September – Thank God it’s over

Kansas City – After all the fun and adventure of this past summer, you’d think I’d take this semester a bit slower, a bit quieter, to recuperate and ready myself for the coming year. But then again, I’m not that sort of person. I started the semester with a bit of a bang – one month with event after event.

First there was Irish Fest on Labour Day weekend. Then there was a day of volunteering at the Irish Centre (Cúltúrlann Éireannach). This was followed by a 60+ hour week of academics, work, business, and other fun events. Then there was the wedding of two good friends in Lenoir, North Carolina. I returned to Rockhurst from the wedding exhausted, and ready for the quiet weekend to come. That came after another 60+ hour week, and at first it looked promising. But then something rather unfortunate happened. Saturday 21 September 2013 will always be one of those days that just didn’t have to happen – and yet in a big way it did. I woke that morning to an early alarm as I was going to be filming the Classroom scene for my film Sisyphus that day. However, none of the extras showed up to film – so I ended up having to postpone the shoot until this past Sunday 6 October. I left Rockhurst for my parents’ house, where my Mom was home alone getting ready for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s opening night premiere of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi. The day before I drove my Dad up to the airport to fly to Chicago to see my Granddad, with plans of sorting out the plans to move him into hospice care by Sunday.

That, unfortunately didn’t happen. I was at 59th and Rockhill, heading back to my parents’ house after getting a shirt for the opera when my phone rang. My Dad was on the other end, at my Uncle Bill’s house in Suburban Chicagoland – my Granddad had died at about 16.30 CDT. From then on out, the entire world seemed to flip on its head. My Mom and I did go the opera that night, but the next morning I found myself driving her up to the Airport so she could fly up to Chicago to meet my Dad and work with the rest of their generation in the Kane family on the funeral arrangements. I stayed behind in Kansas City for a while longer, so that I wouldn’t miss too much class. That, as it turned out, didn’t really work so well. I missed my first class on Monday morning, Western Civilisation II, because I was taking the dogs to the vet for boarding for the time that I’d also be in Chicago. Then I skipped out on my Modern Political Philosophy class because I just didn’t feel like I could take it just then. Finally, I threw in the towel on school for the week when the power of what had happened to my family hit me like a bag of rocks in choir, when we were rehearsing the Jesuit hymn These Alone are Enough for the Family Weekend Mass.

I flew up to Chicago on the evening of the 23rd – weary, and ready to be with my parents, aunt, uncle, and cousins. It was a short flight, and considering that I had no bags to bring with, as my Mom had already packed everything I’d need – I flew up in the first row on Southwest! The time in Chicagoland was very emotional for me. Between facing the fact that now both of my Kane grandparents are dead, and experiencing all of these places again that I remembered from my early childhood, a time which I cherish quite dearly, I found it hard sometimes to face the facts. Thus, when we were driving from place to place, especially in the traffic on the Tristate Tollway and with that awful construction traffic on Dempster at the Tollway, I slept. The wake and funeral were nice. It was especially great to get to see all of the more distant cousins on my Dad’s side, many of my grandparents’ friends, and some college friends of my parents (including my Godparents). But in the end, I was just ready to go back to Kansas City and sleep for a long time.

After that second exhausting trip, I was in no mood for work. I ended up being a fair bit behind in my work, especially when it came to French. I’ve only just caught up. My classes on Thursday and Friday were a blur, and to be honest I probably wouldn’t have even had any will to go to them if it weren’t for the fact that I had nothing else to do at that point. By Friday 27 September, I had gone for at least 20 days with sleep worth only about 15 normal nights, and was in no mood for any more misadventures.

Thankfully, that weekend was anything but a misadventure. My cousin Ashley, who I’ve known for my entire life, got married! It was a very nice wedding, and a fantastic reception. That wedding was a good way to balance out the stress and grief of the month in which it occurred, as it showed me that even though all sorts of dour things happen in our lives, there’s still room for happiness and jolliness. Which on that note: Middlesex County Cricket finished 3rd in the County Championship! O, and the USA Men’s Team (the Waldoes as I call them) qualified for the ’14 World Cup in Brazil!

So, as I write this, safe and sound, now 7 days removed from that dreadful month, I have to say “Buíchos le Dia!” that it’s over. Less than 24 hours ago, I was able to shoot that scene that originally was intended to be shot on the 21st – and this time no one that I know died on the same day! September was about as poor at its’ game as Chivas USA is at soccer, which is saying something really sad about that month. But, on the plus side – I got paid at the end of it all, thanks to that week and a half of French tutoring that I did in August!

Hopefully I’ll be able to update a bit more in the future, as things may be settling down. We’ll have to see.

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