Posted in loss

Monday Mourning

mourning candle
image courtesy of thecjn.ca

Trigger warning – Mondays are always hard, but today is harder than most, and not just because the world is a mess. If today’s post on grief and loss is too much for you, I completely understand. I’ll see you next time!

mourn·​ing | \ ˈmȯr-niŋ  \ noun

1: the act of sorrowing

She is still in mourning for her dead husband.

2a: an outward sign (such as black clothes or an armband) of grief for a person’s death

lots of people there, and only one man in full mourning

— Arnold Bennett

b: a period of time during which signs of grief are shown

after a long mourning, resume their ordinary dresses

— Henry Reed

2b gets me. Well, it doesn’t “get” me (does anyone?), but it’s only fair, since I don’t “get” it either.

What exactly is “a period of time”? Or, to be more specific – how long should we mourn?

According to the bible, we should mourn for 30 days, or 70, or “many days” depending on who died. Well, that was helpful.

According to Karen Roldan’s post on grief and loss, “various cultures have formal mourning periods of…up to three years (but) one year is a generally accepted mourning period in the US.” What the actual F?? What is wrong with people in the US? (don’t answer that).

When I was young, I thought a year was long enough. As my brother says, you give yourself time to get angry/sad/mad, but if there’s nothing you can do about it, you let it go (to his credit, he wasn’t talking about grief, but it fits). I believed that a year (or two, maybe three at the max) gave you plenty of time to move from denial to acceptance.

Boy was I wrong – and not just because Time is an asshole and a year doesn’t last nearly as long as it used to.

Today is my mother’s 27th deathaversary. I still can’t accept it. My mom wasn’t perfect, but she was pretty awesome – just ask my friends. As a teenager it bugged me to no end that she would TALK to them, but they remember her still.

My mother’s door was always open – and not just because houses built during the 60s were just weird low-ceilinged boxes. If you fell and scraped your knee or needed a mid-day snack, you were welcome. Our father traveled a lot for work, so she was one of the original “single mothers” who managed to get my brother and me to school/work/dance recitals/soccer practice without a hair out of place (thanks aqua net!). She was from Oklahoma, and definitely brought her sense of Southern hospitality with her to Southern California. She loved it when our house was full – full of kids playing in the yard or snacking at the table or staying up all night at a “Sleepover”, full of adults chatting and playing cards and eating and drinking and laughing and skinny-dipping (after the kids had gone to bed). Her heart was huge, and she loved everyone – even people she didn’t know. As she put it, strangers are just friends you haven’t yet met. She didn’t care who you loved, the color of your skin or what religion you did or didn’t follow – if you needed a place to stay or a mom who loved you unconditionally, she was there.  She was loving and supporting and kind, and her only fault (well, the only one I’m willing to share) was that she didn’t know how truly special she was.

It’s been more than a year (or three) and I still mourn. I still pick up the phone and start to dial. Not that I’d ever get through – she was always on the phone.

mom

I miss you Karen Maron.

Posted in loss

Griefball

grief like an ocean
image courtesy of whatsyourgrief.com

Editors note – Griefball is kind of like dodgeball, but not as painful. Or more painful, but without the giant red balls (if you or someone you love has giant red balls, please seek immediate medical attention).

Well, it’s Wednesday again – and my attempt to reboot my blog with theme days (Motivational Monday, Weird/Wacky Wednesdays) is not working for me. I’m not surprised. I’ve always been more of a “go with the flow” hippy/dippy chick (which irritates my inner Virgo no end). Plans are good, but we need to make room for all of Life’s surprises – or, as my Jewish grandmother would say Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht (Man plans, and God Laughs).

Which is just a long-winded explanation excuse for why I’m not sharing news of the weird. 

Can I be honest? (does anyone ever respond to that with “no, please lie to me”?) I’m not in the mood for weird and wacky. I tried being light and funny, but Tears of a Clown started running through my head (yes, it’s an earworm – if I have to suffer, so do you). 

Today is the deathaversary of my brother of heart. It’s been a rough week. Last week was his heavenly birthday, and today marks four years since he “shuffled off his mortal coil.” It’s weird. It feels like forever ago, and yet, it feels like I just talked talked to him yesterday. It could be because Time has been melted by the Pandemic, or that he keeps popping up in Facebook Memories. Then again, if The Sixth Sense is to be believed, it’s because he talks to me when I think I’m dreaming. He’s one ofthe many friends and family members who pop up at inopportune times (i.e. when I’m dreaming of fruity rum being served up poolside by cabana boys.)

