Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Practice Makes Puddles

First off, I will post this after it airs, but right now I am gearing up for crying my face off tomorrow night. Tomorrow is the last episode of Deadliest Catch that Captain Phil Harris will be on.

Confused? Sorry, you either know what I’m talking about, or you don’t. Okay, nutshell: Deadliest Catch is the show on Discovery about crab fishing in the Bering Sea. Captain Phil is the dirty pirate who runs the Cornelia Marie. He has a couple dirty pirate sons who we have always liked, but are now simply beloved to us. This was a rough season for the captains and the crews  for a lot of reasons, but for us, the audience, it was rough because going into it we already knew that Captain Phil died before the season aired. And we knew it would be on the show.

That episode is tomorrow.

I’m not going to try and explain the face crying stuff, or why we love him, or how tricky it’s been watching Sig and Edgar stop the constant bickering because they have simply stopped talking, or watching all our captains get old before their time, or watch a son tell his father he’s an addict, or how hard it is to comprehend Jonathan and Andy retiring… that’s the stuff you either know or you don’t. But I will tell you something I think about a lot lately and that I will probably disagree with myself on later in my life.

Practicing grief is important.

Oh yeah, and getting older and wiser sucks.

I was singing bluegrass death songs before I had a clue how painful they actually are. I am so glad I was singing those songs before I understood them! I’m glad I have them. I’m glad they were part of the netting that catches grief in my world, the awareness that I am singing songs written  by people struck with grief by the loss of a loved one, when by the time I am singing it, they have been gone for years themselves.

I don’t know what it all means, I certainly don’t know the meaning of life, but I know that whether or not this life is all there is, it is a sacred thing to grieve. And I believe it’s not as important that I am able to believe in a Savior or a Force in the Universe that is invested in us, as it is simply important that they exist. I said to a friend the other day that I think I came to earth to get lost and found a lot.

Grief changes you, rends you, takes your legs and your breath. When it is your very own grief, it is even worse than that. Then, eventually, you find new legs and new breath your path takes a new shape. You can never have your first legs back, and your old breath is gone, but these legs? And this breath? You find a way to make it work, and soon enough you will run again in a new way, too.

I’m telling you this because as tomorrow draws closer, and I wonder again why I am doing this to myself, I remember the conversations I have had with some of my amazing friends in the last month. Friends who have been through the emotional meat grinder. I think about how, at the same time as all that, we have been watching the season of deadliest catch when Phil dies, and how in my book poor Jane Eyre is standing in the attic with the man she was about to marry and beholding his crazed and secret first wife. Or having to call the ambulance for Alice last week, don’t ask, she’s fine, it was AWFUL.

The point is, in all it’s shapes and sizes, we have to practice or one day something will happen that will destroy us. We say, ‘I could never handle what that person did.’ But they did. And so could you. And because you got to watch, next time grief hits you, maybe you’ll pull on that memory for strength. Shared grief, sad stupid movie grief, secret grief, reality tv grief. Hey, when it’s a thing worth crying over, I say go for it.

Except skip your local nightly news, that stuff is just morbid.

… … … … … … … …

Okay, so it’s the day after the show and I’ve been marinating on this post since I started it. We watched the episode live last night when it aired because, even though we tivo a lot of things, every once in a while I like to experience things when I know other people are too. I like the idea of the energy of hundreds of thousands of people going into the universe at the same time for the captains, and the sons, and the man himself. And I like my tears and energy to be with them. Then I marinated some more this morning. Here is what I have to say.

Maybe, like me, sometimes you believe in a God and Master Plan. I really do think that plan includes a series of griefs that prepare you for other griefs. Losing beloved pets, getting dumped by a boyfriend, a friend of a friend dying tragically in highschool, maybe a miscarraige, seeing a dead body for the first time, surviving or witnessing a car accident and never being the same… of course the list goes on and on, and you can’t LIVE in that dark place all the time, but I think these experiences are part of the plan.

And they are the things that make the joy more genuine and the fear more chilling and the life more valuable.

Not to get all churchy on you, but never interrupted happiness was not the plan of the good guy. The other guy wanted us to live in ignorant happy bliss forever. I don’t think that’s a Mormon thing, that’s a general bible understanding, right? Lucifer was an angel that fell because he wanted to skip earth and just chill in heaven forever? Wow, I hope I’m not exposing how my ADD didn’t just distract me from algebra. Anyway, that is my understanding, and at this moment when I feel torn up over this, that, and the other (poor Jane Eyre), I get this calm power from the idea that we came here for this. And today I am lucky that I got to watch the crab fishermen for years before this season that got so real, that has shared so much with me, that let me witness the sacred grieving of regular men who do extraordinary things.

And after last night, Captain Phil, I now know you were so much cooler than I ever thought. Birdhouses, really?!  And I was proud to dance with Jon like a loon in my living room when they brought the jazz marching band out on the main street of New Orleans for you.  God Bless you. God Bless your boys. And God Bless the fishermen.

And God, please help them all quit smoking, I can’t lose any more of my captains this way.  Amen15033_00321-1024x681

1 comment:

colorful moments said...

Thanks my friend for grieving with me. Blessed are those that morn with those that morn. What a comfort it is to know that you are not going through life alone. I am blessed to have friends like you. And so are the fishermen:)