Saturday, September 28, 2013

This Is How She Disappeared

My cousin died today. Or last night. Sometime between when my mom talked to her at 8:00 Eastern Time and 2:00 Central Time when her body was found, blue, on the bathroom floor.

Don't give me your condolences. I hated her.

I can't be sure, but I may have written about her before. Paulette and I have always had one of those relationships that, if it were described in a book, would read something like this: Kelly and Paulette could barely stomach the thought of being in the other's presence. They occasionally erected a facade of civility, but to be sure, there was no love lost between those two.

(I didn't say the book was well-written.)

I knew her death was coming. Not that it's so old, but she turned 72 in August, so she was getting up there, and on top of that--and way more relevant--she'd known she's had cancer since right after she turned 70 . Ovarian, I think, but since we hadn't spoken in six or seven years and all the news I knew of her was news from my mom, I can't be sure. But it was serious cancer. That I know.

I repeat: I knew her death was coming. And I also repeat: No love lost. And I won't repeat since I haven't said this yet, but when I found out she had cancer, I didn't feel bad at all. I'm not saying I was cartwheeling around my living room, but I really didn't care. Paulette had done enough bad things to me and many other people in my life for her sickness not to faze me.

It wasn't tragic.

It just



today when I was sitting at my kitchen table and my sister's phone rang and about two seconds later blurted out, Paulette's dead, her death didn't feel expected, and it didn't feel like I didn't care.

It felt like somebody who had been a part of my life for pretty much the entirety of it--albeit not in a very positive way--never would be again. Don't misunderstand me; I hadn't thought she ever would be a part of my life again, and I certainly hadn't wanted her to be a part of my life again, but her dying, well, that made it so that, no matter what, she never could be again.

As much as I didn't like her, it felt like something significant was gone.

After my immediate shock, I thought of Paulette, who has no children and no husband, no one really to call her own except maybe my mother who's been one of her best friends for their entire adult lives, dying alone in her house, and I thought of her possibly lying there, possibly unable to move, possibly knowing she was dying, not possibly, but definitely knowing she was all alone, and I thought of Paulette lying all alone, dead, on her bathroom floor for minutes or hours or half of an entire day, and let me tell you something:

It was pretty fucking tragic.

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