I remember Mom saying she wanted “I told you I was sick!” as her epitaph. She looked so healthy, at least until she started having chemo, that she had trouble convincing people she was dying of cancer. (I recall her doctor was one of those people.)
Epitaph writing is a vastly underrated art — think of it! (Maybe that’s why so many folks get cremated these days. Hmm.) You get a couple of lines at most, depending on how many words you can afford to have etched into your granite. Like the telegrapher in Three Amigos, I’m afraid I’d have to have the “two-peso version,” the one capable of being completely misunderstood. I’m fortunate to have friends and family more intelligent than the dim-witted Amigos, but think of the passersby on any given day! Scorpios at a loose end, wandering through graveyards, looking for epitaphs to use in their next cheery blog. I want to be sure everyone understands the cryptic phrase I choose for my plastic tombstone.
Now, why all this talk about epitaphs (not that Scorpios need any reason to talk about things death-related)? Well, yesterday at work, as I sat facing all these invitations to be sent out for next week’s do, and the piles of paperwork from the last one, and the general state of disaster prevailing there, I realized I did not want to be there any more. I mean, really — not in that office, not in that job, a-n-y-m-o-r-e. A knock came to my door (I had shut it, in self-defense), and there stood my friend Bahar.
“Do you need help?”
At that, of course, I burst into tears, saying “I just realized I sure don’t want to die doing this!!!!” And she said, “Jen, just leave it! Why are you still here?” I mumbled something about my co-worker being away, and who would do all this, and people were depending on me…blah, blah, blah. She shared her feeling at the time of a recent car accident, on the order of knowing she had to go sometime, but Lord! don’t let her die in a cornfield in Illinois. Though I totally empathized, and though I know I would urge other people to leave a job smack-dab in the middle of it, to choose life instead of stress, I couldn’t do it. I stayed, in fact, until nearly 7 p.m.
Crazy! What’s wrong with me? Please note that I am a mere grad assist, a dogsbody, doing a job any number of people could do. Why am I playing the martyr? And this morning, getting out of bed, the epiphany came. I realized that my co-worker not being there was a great opportunity for me to choose positively for myself, to choose to walk out of that job, and let others do those things. Who knows? By staying, I may be denying someone else the opportunity to work.
I’ve got some personal things in the office, so I will return to get them, and I’ll put the papers in piles that make sense, and I’ll send the handful of lingering invites out, but then I’m going.
And I’m not going to do it today. I have bills to not pay, and papers to not do, and obligations to not fulfill! Yes, I’m letting people down. Will they recover? Yes, they will. Will they insist on “SHE LEFT US IN THE LURCH” as my epitaph? I doubt it.
It won’t fit on that teeny cross anyway.