Thursday, May 05, 2005

Perfect Timing

While talking with Angelique, I asked her a barrage of questions about my flowers and overnight package. She simply didn't know. It seemed selfish, but I needed to know that Mrs Yalda knew she was in my thoughts and waking memories.

I decided to call the attending nurse at Riverbend. She didn't know about the flowers, so she put me on hold. As I waited, eventually, the call got dropped.

Pushing redial, I decided to talk with the receptionist at the desk because they sign for everything, including my flowers and package. The receptionist pushed my call to the 'activities' center. Mia picked up my call and assured me that she received the packaged, opened it and read everything inside. She asked me about the calligraphy, she talked about the Christmas card and the Valentines Card. She said she read the letter to her. As she opened the contents and showed them to her, Mrs Yalda acknowledged everything she saw. As Mia told me this, my eyes began to well and I began to lose composure. She told me everything I needed to hear and I thanked her for all that she did.

I'm taking a giant leap here, but I'm thinking that my sense of urgency and the sway between having the package arrive before 10:30 or in the afternoon was insightful. Moreover, I think that Mrs Yalda was waiting to hear from me before she said goodbye to the world. I'm thinking for one small brief moment, me and my art mattered.

Deadline Duo

This morning I awoke with red, puffy eyes -as though I had been crying heavily. Andrew and I had a fine evening last night as there really wasn't any overt emotional crisis -unless you count my concern for Her.

It was about 1:40 this afternoon when I decided to shower. I was at a stopping point and I was getting hungry. Thoughts of her began to swarm, so I acquiest to grabbing a protein bar from the pantry; I couldn't manage anything else.

God, I hoped someone had read my letter to Her and showed her the greeting cards I had made for her.

You know when people talk about loved ones appearing as they die? It never happened for me. But one thing that kept resonating the last 24 hours and that was to get the overnight package to her with the letter because I knew that timing issues would not allow Him to read the same note I attached to his email.

Thank God for UPS.

With a half-eaten protein bar, I turned on the water for the shower. As I showered, I thought of the ways people are told about death. I imagined feeling her leave the Earth and being cognizant of her departure. I imagined her ghostly stance among the crowd at the SURTEX booth with pride and enveloping warmth. I imagined receiving a call an hour later acknowledging her death. I imagined having to reveal this to Andrew as we stood among buyers in our booth. I imagined an overwhelming scent of roses in the booth.

1 An hour after my shower, Angelique called. Mrs. Yalda passed away.
2 One day when Andrew ran an errand during our stint at Surtex, he returned with a bag full of goodies. An overwhelming scent of roses filled the air as he claimed that the Chinese women forced him to take these scented soaps as a freebie for his purchase.
3 My lucid dreaming kept taking me to the lower level (main hub of Surtex) of the Javit's Center, not upstairs where my rented space was in the sunshine. This week, I got a call to move my booth to the main hub of Surtex -we took it.


I awoke with the anticipation of tracking the UPS package and the flowers. They indeed arrive at 10:10 and 10:48 respectively. Deep sigh of relief. Now, I still hoped that someone at the home at the sense of urgency to open the package and reveal the contents. Further, I wanted 'the letter' read to her.

He had responded to my email I wrote last night. He was surpised that the staff was as tight lipped as they were. Surprise, surprise. I wrote him back asking him not to turn her case into another Terri Schiavo. After her issues with diabetes, being overweight, her heart attacks, the death of her dog and her husband last year, and the fact that she conceded to give her house to the kids, she had finished her work. I had asked him to be aware of that because she had no more concerns with life in general.

I continued to work feveriously on my illustrations as I was so far behind on the series and SURTEX is only next week. I still have yet to stylize them, put them into layout compositions for each page and create suggested prototypes for them. I managed to finish inking the gardening, topiaries, and patio for scanning.

The Calling of My Name

For the past several days after hearing she had been moved to an assisted care facility, I wanted to call. I didn't have the number but that was no excuse, Google works for every person. Perhaps I didn't want to hear the worst.

I called Riverbend to learn that I was not on the 'need to know' basis as I had requested long ago. I told the attending nurse that I wanted to know of her condition but she was bound by law not to divulge. Am I family? How does one define family? If anyone knew me, they would know that family is not only defined by blood, but also by choice.

Earlier yesterday, I was still snoozing as I often do for about an hour after Andrew rises each morning. I am also up later than he and require more sleep. He shuffles out of the bedroom, preventing the cats from racing in to pounce on me and routinely annoy me by scratching at my head buried under the sheets. I could hear some add'l activity but the sheets muffled my ears so my brain couldn't decipher the noise.

Clearly I heard my name. The calling of my name was crystal clear but I couldn't remember by what name I was called. Andrew and I have nicknames for each other (Punkin and Muffin thanks to Pulp Fiction) and I've grown up with several nicknames as a kid. My brain heard all of them simulatenously and clear as a bell. I still couldn't tell if the voice(s) I heard calling me was male or female, but I assumed it was Andrew. The summond sounded intense, hurried, and desperate.

I called out to respond, but no answer.

Minutes later, when I finally slipped out of bed, I found Andrew standing near the sink pouring me a cup of coffee. I asked him why he called me but he insisted he did not.

Later in the day, when I returned from the post office dropping off 120 pieces for my SURTEX mailing, there was a pull, a tug like someone was either grabbing my sternum and walking me toward my PC I have dedicated as my mail machine or pushing me toward it. I realized I was Googling the number for Riverbend so that I could finally call her.

As I spoke to the attending nurse, I understood the 'bound by law' and confidentiality for family, but I thought Steve has the sense to put me on the freakin 'need to know' list as I requested several months ago. Musta slipped his mind. The nurse encouraged me to visit as she indicated all family members do because she wasn't doing well.

Wasn't doing well?

There wasn't more she could say so I resolved to hang up because it made no sense to harrass her -she was 'bound by law.'

Within the next hour, I cried, I reminist, I pondered, and I decided to act by calling back the nurse to see if She could receive flowers. I was reminded the facility was much like a hospital except they didn't have TV or a phone and she indeed could receive flowers. I asked the nurse again about what she meant when she said the She wasn't doing well. She said it wasn't imminent, but she could go either way.

Imminent. Either way? Now that's vague and strong.

She also said that after my first call, she ran into Her room to tell her Brat called. Evidently, upon hearing that, her spirit picked up with recognition. I asked her if She was cogent and the nurse indicated that Her eyes would open when someone entered the room.

I found proflowers and bought two dozen assorted roses for her to at least smell if she couldn't see. I just didn't know her situation because I wasn't being told a damn thing. The roses were being sent overnight and anticipated arrival the next morning.

Knowing the flowers were being delivered, I quickly put an overnight package together that contained a belated Christmas Card, a St. Valentine's Day Card, a mother's day card and a letter. The letter was a quick and dirty stationery filled with most of the illustrations I was creating for SURTEX so that she could see what I've been doing with my days and inspirations as a successful artist. The letter was to remind her how much her love, guidance, patience and belief in me meant over the past 24 years. I hoped that someone in the home had the sense of urgency to open it and reveal all of the goodies to her and read the letter. I hoped the package would be received in time.