I used to think that there was a time limit to grief. I was wrong. I also thought that there were stages to grief. I was wrong about that too. Or maybe not quite. There are stages to grief, but there isn’t linear progression from loss to healing. Sana’s post explains it better. “Grief is hard to understand as it entails so many different emotions and looks differently for each person.” Her post includes the perfect image for how grief works.

griefball

So today is a grey day. As it so happens, it’s grey outside too. I love the rain, but the fact that the sky is reflecting my mood is weird, which means this is the perfect post for a Wednesday after all.

So tell me – how do you deal with grief and earworms?

For those of you who are younger than dirt, here’s Smokey:

Posted in four letter words, life lessons

I Have No Words

Which is hard, for a writer. It would be presumptuous to say it’s like an artist going blind, but that’s how it feels. Less presumptuous (maybe) to qualify the feeling as “an artist blinded temporarily“, because I know (hope) the words will return.

Grief has made me mute. Not because a famous athlete is gone too soon. The world is grieving the loss of Kobe Bryant – I don’t need to be one of the many.

I grieve for the other eight victims of the crash, for their friends and family members. Too many lives lost, too many hearts breaking, too little attention paid to those who were not as famous but just as loved, just as important to their friends and family members.

My heart, my prayers, my thoughts are with those who have lost so much.

It’s not enough, but it’s all I have.

Well, that’s not exactly true. I also have some lessons that loss has taught me. They may help you as well.

 

 

 

Posted in four letter words, life lessons

Picking up the Pieces

I have a friend whose life has fallen apart (no my friend is not me, although I am trying to be a better friend to myself).

Like many of those who have suffered a loss, she’s struggling to find a way to move forward, to find an answer to the Why/why me/why now question we throw to the universe when life doesn’t go smoothly the way we want it to.

Fran Simone wrote an article for Psychology Today on Coming to Terms with “Why Me?” and why it’s such a waste of time: “However it’s asked, the question is self-defeating. This way of thinking fuels resentment, envy, and self-pity. Toxic emotions demean and diminish us. How do we defeat them? When I find myself heading toward a pity-party, I recall the first line of the Serenity Prayer. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.”

I am not a therapist, nor do I play one on tv, but (thanks to my rollercoaster life) I have some suggestions that may (or may not) prove helpful.  As with everything else, take what works/resonates and ignore the rest.

In her Bustle article Carolyn Steber reminds us that “dealing with loss is painful, and that it takes forever to heal. But, with a little effort, it is possible to move forward with your life” and offers 7 Tips for Moving On. Her tips include my favorite:

Take Care of Yourself, No Matter What“Make sure you eat, get plenty of rest, and do things that are soothing and comforting.” Self care is vital, even when you’re not dealing with loss. I’m not sure that eating pints of Ben and Jerry’s and Sizzler’s cheese toast count as “food”, but they ARE soothing and comforting. For me, at least.

More importantly:

Don’t Let Anyone Tell You How to Feel“Everyone deals with loss differently, so there’s no “right” way to feel when faced with a heaping pile of grief.” Believe me when I saw that EVERYONE (including strangers in line at the grocery store) will have an opinion on how/how long you should grieve.

Full disclosure – I came home from school one day, to find my mother sitting in the living room, glass of Pink Chablis in one hand, cigarette in the other, Rod McKuen’s Listen to the Warm playing on the stereo. She was staring morosely out the window, crying and looking at…nothing.

Teen Me: “What are you looking at?”

Mom: “Nothing.”

Teen Me: “What’s wrong?”

Mom: (sighing heavily) “Nothing.”

Teen Me: “OMG are you crying about your father? He’s been dead for EIGHT YEARS – you should be done (grieving) by now.” (stomps out of room in disgust)

Teenagers are assholes. Also, Rod McKuen can make anyone cry, even if you have a heart of stone. Have you heard “A Cat Named Sloopy”?

It seems trite, but I’ve found that counting my blessings helps me when I can feel the pity party starting.Some days they are easy to find, some days they’re not, but I never stop looking. Forcing myself to look for the good in my life keeps me from obsessing about my problems.

