Epitaphs

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.

  2 comments for “Epitaphs

  1. April 27, 2010 at 18:15

    Oh, my dearest musing mystic. I see what you’re doing here as a fantastic way to expel some of the frustrations and inner demons you are grappling with. And this post, while frustrating to me because you stayed, is a step in the right direction. I wish you would have just walked away from it, but I know you and know that doing that is out of character. And I’d like to say that I would have just walked away, but I probably wouldn’t have. I talk a mean talk, but action is a whole different issue. And you’re right. If it would have been me, you would have told me to get the hell out of there. But most of us rarely follow our own advice, no matter how awesome it is. I wonder why we do that! You are a beautiful, amazing person, and you need to water your soul every once in awhile. I’d be happy to send you a watering can. I think I have an extra one laying around someplace. You know, one of those awesome metal ones. It has a lovely effect.

  2. April 29, 2010 at 21:33

    How lucky am I to have friends like you in my life! I want an awesome metal watering can; I know just the ones you mean. It reminds me of my grandmother, who actually used one to water her plants, not as a sort of cool flowerpot, as so many do these days. She would let me carry it around, I thought it such a privilege. It was nearly bigger than I was (I was a shrimp until I was about 18.)

    And, my dear friend, guess what? Maybe I didn’t walk away that day, but I walked away a day later. Yay, New Jen! Yay, me! If I can do it, anyone can.

    Thank you for reading my blog, and for making me feel like writing it is a good thing. I’m happy when I do, that’s for sure. Love you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: