The sewage ejection pump in my house failed. It’s leaking all over the basement.
What is a sewage ejection pump, you ask? Good question.
Answer: If your house has one, it’s the very most important appliance in the world. It takes all the waste water from the house – water from the washing machine, the dishwasher, the showers, the toilets – and pumps it up into the city sewer line.
Mine isn’t pumping into the sewer, it’s pouring out the top. Process that a minute.
I was so excited to move into this house. It has not one, but THREE toilets, plus FIVE bathroom sinks, and TWO showers. Today we can use none of them because every bit of water (or whatever) down the drain ends up as a slurry on my rec room floor. I’d show you a picture, but I’m kind.
I’m embarrassed to say that it took a couple of days for us to figure out there was a problem. We thought a mouse had died in the walls. By day two the smell was bigger than a mouse. Thousands of dollars bigger.
Sewage ejection pumps happen to be one of the few things are not covered by home warranties or homeowners insurance. And trust me when I say, cleaning up that kind of mess is NOT a DIY project. Goodbye carpet. Goodbye sheetrock. Goodbye boxes of memorabilia we stored down there. Gives a whole new meaning to “all that shit in the basement.”
Couple the sewage disaster with the fact that my husband is still unemployed and well, you get the picture.
Except you don’t.
Because about the same time that I was discovering that my basement was covered in two inches of sewage, a sweet friend of mine, a mother of children the same age as my own, passed away after a four year battle with cancer.
If it seems that I write a lot about people dying, it’s because it keeps happening. For many in my circle, this will make the third friend’s funeral in the last twelve months. I’m thirty-nine years old. It isn’t fair. There is something seriously fucked-up with a world that keeps snatching our kindest, gentlest, most magical mamas and papas right when their families need them the most.
I could go on for days about guilt and regret and the importance of showing up even if you come empty-handed and broken-hearted. I could yammer about toeing the line between being supportive and being intrusive. Ask, like so many others have, what you are supposed to say if, “Get well soon,” is off the table.
Those things are worth exploring. And I’ve had plenty of opportunities to explore them. The lessons keep coming and I keep failing to learn.
I could tell you all about my friend, what a tender, beautiful, humble soul she was. How much she loved her husband and her children. How hard and gracefully she fought; every awful thing she endured to try to buy more time. But I can’t make you know her, and not one word can change one damn thing.
I know loss is part of life.
I know that no one has a manual on adulting.
I know we’re all here to be as kind to each other and ourselves as we possibly can, and make the most of each day we’re given. But besides that, I’ve got pretty much nothing.
Except this: I know for absolute certain that life is way too short to cry about shit in the basement.