Asking for help is hard, but help is not a four letter word. I mean, obviously it’s a four letter word (I can count), but it’s not a swear word. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be “No.” If you can’t/don’t want to ask a friend or family for member, reach out to a support group/church member/stranger in line at the grocery store. More importantly, if things are horribly bleak reach out to a professional.

Some days are harder than others, but I keep trying to move forward. TBH, I just keep trying to move (which is getting difficult, now that I’m not 18 any more). Some days it’s two steps forward and three steps back. That’s ok – it reminds me that life’s a dance.

But I think my most important lesson on how to move forward (or at least the most recent) came from Frozen 2. I just try to do the next right thing.

So what do I do when my life falls apart? I pick up the pieces and put them back together again. The pieces may not fit together the way they originally did – pieces tear, pieces disappear (into a ring around Saturn with all my missing socks), and sometimes I have pieces from a completely different puzzle. That doesn’t mean the new image is less beautiful, than the original – it’s just…different.

And for those of you who haven’t heard/read it, I’m posting A Cat Named Sloopy. Don’t forget the tissues.

A Cat Named Sloopy
Rod McKuen

For a while
the only earth that Sloopy knew
was in her sandbox.
Two rooms on Fifty-fifth Street
were her domain.
Every night she’d sit in the window
among the avocado plants
waiting for me to come home
(my arms full of canned liver and love).
We’d talk into the night then
contented
but missing something,
She the earth she never knew
me the hills I ran
while growing bent.
Sloopy should have been a cowboy’s cat
with prairies to run
not linoleum
and real-live catnip mice.
No one to depend on but herself.
I never told her
but in my mind
I was a midnight cowboy even then.
Riding my imaginary horse
down Forty-second Street,
going off with strangers
to live an hour-long cowboy’s life,
but always coming home to Sloopy,
who loved me best.
A dozen summers
we lived against the world.
An island on an island.
She’d comfort me with purring
I’d fatten her with smiles.
We grew rich on trust
needing not the beach or butterflies
I had a friend named Ben
Who painted buildings like Roualt men.
He went away.
My laughter tired Lillian
after a time
she found a man who only smiled.
Only Sloopy stay and stayed.
Winter.
Nineteen fifty-nine.
Old men walk their dogs.
Some are walked so often
that their feet leave
little pink tracks
in the soft gray snow.
Women fur on fur
elegant and easy
only slightly pure
hailing cabs to take them
round the block and back.
Who is not a love seeker
when December comes?
even children pray to Santa Claus.
I had my own love safe at home
and yet I stayed out all one night
the next day too.
They must have thought me crazy
screaming
Sloopy
Sloopy
as the snow came falling
down around me.
I was a madman
to have stayed away
one minute more
than the appointed hour.
I’d like to think a golden cowboy
snatched her from the window sill,
and safely saddlebagged
she rode to Arizona.
She’s stalking lizards
in the cactus now perhaps
bitter but free.
I’m bitter too
and not a free man any more.
Once was a time,
in New York’s jungle in a tree,
before I went into the world
in search of other kinds of love
nobody owned me but a cat named Sloopy.
Looking back
perhaps she’s been
the only human thing
that ever gave back love to me.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in all about me, Blogging U

I’m (not) the Biggest Loser

Confession[1]I have to another confession to make.

gif__i_m_a_freaking_loser_by_shackmo-d95jdg9

Literally. Not a weight loss loser like my husband (who has lost over 100 pounds in the past two years) and not in a “I can’t do anything right”/pity party table for one way* – but in an “everything I want/need/touch goes missing/is lost” way.

It’s incredibly frustrating.

I’ve had it happen before. My mother stops by to borrow her jewelry whenever there’s a party in the great beyond. She brings it back eventually, and she usually puts it back in my jewelry box. It’s her jewelry, after all, so I suppose I should let her borrow it.

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I’ve also had things disappear when I’m tired/distracted. I remember reading an article on object permanence a while back (the memory is fuzzed by time and oldtimer’s syndrome, so I may be misremembering). The writer’s theory was that, when we’re distracted to the point where we forget about an object, it ceases to exist. It doesn’t really explain why those objects turn up in odd places (i.e. the freezer, the pocket of a jacket I haven’t worn in decades or under the bed). Erin Pavlina says you can find lost items using psychic abilities. Unfortunately, I’m psycho not psychic.

The things that I’ve lost have been just that – things. Things can be replaced.

