"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Serenity Prayer

So my dear sis arrived on my doorstep last weekend, her trusty stepladder in one arm, a drop cloth and paint rollers in the other. And with the help of my dear friend and neighbor, Angie, they painted Daniel's room.

I bought the paint. Angie edged. My sister rolled.

Now, at first blush, in the bigger scheme of things (such as they are, tragically, following Daniel's accident and the death of his best friend, Casey) painting Daniel's bedroom might seem like a frivolous thing to do.

Certainly, a fresh coat of paint doesn't eliminate our grief, our loss, our mourning, our overall sense of sadness and despair. But for whatever reason, painting is what we Heise girls tend to do in the face of death and loss.

Or at least that is the conclusion I came to in the midst of this mini makeover...

Go back 40 years. Different time. Different bedroom. It's my bedroom. I am 13. My sis (Sissy, as I always called her) is 21. Our mother has just recently died. Our grandfather (our mom's dad) has just recently passed away as well. Our family is awash in grief.

One weekend, Sissy shows up with a paint brush, three colors of paint, and a crazy idea -- she wants to paint my room (then lavender) red, white and blue. One wall red. Two walls blue. And the fourth wall, red, white and blue stripes.

Who did she think I was, Betsy Ross? I dunno. She was just determined that that was what she was going to do. Something fun. A little crazy, even. Something positive and fresh in the face of adversity and sadness.

And so Sissy painted. And she painted. And she painted. And when she was finished, I had the coolest room on Buckeye Crescent. No, it didn't bring my mom or my grandfather back. But it made me smile, which was no small feat at the time.

Truly, it was an act of devoted sisterly love. I remember watching her painstakingly paint those stripes...

She had to be out of her mind...and she was. Out of her mind with love for me. She just wanted to do something, anything, to make me smile at at time when that is the last thing I felt like doing.

And that, I guess, is why we decided to paint Daniel's room. I am out of my mind with love and worry for my son. And he couldn't ask for a more loving and devoted aunt. Or a more selfless, caring neighbor.

No, painting his room doesn't bring Casey back. But it was something we could do to, hopefully, make him smile, even if ever so briefly, at a time when that is the last thing he feels like doing. And he did smile...partially, I would surmise, out of relief that I did not redo his room in a Hello Kitty motif, as I had threatened.

Nor is his room painted in red, white and blue stripes. It is done in a warm, soft, assuring blue/gray called, ironically, "Serenity Now."

And isn't that what we all are praying for?


Anonymous said...


Annie said...

Thank you, Anonymous...

Anonymous said...

Hey Annie-
drop me a line on my email...I have lost yours and wanted to touch base with you.


Annie said...

You got it, Weez! I have been thinking about you since it is state fair time...:)