Why So Serious?
By hook or by crook, we find a way to laugh through the changes despite the pain and sadness they bring. Earlier today, Jill relayed an event where she rode the elevator with two guys and noticed the back of her shirt was tucked into her underwear, revealing a good two inches of whitey-tighties. Jill joked that it was for lower back support - orthopedic underwear. Shortly thereafter, Diane noticed Jill’s underwear literally swallowing half of her back yet again, capturing her shirt once more. This somehow quickly spiraled into one of our infamous impromptu dress up sessions with the only goal being to make oneself as hideously unattractive as possible. Jill tucked her black t-shirt into her green pants, slipped on a brown fleece, and donned dad’s Crocodile Dundee hat to complete the zoo-keeper “I need to clean the tiger cage” look. The hysterical laughter woke Craig and he momentarily enjoyed our playful dress up spirit - an activity he willingly participated in back in the day.
A few hours later, the sisters huddled around Craig’s bed as is customary, and giggled over melodramatic renditions of bad 80’s/90’s songs –songs that we dutifully turned into lullaby-esque/Linda Ronstadt “whisper voice” style. “She paints her eyes as black as night now; pull those shades down tight. Yeah, she gives a smile when the pain comes. The pain gonna make everything alright. Says she talks to angels, they call her out by her name…” The bed moved with our obligatory animated posturing and giggling as we transformed the Black Crowes. Jill asked Craig if he liked having his sisters giggling around him, and he said, “Yeah”. Even now, at this very vulnerable and precious time of his life, he doesn’t mind having his younger sisters around him acting silly; in fact, he yearns for it. As Jill said, “it’s neat that we are so in tune with each other that we know when to come in with a joke, that we can anticipate how Craig may be feeling.” We have such similar senses of humor that we play off each other seamlessly, trailing (or talking over) another’s sarcastic comment as if on cue. He looked at us as Mom often did, merely enjoying the company and jovial spirit, occasionally responding to something we said or did with raised eyebrows or an emphatic “yeah!”
Our singing and laughing meandered into retelling tales of our travels in Lithuania, where Diane studied abroad. I was Craig’s roommate while Jill and Diane bunked in her room upstairs. Craig and I would talk every night before finally saying our “good nights”. Every morning, I would follow Craig in our two-person shower rotation, slipping on his wet and over-sized shower shoes before shuffling down the hall towards the communal showers. (It still surprises me that “precious” actuallly relinquished ownership of his beloved shower shoes to me. I had forgotten my shoes and risked infection, gangrene, disease, sudden death if left barefoot. Ever a protective brother, and probably too grossed out to envision me barefoot in there, he offered his.) He’d tell me whether the water was hot or cold and if there was a line before sending me off. I’d return to the room some moments later to find him in the midst of his morning workout routine. Over his pushups and my moisturizing, we’d talk shop about relationships, work, and the day’s events. I’ve never had the opportunity to travel alone with Craig (without at least one of the sisters). He was to visit me in Maryland the week of Mom’s initial diagnosis; naturally, our travel plans changed to destination, Oklahoma. Though we’ve shared a lifetime of other meaningful experiences together, I can’t help but feel a small sense of loss that we never had that opportunity. But, I have Lithuania.
And, I have this day - a day of laughter and silliness by Craig’s bedside, a time where we were momentarily just siblings without the sickness.
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