Unfortunately, this past weekend I lost my mind. Dan Quayle would be so disappointed.

thz27zqke0

I didn’t realize it until yesterday, when I found that I couldn’t understand simple instructions/had a hard time completing the Blogging Fundaments task for Day 5: Love Your Theme. I was unsuccessful in my attempt(s) to “try and customize three different themes.” The task proved so frustrating, that I threw a hissy fit and decided to take my ball and go home.

This morning I discovered that my brain had come home (which is a good thing, since it’s far too little to be on its own). I spent some time playing with different themes, only to realize that yes, this is the “my” theme.

Because I’m behind in my lessons (I just received instructions for Day 13), and because my brain is back where it belongs, I decided to complete the tasks for Day Six: Make an Irresistible “About Me” page and Day Seven: Start Personalizing Your Site as well. I updated my “About” page (I even managed to add an image!) and changed the background color, font and header for my blog.

Guess I’m not a loser after all.

 

*In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit to throwing a pity party when I couldn’t find my Peets gift card and a check.

 

 

Posted in four letter words, life lessons

On Love, Loss, and Laughter

images71V16YFPI know what you’re thinking – “Where the hell has Tracey been and what kind of writer doesn’t write?” (or, as my EIC would say, “If a writer isn’t writing, doesn’t that mean they’re not a writer?”)

In Hell. Literally (Ok, maybe not literally). A stuck writer. That’s what kind.

Grief has eaten my brain, and stolen my creativity.

I lost someone a month ago who was incredibly important to me. Well, I didn’t’ “lose” him. It’s not like he was a set of car keys, or a sock that disappeared from the dryer, or my mind.

Sorry for that. I have a habit of trying to compensate for emotional issues with sarcasm and lame attempts at humor. Let me try again.

My friend died a month ago.

Wow. There it is, in black and white. The phrase I’ve avoided. I know it’s hard to read, but trust me, it’s harder to write and practically impossible to believe. Timothy Leary was right when he said “Death is the last taboo.”  Nobody dies. They “pass on” or “leave us”, “slip away” or “go to a better place”.

I call bullshit.

My friend died.

Three words. So simple and so misleading. Here’s how dictionary.com breaks down the sentence:

My – belonging to or associated with the speaker.

Friend – a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual of family relations

Died – to cease to live; undergo the complete and permanent cessation of all vital functions

The thing is, Mario wasn’t just “my” friend. He was EVERYONE’S friend. Yeah, he was THAT guy. He was charming and funny, smart and kind. No matter where he went, he always ended up surrounded by a group of people who were jostling for position and vying for his attention. Mario, like my mother, seemed to believe that there is no such thing as a stranger. Strangers are simply friends you haven’t yet met.

He was my friend, but he was more than that. There are friends, and then there are people who are so much more than simply friends – we call these people our “family of heart”. We might not be related by blood, but we are joined by a love that is even stronger than family ties. Mario was my friend, my mentor, my brother of heart.

I met Mario when we were young and foolish, hopeful and fearless. He was dating the woman who ran the booth I worked for – the woman who would become one of my very best friends. In a blink of an eye, they were married, and raising 3 kids.

Mario and Virginia were playing house and being Responsible Adults while I was still trying to decide how to style my hair. It took me longer to grow up, but eventually I got married and had a kid of my own. I am incredibly lucky to have had their help in raising my daughter. Mario was a perfect example of a father for my spouse to emulate, and Virginia was the same for me. Their three kids are amazing people, despite the fact that their parents have a twisted sense of humor (It gave me hope that our daughter wouldn’t be Permanently Damaged). The fact that they were still wildly in love with each other even after 35 years together was inspiring – a testimony to the power of True Love.

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Mario’s kids asked us to write down things that we learned from him, to list our favorite sayings or quotes. I couldn’t think of anything at the time. I’m sure people remember a lot of “Mario-isms”, but I can’t remember anything other than him saying “OUTSTANDING!” when things would go less than perfectly, or when someone would do something that was extraordinarily stupid. But here are things that I learned from him:

Be kind. Mario was nice to everyone – no matter what they believed, what they looked like, how they dressed, how much money they made (or didn’t make). He was one of the popular kids, but he wasn’t one of the mean girls (which is not to say that he didn’t enjoy a little CCC* when warranted). He went out of his way to be kind to people who were often overlooked or ignored. He was even nice to the weird kid in the corner (What? No, that wasn’t me, why would you think that?).

