Archives for category: Words

I’m sipping my coffee. My face is wet with the tears that just keep coming. The phone call this morning was brief. Heartfelt. Tender. My sister’s resolve and her will to hold her feelings in check impress me, even as I continue to weep. We kept the call brief; no doubt she has other calls she wants to make. Neither of us like crying “out loud” in a public way, and seeing as we’re so “strong”, we manage not to cry on the phone. Much. The call ends, the tears start.

I consider not writing, but… grief isn’t an everyday experience. I already feel… shattered. This, in spite of knowing it was imminent, in spite of being “well-prepared”, in spite of speaking gently and explicitly with my Mother, herself, about this moment, frankly, compassionately, honestly… in spite of spending yesterday well-supported by a loving and concerned partner… nonetheless; I am crying. Routines are something I can fall back on to hold life together, until… something.

“This, too, shall pass.” (I know, I know – I fucking know that, now knock that shit off, while I shed these honest tears for the passing of a complex woman, who gave me life. I’ll be okay, just not… right now, exactly.)

…Anyway. No idea how this amount of grief may affect my writing. I’m glad you are here. I hope you are well. Maybe I write a lot more than usual over the next several days? Maybe I find myself unable to lift my hands to type words in row at all. I don’t even know. I guess we’ll find out together, eh?

It’ll be okay. I reflexively offer myself all the comforting platitudes I can find. “We are mortal creatures.” (That’s a very real observation, at the moment. Painfully real. It offers no particular comfort. Perhaps it will later…?) It’s not really helpful, and I let it go.

…I don’t really know what else to do. So… I begin again.

The text this morning was to the point, although not as abrupt as I imply in the title of this post. I feel grateful that my sister is right there, with our Mother. For a moment, I imagine this stern, strong, witty woman who raised me, pushing her chair back from a crowded card table, folding a less than ideal hand, and heading into the kitchen to refresh drinks. That memory is of a lifetime ago, in a far away place, disconnected from my experience of “here” and “now”. Do I want her to “hear my voice”? “Non-responsive” doesn’t sound like she’s likely to register voices… we’ve spoken recently, and regularly – is it enough?

…We don’t have a “Book of the Dead”, in our culture… It’s a strange random thought, a forerunner to intense grief.

There are tears in my eyes. I resent them; it’s too soon. Life stretches ahead of me, while I reach my thoughts – and my heart – across great distance. Imagining her as I remember her best; in her late 30s, in her early 40s. Strong. Determined. No bullshit. Rapier wit. Iron will. I observe the characteristics in myself that I most likely got from her; my tenacious loyalty. My intellect. My commitment to being a good provider. My reluctance to walk away from a bad decision. My willingness to hide my emotions for far too long. My laugh. That same laugh that her Mother had, too. I hear Granny’s laugh in my recollection. I feel, for a moment, my Mother’s warmth – like summertime in my heart. I sip my coffee and celebrate this woman who made me.

…Grieving comes soon enough. It’s important to examine those cherished moments as treasures, with great delight, and excessive merriment, and not allow the tears to wash those away. They matter so much more than the tears ever could.

Life didn’t have a map – you did okay with that, Mom. No reason to expect death to be more difficult to master; in a sense, we prepare for it all our lives, don’t we? Striving, clinging – and learning to let go. Good fold, Mom. Safe travels.

You are part of me. My journey began with you.

I sit quietly with my coffee, remembering life with my Mom. My “origin story”. Some details are fuzzy, others crystal clear. Some moments remain painful to this day, others bring me immediate joy when I recall them. One thing is certain; she will not be forgotten. Tears later. Coffee now. I wish she were sitting here, sharing that with me, right now; I have so much to ask, and now there is no time… 

Moments come and go. Whatever shit you’re having to wade through in life, it’ll pass. You can, of course, slow that process down some, by clinging to misery. I don’t recommend it. Take a breathe. Relax. Be in this moment, and let that one go.

Sometimes the flowers are tucked away behind the vines.

Sunny days come and go. Rainy ones, too. I’m just saying; this, too, shall pass. That’s real. Take a breath. Have a cup of coffee. Walk in the fresh air, among the trees, or under broad open skies.

