walk.
Farrah Fawcett encouraged me with her bravery in the face of that horrible thing called cancer as well as her willingness to face it honestly and transparently. She inspired me with her beauty and willingness to chase her dreams. She was willing to allow herself to be seen as a real person with real suffering...to be a living Velveteen Rabbit.
Michael Jackson sang songs that I associate with many of my most treasured memories. I vividly remember my friends recreating the moves from Thriller at a dance after a basketball game during my senior year in HS. I remember the searing indignation I felt after being "dissed" by a boy upon whom I had a major crush that was underscored by the lyrics of Say, Say, Say. I remember swaying to We Are the World with my fellow summer missionaries at our commissioning ceremony at Georgetown College. I remember knowing with certainty after hearing Man in the Mirror for the first time that I'd always think of it as a secular hymn about generosity and caring about those around you...about living out the Gospel. I remember dancing with one of the best boyfriends ever to I'll Be There (Mariah Carey's recording of Michael's song) and thinking that no one had ever been more in love. He's married to someone else now, which I'm sure makes my husband, the real love of my life, very happy.
Michael Jackson, while a musical genius, is also one of the most tragic figures of pop culture. I truly believe that his odd life style hallmarked by the surroundings at Neverland Ranch were the cries of a broken hearted little boy who was exploited by his father and never knew what it was to be loved simply for himself. Hopefully the parents of today's child actors and singers will figure out that their egos are less important than the happiness, success and normal development of their children. I have to wonder what his father must be thinking now. I can bet he isn't wishing he'd cut a better deal on the recording contracts.
Farrah Fawcett, while beautiful and inspiring, also struggled with being loved for herself. It took her being on her deathbed for the man she loved to propose to her. I can't imagine how that must have felt. The message: don't wait until the last minute to commit, to express your love, to live a life with the person who holds your heart. You never know when the last minute will be irrevocably gone.
Life in the fish bowl of celebrity is hard.
Life lived with a great talent is exhausting.
Life without God is a constant search for meaning.
While I was sleeping, life was happening.