Be polite We disagreed about many things (politics, religion, and whether the Three Stooges were funny). As strong minded (or, in my case, hard headed) individuals, we agreed to disagree. Having friends with opinions which differ from one’s own makes life more interesting.

but don’t be a pushover. (does this one really need explaining?)

Keep learning. Mario was always reading, always trying to better himself. As Albert Einstein said “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”

Make people smile Mario would do almost anything to get a laugh (that’s not exactly true. There was no “almost” about it).

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by embracing your inner weirdo – In a world where everyone worries about what others think/we struggle to fit in, to be normal (please note, “normal” is just a setting on the washing machine), Mario stood out as someone who just didn’t give a flying f…

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Don’t whine. (Aka “Suck it up, Buttercup”) The past few years were incredibly hard physically and psychologically, and yet, Mario was always smiling (or maybe it was a grimace). His outlook could best be described this way:

Be strong… Mario was in a lot of pain, but he never let it stop him from doing the things that he needed or wanted to do. Long days at work which required hours of driving? Every day. Trips to Yosemite, to hockey games, to shows and soccer games and even a longa** Christmas parade? NP. The thing that stands out most is the fact that, whenever I came to visit, no matter how much pain he was in, Mario always stood up to say hello.

but don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it (TBH I never heard Mario ask for help for himself. He was always asking for help for someone else).

and always offer help to those who need it. In a world where people rise above the masses by putting others down, Mario lifted people up.

Those are the things I’ve learned from Mario’s life. What did I learn from his death?

That “Only the good die young” is not a meaningless phrase. Neither is “Life’s a Bitch, and then you die.” That we need to find make time for those we love. When I was a kid, I thought nothing of knocking on my friend’s door, and asking if they could come out and play. We lose that ability when we grow up – we get busy with life – with school, with work. We worry that our houses are too messy for guests, or that our friends are too busy for us. We SCHEDULE our lives and our visits, instead of just “popping in to say hello”. We text and skype and send messages via snapchat or twitter. We brag about the fact that Facebook has allowed us to “reconnect” with old friends and family members, but we don’t take make the time to see each other “IRL”. WE NEED TO STOP THAT, RIGHT NOW.

What did I learn from my friend’s death? Life is short, and none of us is guaranteed tomorrow. Mario’s younger daughter got married in November. At the reception, he asked me told me to stop by after work for a “beer and bitch” session, but I assumed it was the whisky talking, and that we would have a chance to catch up “soon”. Please believe me when I say that “SOON” DOESN’T COME SOON ENOUGH.

I know this was a long post, so, in the immortal words of Inygo Montoya “let me sum up”. What did I learn from Mario?

Live fearlessly, love fiercely and laugh at all that life throws your way.

And, oh yeah, always pet the puppies.

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*Catty Corner Commentary

Posted in Uncategorized

The Problem With Aging

th1KQI53BFI’ve decided that the worst part of getting old isn’t the life lines near my eyes, or the laugh lines that bracket my mouth. It isn’t the little white hairs that pepper my hair (or would that be salt my hair?). It’s not even the fact that the snap crackle and pop I hear in the morning aren’t just sounds from my cereal bowl…it’s the fact that I’ve developed Sometimers Syndrome.

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I have a theory – I believe our brains are hard drives, and that by the time we reach “a certain age” they are full. We can’t defrag our brains to free up extra space, and we can’t download old memories/useless facts to an external hard drive, so new memories aren’t stored to a permanent file. What we really need is Professor Dumbledor’s pensieve. Although Dumbledore uses his to find patterns and habbits, I think it would be an excellent tool for freeing up space when our brains are full, or removing a painful memory

th[8]

Sometimes I forget little things, like why I came into the kitchen, my husband’s cell phone#, or where I put my car keys.*

Sometimes I forget bigger things, which is why I’m happy for the little voice in my head which reminds me of Important Things. She’s pretty good at reminding me that I have a doctor’s appointment, or that I need to pick up my daughter after school. Yesterday she reminded me that I needed to call my mother, so I picked up the phone, and then remembered that my mother is dead.

I mean, I didn’t forget she’s dead, exactly.

Ok, I did.

It’s odd. I mean, it’s not as if she JUST died. It will be 21 years this June. Which is surreal. It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long ago. Then again, 16 of the past 21 years have been spent raising a kid, and, as Camille at Crunchy Parenting says, parenting time FLIES.

