Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Monday, Monday, can't trust that day

Monday, Monday, can't trust that day
Monday, Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way
Oh Monday mornin' you gave me no warnin' of what was to be
~ Mamas and the Papas

Yesterday started out well enough. Yes, Andrew and I argued about whose turn it was to take Willow to school and it was so frakin' freezing outside that my tires went thunk-thunk-thunk for the first few hundred yards on the road. It didn't seem like a bad day.

I arrived at work and Andrew called to say Willow's school bag had been in my car, not his, so I would need to drop it off at her school sometime that morning. My morning meetings finished around 10am and I left to bring Willow her bag. I returned to the office about 10 minutes later, and while I was taking off my coat, my co-worker Ruth told me that our entire group had been pulled into a meeting to let them know our previous manager had died of cancer the night before.

We knew Esther had been sick - in fact, she had been out of the office since last spring recuperating - but it was still a shock. Esther had hired me into my present group back in 2003 - I started out as a temp employee. She was a champion for those she saw promise in, and before long she convinced me to apply for a permanent (and higher level) position within the group. Esther was a character - she was a lady. In the nearly 4 years I knew her, I do not believe I ever saw her without make-up on - especially red lipstick. She never wanted anyone to see her looking casual; I remember a photo had been taken of her at a team-building event wearing sneakers and she stole the picture and ripped it up so no one could see her wear sneakers. She unabashedly told people that she had a big fancy kitchen and yet had never turned the oven on. I asked her once what her husband thought about that - her response was that he knew what he was getting into when he married her. People referred to her as "The Queen" and she liked that.

Esther did not have children of her own, but she loved and indulged other people's children, especially little girls - especially my daughter. Courtesy of Esther, my daughter had clothes from Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus before I had ever even stepped into one of these stores! Willow has since grown out of these fancy togs, but still one of her favourite stuffed animals is a soft yellow duck that she lovingly calls "Esther Duck."

Willow still asks about Esther, even though Esther hasn't been in my group since 2005, so I felt I had to tell her that Esther had passed away. I hadn't reacted until that moment. It seemed a little unreal at work, perhaps because I had been informed by one person rather than hearing it as a part of a group. With Willow's first question, "What is cancer?" I broke down. Esther is the first person Willow has known who has died and I don't know how real it is to her.

I was a wreck for the rest of the night. Andrew came home early and I spent the rest of the night weepy and pensive in turns. I thought about how I didn't mail her Christmas card to her house - I left it in her office mail, assuming that someone would come pick up her stuff. No one did and the card is still in that pile of mail.

I stayed up after Andrew and Willow had gone to bed, trying to numb myself with television. My Mom called to inform me that Death wasn't finished today. One of my second cousins and his girlfriend had been killed in a car accident that morning. They were crossing at a crosswalk, walked in front of a stopped bus and a car in the next lane ran them down. They were killed instantly.

Monday, Monday, can't trust that day

6 comments:

Bezzie said...

Oh hon, that's just simply awful!

I have chills about your second cousin...I walked home today and had to dodge a car that I wasn't sure would stop when passing a bus stopped at a light.

Hugs to you and your family and Esther's of course.

Jeanne said...

I am so terribly sorry. How awful to hear such bad news not once but twice and to lose three important people in the span of a day. My heart goes out to you. Please accept my condolences and extend them to the appropriate parties as well.

Batty said...

Wow, that's awful. My thoughts are with you an your family -- and Esther's.

Teri said...

It's unfortunate that death is a part of life. Please don't shield Willow from it (of course, don't shove it in her face either... there's got to be a happy middle somewhere!). I had to face death at 28 (why, oh why, did I sign up to be a volunteer for the ambulance?). And I can guarantee, at 28, it's harder than at 4.

On a different note, The curse of the square, frozen tires.... Ha ha! Finally, someone (else) gets to experience this cold temperature induced automobile oddity! Good thing the RPMs make the tire warm, and return it to it's original shape :-)

turtlegirl76 said...

=( I'm so sorry. That's such a hard thing to go through. My heart goes out to you.

Woman who knits said...

I'm so sorry for your losses.