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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Frig's Day (Friday's Old English Name)

That's surely how it friggin' feels to me. It's been a hard week. I began it with a flight to another state to make a visit at a hospice. I didn't care for it much. It took something away from me. I left something behind. It staggered me badly enough that I walked obsessively on Tuesday. The reader doesn't need to how many miles or the damage it did to my feet. One's obsessions can be embarrassing. Let's just say I was trying to walk away from the pain and there was much pain to walk away from. Newsflash: it does not work to try to walk away from pain. The pain just rides on one's shoulder.

Some bloggers mourned the passing of Simmons, Salinger and Zinn during the week. I did, too. Mourning them made me put aside my personal mourning. I didn't want to think about that death any more. Much easier to handle grief over public figures we never really knew. I'm reminded again of the futile way I try to handle loss. Every time. I am stuck on stupid. You see, I always want to do something. "Do something like what, Les? Bring him back from the dead, for instance?" I talked to a counselor who told me all the right things to do like experience the pain and then let go. No, no. This woman doesn't actually want to feel anything about this. Mother Badger sent an e-mail with love. I've been continuously supported in person, on the phone and in e-mails by those who care about me. And I just can't shake off the notion that I need to do something.

I thought to sit and write beautiful words - holy words, the most beautiful writing ever presented, this as a tribute to a man's life. But I sat up all night at the computer and learned I had a blockage. Constipation. I can't write holy words for him. I'm pretty empty of beautiful words. So I'll write some plain words. Plain words are OK, if they're given sincerely. Even if I can't build a shrine, I can make a little impromptu roadside memorial.

His life was filled with many challenges no human being should have to deal with. The ways he sometimes chose to deal with these things were not pretty ~ like during observance of the making of sausages and laws, one's gaze might have to have been averted a few times. I've never known another person who suffered such heartbreaking life events, and I believe the heart actually does break into pieces. His heart finally gave out and I think that is profound. Make no mistake about it, he had many lofty highs in life and people who loved him and successes that exceeded the sum of all of his parts. But I am sad that he is gone. He was younger than I. I wish him happiness, like everyone deserves to be happy. Happy, not dead.

When I saw him Sunday, he recognized me and told me he was glad that I came. Then he asked the $64 million question. The one I've run from for most of my life. "Were you ever really in love with me?" For the type of association he and I had, one would expect "in love" at least in some period of the relationship. I took a deep breath and I lied while looking directly into his deep brown eyes. And I saw peace, relief, maybe happiness, or maybe I even saw that intangible thing - love - cross his face. I have suffered this week from lying to him at that point in his life. I'll shoulder that. Because I didn't lie about feeling another form of love. He has that. I give it freely, in truth.

It is fortuitous. The camping date was already on the calendar. So I'll go and refuel and I'll be warm(er). I'll hike and scramble around finding rocks. I'll read and I'll think and I'll cry. I'll draw with my pencils and write in my journal and take (poor) photos. And when I come home, I'll go on. I'll post my silly Chapter 2 of The Field Trip and I'll work. I'll walk somewhat fewer miles and take care of the cats and the birds. I'll buy groceries and get the haircut I scuttled last weekend in favor of hospice. Something will surely charm me and I'll surely worry about booking enough jobs to support our little magic carpet ride. Because that's how life is.

In my ears right now:

Something that charmed me: I read this in the news and it made me feel calmer. "Tonight's full moon will be the biggest and brightest full moon of the year. It offers anyone with clear skies an opportunity to identify easy-to-see features on the moon.

This being the first full moon of 2010, it is also known as the wolf moon, a moniker dating back to Native American culture and the notion that hungry wolves howled at the full moon on cold winter nights. Each month brings another full moon name."

There's another kind of moon for you, Tag!


  1. Thank You, You know you wouldn't hurt this deeply if there wasn't love there as well. Maybe a lie but maybe a deeper truth. Take 'er easy Leslie.

  2. @ Tag ~ I thank you, sir. That coming from a Dudeist Priest makes me feel absolved almost. I'm not cracking wise. I'm saying thank you for looking at my lie and saying that, perhaps, is not the worst sin ever committed.

  3. I just got home from my Mom's. We are moving her into assisted living this week-end. She took a dramatic turn for the worse, mind-wise and she knows it, so I'm already fragile.

    Your writing of this incident is so glorious and well-timed that when I got to, "Were you ever really in love with me?" I lost it. I needed to release, so it was a good thing.

    I hope you enjoy all the desert has to offer. You deserve good things. Good times. Good people around you.

  4. @ Kass ~ Aw, Cookie, I wondered where you were. I'm sorry. I know you resisted assisted living for as long as it could be avoided. I may have had it easier. He just died. Your mom had a mind-shift, knows it, and you have to put her somewhere. I can't imagine the emotional strength that requires. My parents don't need me to take care of them yet. I don't know if I'm up to the task when the time comes.

    I will come back from the desert the way I do after the blood transfusions ~ a little more pink of cheek, a little stronger. I'll walk uprightfor awhile, then stagger a little, regroup, walk some more, ask for help, get a transfusion. And so it goes.

    You made me lose it, about your mom. E-mail me or call me when you need me. I have signal pretty much everywhere I'm going. Even if I have nothing more to offer than shared crying, I can give you that freely.

    Love, sincerely, Leslie

  5. This is the most lovely, touching thing I have read for a long time. You have a big heart and it comes through in your writing. The Old Friends rendition was perfect. Happy camping!

  6. @ GJ ~ Thank you for your kind words. I'm off to claim my peace shortly. And I'll sleep on the ground and I'll come back feeling better.

  7. There is no shortage of plain words. You chose the all right ones. Sorry for your loss.

  8. Deeply touched by your plain honesty. Can't say much more now. Realness gets me in the throat.

  9. Ours was a blue moon last night on the other side of the world and we too are touched by these public deaths.

    Yours here seems all the more poignant for that, Leslie.

    My children are listening to the tennis in the room next door. They're hooping and hollering as the one down rises above his opponent. I'm here blogging and thinking of you at this time,imagining that you too will rise above your grief, in time, with time, maybe lots of time.

    It's not a lie, it's a different sort of truth, when you make it easier for someone to move on.

    Thank you for your writing here. It is raw and alive and gut wrenching.

  10. @ Kirk ~ Thank you for ringing in and for your support. I appreciate your support.

  11. @ Rachel ~ I thank you for feeling my pain and just saying "Hello, I hear you." I appreciate you saying I'm honest. I try to be that, which is why I feel a little torn. I'll be OK.

  12. @ Elisabeth ~ I thank you for reminding me there can be more than one truth. I had to think on my feet and consider his condition. I was surrounded by others with an opinion about what my response SHOULD be. So I made a quick decision, but later questioned myself. I'm becoming more solid with what I said.

    I am going to be sturdy very soon. I'm surrounded by support and some very good suggestions. I've returned from camping sunburned and peaceful. I hope I got good shots of the Wolf Moon. And tomorrow begins another day for me. You thanked me for my writing and I appreciate that. My truth is that I HAD to write this out. I had little choice in the matter. It just needed to come out of me.