My mom was an amazing woman. She was funny, and smart, and had a huge heart. I’m not saying it just because I’m her daughter – I’ve had other people tell me the same thing. She volunteered with AYSO for years, kept a great house, called (and wrote to) her friends and family on a regular basis and was the first one to jump in to help when someone was in trouble. She was a true southern woman – meaning that she had strong shoulders and a soft heart; it also means that she ate weird foods, like okra and fried green tomatoes.

Maybe that’s why she was on my mind. I was hoping that 2016 was going to be a better year, but I have too many friends and family members who are struggling with loss. I may claim that I’m not a people person, but I’m a liar. I grieve with them for their losses – loss of employment, loss of health, loss of life. I may not keep a great house, or write or call as often as my mom did, but I’m proud to say that I have her soft heart.

I miss her. I am sad that she missed meeting Lauren and the rest of her grandchildren, but I’m still heartbroken that she’s more than a phone call away.

I would pay the surcharges, no matter how high, if only I could make that long distance call.

 

*special shout-out to my spouse, who bought me a key locator for Christmas. You push the remote, and your keys chirp like a car alarm…now if only I could find the remote…..

 

Posted in four letter words, life lessons

I Don’t Want to Talk About It

th[9]I spent Saturday morning at a memorial service – my second in less than a month. If you ask me, that’s two too many. I realize that nobody asked me, but it’s my blog, and I’m talking about it anyway (which is HUGE. In many circles, Death is a bigger taboo than sex).

People have different ideas about why we’re here. Some say we come out of dust, and to dust we return. Some say we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. I believe that we are here to learn something. It could be patience, it could be love, or it could be statistics and probabilities (ugh!). Once we’ve learned our lesson, it’s time for us to move on.

I refuse to learn, which means I’ll live forever.*

Here’s what I’ve learned about death and other losses:

Life may be a bitch, but Loss is a nasty, low down, evil snake in the grass (no disrespect to snakes. I like them – they’re like legless lizards). She fights dirty.

Sometimes she carries a sledgehammer – and she will beat you with it until you are nothing but a quivering mass of jelly. The good news is that broken bones heal, scar tissue is stronger than unscarred tissue, and laying around on the ground gives you a good excuse to rest. Plus you can spend the “downtime” observing the cosmos and figuring out why you’re here (see above).

Sometimes she morphs into a pack of howling, snarling fears which chase you through the darkness, snapping at your heels, and nipping your fingers and toes. The good news is that feardogs, like nightmares and vampires, disappear at first light.

Sometimes she whispers to you through the grey haze of despair, leading you gently to the precipice and then poking at you with the sharp pointy stick of self-doubt until you jump. The good news is that it gets better. Tired and cliché, but true. Trust me. I’ve been there. I went through a series of losses (one after another) that left me sobbing on the floor of my car, certain that things would be better if I just gave up and quit.

As strange as it sounds, I owe Loss a debt of gratitude. It’s taken a long time, but I’ve learned from Loss. I’ve learned:

  • to spend more time with loved ones, doing things that I want to do, rather than things that Need Doing. Life is too short to spend your time dusting.
  • to ask for (and accept) help. Asking for help does not mean that you are weak. It means you are smart enough to know that you can’t do it all yourself, all the time, every day.
  • the value of Mother’s Little Helpers. I’m not a huge fan of western medicine, but sometimes they get it right.
  • that talking to a professional can help. No, not just any professional. I don’t think telling the bank teller about your dead mother is very helpful. Talking to a professional therapist is like taking a pill. They don’t help everyone, and they may not help right away, but there are good ones out there.
  • that loss is a part of life, and that healing from any loss (whether the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job) comes in stages
  • that it gets better, even when it seems like it won’t. Trust me.

Or don’t. Trust these people instead:

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

*JK – I’ve managed to learn a few things (including what “jk” means – yes, I have a teen).

P.S. You people need to stop dying. I know that Neil Gaiman makes Death look like a seductive little goth girl Death_(DC_Comics)[1]

 

 

 

and that Brad Pitt’s Joe Black  made death look tempting (hey, I’d die for him), but all these losses are making me cranky, and it’s all about me.

