Monday, May 18, 2009

In a Sad Sort of Way...

This week's life is funny post is not funny ha ha. It isn't even funny strange. It is funny the way Woody Allen is funny, meaning not really. Yeah, can you tell I am not a fan? Still, it's what I got this week, so I'll share. Keep in mind, if my story makes you feel the same way it makes me feel, you'll be bawlin' your eyes out and cursing me, not laughing, so feel free to comment "Hope you feel better, Helen dear..." without actually reading. Wendy hon, if you want to disqualify me from life is funny this week due to this post, let me know, and I will take down the button and take and post a picture of myself hanging my head in shame.
Rewind life to about five years ago. Picture in your heads a lovely two bedroom, third floor apartment where a High School graduation party for a younger daughter is about to be held. I am at the door, and the elder daughter opens it.

HRM: Hi Elizabeth! Great haircut! (Elizabeth's former blonde, shoulder length hair is now pitch black, and very short).
Elizabeth: Thanks!
HRM: You went a little darker.
Elizabeth: (mischievous smile) Too dark?
HRM: Nah! Looks very natural. I have a cousin who dyed her blonde hair black, and it doesn't look so natural. Your stylist did right by you.
Elizabeth: (still mischievously smiling) So you like it?
HRM: Well, besides the fact that it reminds me that I am ancient (I taught her when she was a third grader, and here she is twenty years old), and making me feel like I should be using a walker, calling people dearie, and asking if it is time for my meds yet, yeah I like it. How did you get supermodel sophisticated before I finished growing up myself?
Elizabeth: (laughter that sounds like a tinkling bell. No not giggling. Truly lady-like laughter which she never learned from me...) Mom and everyone are in the dining room. Can I get you anything?
HRM: No thank you. Not yet.

I proceed to the dining room table and chit chat with a bunch of people, as happens at parties. At this party are neighbors and some of Hannah's (the graduate) and Elizabeth's former teachers. Her mom was a teacher at the same school, so we remained close with the kids, even after they left Elementary School. We laugh and talk. Elizabeth and I chat some more.

Elizabeth: I am thinking about becoming a Physical Therapist instead of a doctor.
HRM: Good for you!
Elizabeth: You aren't disappointed?
HRM; Are you kidding? Physical Therapists do wonders in helping patients become mobile after surgery and accidents and atrophy! If that's where you are called, I wish you well.
Elizabeth: You know, I had considered becoming a missionary. This could interfere with those plans.
HRM: Nonsense! I have a friend who is a missionary to Bangladesh, and he teaches English some of the time, and does construction work some of the time. You never know what they need. Do what you have to do, apply when the time comes, and see what happens.
Elizabeth: So you think it could still work out?
HRM: It could. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. You can't force things though. You just have to trust God to work it all out for the best in the end.
Elizabeth: (sweet smile) Thanks..

And onto more chit chat and conversation with graduate, the mom, neighbors, and stuff. The neighbors leave.

Hannah: That was nice of everyone to come.
The Mom: Yes, it was...
Elizabeth: It's hard being around the kids though. I know they can't help it, but they still introduce me to their friends as "My friend with cancer...
(My mouth drops open...I cover it...I had forgotten this whole time, and am completely horrified.
HRM: Elizabeth, I'm sorry. I don't know how I could forget. I bend God's ear all morning praying for you, how can I just see you and forget....
Elizabeth: It's okay Mr. M. (She never would call me Helen, no matter how friendly we were).
HRM: And all that talk about your hair...
Elizabeth: It's okay. It was nice being a girl with a short hair cut for a while instead of a cancer patient.

Such grace. I could learn a lot from her, if she was still around to teach me. This month is the second anniversary of her passing to be with the Lord. May sucks. I told you it wasn't a funny ha ha. Sorry folks. I can only give what I have, and this week, this is what I have.
But since you stuck with me this long, I think I'll share a joke with you that Elizabeth shared with me, possibly at the same party. I think it's a riot. It has become one of my favorites.

One night a burglar breaks into a house as its owners are asleep. He's lifting the TV to put in his bag when he hears a voice say, "Jesus is watching you."
The startled burglar flashes his light all over the room, but he can't find the source of the voice. He chalks it up to nerves and carries on. As he is disconnecting the stereo wires, he hears it again. "Jesus is watching you."
He looks around the room again, and spots a parrot sitting in the corner. "Did you say that?" he asks.
"Yup," the parrot admits," I was just trying to warn you, Jesus is watching."
"Pttt!" the burglar snorts. "Who are you, to warn me?!"
"Well," the parrot says, "My name is Moses."
"Moses! What kind of people name a parrot Moses?"
"Probably the same kind who name a Rottweiler Jesus."


katdish said...

Oh, Helen. So sorry. May must really suck for you. But that was a fantastic post, and a great joke!

Candace Jean July 16 said...

HRM's foot in her mouth - funny.
Joke - funny.
Elizabeth - grace, poise, and beauty.
See, I found the funny.

I had a dear friend who lost her hair from chemo and one year she donned a garbage bag, painted "Ban" on the front, and went to a Halloween party as a bottle of roll-on deodorant. Now that was funny. Cancer teaches you lots of things, and for some, it's how to handle grief with humor. See, I found more funny!

Billy Coffey said...


Amazing story. And hey, I learn a lot by making an idiot of myself on a daily basis. You get used to it.

Beth said...

Wow, what a lady. Thanks for sharing that, Helen, even though I'm sure it's hard to do.

In college my sister shaved her head ON PURPOSE. People in her church choir thought she had cancer. She was so embarrassed that she didn't! She was just being her unique self... but she grew her hair back. Oops.

Jaime (ChaseNKids) said...

At least it made great blog fodder... right?


Wendy said...

Now why on earth would I want you to take down my button? Don't make me shake my finger at you, young lady! It was a great post. I'm sorry that you all had to lose her. Cancer sucks. Isn't it wonderful that you got to spend some years with her before she went home?

jasonS said...

Funny or not- a great story that keeps her memory alive. I know she's gone and that's very sad, but it was somehow very heartwarming to me so thanks.

I've heard that joke before and it is great. I've tried to tell it as well, but I'm terrible at joke-telling. I always forget parts...

sherri said...

Helen- this is a beautiful tribute to your former student and friend. I know this is a sad time for you. The post was lovely. ANd even in your sadness you've managed to make me smile.

Gabrielle Eden said...

Great joke! Great story!