And for those of you who saw my blog title and were hoping to see a youtube video, here you go:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in four letter words, Uncategorized

On Loss and roses

Broken_heart.svg[1]I lost a coworker today. Well, I didn’t lose her. It’s not like she’s an extra sock or a misplaced set of housekeys, a little tchotchke that will show up when I least expect it (although she may come visit – we already have at least one ghost in the office). She was my coworker, but, more importantly, she was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

Ugh. my lame attempts at humor are irritating me today (note to defensive mechanism – take a break). I was going to write on life and loss and grief and hope, but the words won’t come. Instead I will leave you with The Rose Beyond the Wall, by A.L. Frink. It gave me hope when my mother died. Hope that I’ll see her again, on the other side of the wall.

The Rose Beyond The Wall

The Rose Beyond The Wall – A. L. Frink

Near a shady wall a rose once grew,
Budded and blossomed in God’s free light,
Watered and fed by the morning dew,
Shedding it’s sweetness day and night.

As it grew and blossomed fair and tall,
Slowly rising to loftier height,
It came to a crevice in the wall
Through which there shone a beam of light.

Onward it crept with added strength
With never a thought of fear or pride,
It followed the light through the crevice’s length
And unfolded itself on the other side.

The light, the dew, the broadening view
Were found the same as they were before,
And it lost itself in beauties new,
Breathing it’s fragrance more and more.

Shall claim of death cause us to grieve
And make our courage faint and fall?
Nay! Let us faith and hope receive–
The rose still grows beyond the wall,

Scattering fragrance far and wide
Just as it did in days of yore,
Just as it did on the other side,
Just as it will forever-more.

A. L. Frink

thL4GNOWVE

Posted in Uncategorized

On Loss

images71V16YFP2015 was a rough year. Loss came to live at my house last year. She was an unwelcome and unpleasant houseguest, and not just because she brought along her friends Grief and Despair (is there anything worse than unwanted houseguests?). The unpleasant guests didn’t kill me, but they did kill my creative spirit. As much as I love writing and performing, it’s hard to be funny when you’re living in the pit of despair.

2015 ended well. Grief and Despair moved out when Hope moved in (they can’t stand her glimmery goodness).  I spent New Year’s eve surrounded by family of heart, and woke up feeling cautiously optimistic. I decided that, since 2015 didn’t kill me, 2016 was going to be my phoenix year.

My New Year’s resolutions were to return to writing and stand-up, and (perhaps) to try my hand at other creative endeavors.

It started out well.

I posted several pieces, and journeyed far outside by comfort zone by learning to paint (or trying to, at least) at Gamut’s “Shelter Art” event at our local animal shelter.

2016 felt like a bright shiny new year….and then cancer stole Lucifer*. For the first time ever, I was completely derailed by a celebrity death. I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of David Bowie’s music. I was, however, completely enthralled by him as an artist. He was the man who taught me to be myself, no matter what. He showed me that it was possible to reinvent yourself, at all ages and stages. He was an amazing person and performer, and, as Mark Ruffolo tweeted, he was the “father to all us freaks”. I may look like a suburban soccer mom, but my soul has always been more Ziggy Stardust than average white chick.

Then cancer took Alan Rickman. I loved him Truly, Madly, Deeply from day one. Not only was he a versatile, amazing performer/writer/director, he was an amazing human being. He was a feminist and an activist, and he did so while remaining a gentleman. In a world where celebrities strive for publicity, his charitable donations remained low key and oft overlooked. I just learned about this video for OneClickGiving, which he did as a favor for student charity filmmakers after they contacted him about a campaign to help refugees.

And today cancer claimed one of my childhood heroes, “Grizzly Adams” star Dan Haggerty. I remember watching the show, and getting the feeling that this gentle bear of a man was just as kind as the character he portrayed.

They say that things happen for a reason. I still don’t know who “they” are, or come up with a reason that we still haven’t found a cure for cancer. I have, however, found a reason for loss, thanks to the amazing gentlemen who moved on this week. Thanks to David Bowie’s last picture and Alan Rickman’s adventures with helium, I have learned  that Loss may travel with Despair, but she also travels with Joy. I have learned that Loss is an important part of life – she reminds us that life is fragile, and too short to be taken so seriously. I have learned a new definition for LOSS.

 

Love

Our

Silly

Side

David-Bowie-Last-Photo[1]

*Neil Gaiman’s Lucifer in his Sandman series is supposedly based on David Bowie. I’m not sure about that, but I know for a fact that he inspired The Return of the Thin White Duke