“Human” isn’t always easy. Actually, quite the opposite seems to be the case; being human often seems needlessly difficult. Worse – we choose the difficulty level on the game of life, more often than we realize we do. We make specific, considered, deliberate choices to make the game so much harder. I’m not sure why that is. We could each do things quite differently than we often do…

…You can begin again. Let it go. Breathe. Start over. Just a thought.

My coffee is good. This moment is deliciously quiet, and gentle. Morning has not yet really gotten going. I’m okay with taking that slowly.

We each walk our own hard mile. We often don’t notice others suffering, and have little ability to place the suffering of others in the context of suffering generally; our own pain often feels like the worst pain, ever. “No one else could ever understand how bad this is…” We isolate ourselves from the support we are seeking, forgetting how common most of these human experiences actually are. We sometimes choose to withhold compassion and kindness, because we aren’t receiving it, ourselves. It’s weird how that works.

I sip my coffee and consider The Big 5. Respect. Reciprocity. Consideration. Compassion. Openness.

I could do better.

It’s time to begin again.

Today I pause to acknowledge the fallen. I consider the friends and comrades at arms who did not come home. I make a personal accounting of the cost of war. The price of war is high. The sacrificed men and women were precious – how many could have truly changed the world? War doesn’t change improve much of anything, only increases the amount of blood we have spilled for the sake of someone else’s vanity, profiteering, or arrogance. Wrapped in patriotic language, we accept slaughter as necessary – so long as we don’t have to look too long, too closely, to too honestly upon it. We accept the justifications. We accept the fear-mongering rhetoric. We look the other way when death comes for someone else’s daughters and sons.

I came home. Some did not. Over time, a great many did not come home. The numbers are horrifying. Add in the innocents – the children, the civilians, the people attempting to flee war, the people attempting to survive, the countrymen upon whom the governments have experimented for further gains in later wars – and the numbers become unfathomable, and impossible to truly grasp. We are killers, and we are fairly indiscriminate about it. So, here on the calendar is this one day. One day to account for our murderous inexcusable rage, our “patriotic” defense of our arbitrary borders, and our willingness to slaughter the daughters and sons of parents we’ve never met, and who have done us no harm – and our future potential. We’ll kill it all, but hey, at least we take a memorial day to observe… what? Our glory? The wastefulness of our violence? The passing of innocence? Probably not. More likely, we’ll take a long weekend to barbecue, and the most notable concern of the day will be the temperature of the grill, and whether the sauce is the same as what our father made, and will it rain?

Please enjoy the feast, and be merry. Sure, why not? Please also take a moment to consider the cost – the price paid in blood, by countless lost moments of a future we’ll never see, counted in bodies. Take a moment to consider who won’t be at the barbecue, this year or ever. You owe that moment to them, today.

I’m thinking about the way social media tends to give us each the impression we know all there is to know about what’s going on around us, and with the people we know, or observe from afar, as though eavesdropping a conversation in a restaurant booth behind us holds any potential to give us context and depth of understanding of the unseen faces having that conversation. It’s a misleading sense of the world, at best, and at worst… we participate in lying to ourselves, and dumbing down the world. Frustrating to attempt to have a deep conversation with a human being heavily invested in the world-via-tweet or yeah, even Instagram – my last remaining social media account. lol

…At this point, I’ve unfollowed every “influencer” (I hadn’t followed many, to begin with, because I don’t know them), and anyone who re-shares spammy bullshit, or advertising, or memes. I have limited my feed to direct relationships with people I actually know “irl”. No exceptions. It’s not about them. It’s about me; I don’t want to build shadows of relationships with distant entities who hold no potential to be “real” in my experience. I may not always like every one of the people around me… but I like them all 100% more than I hold any affection for a twitter account. LOL I mean, seriously? An ever-loving-fuck-ton of celebrities don’t even “manage” their own social media. They hire people to take care of that “workload” for them. They definitely don’t “care” about me – or you. They care about their brand. 😉

I can’t save anyone else from the impersonal science fiction abyss of dystopian disconnection. Sorry. You’ll need to crawl out on your own, if you can. It’s not actually hard, exactly, but it does require your will, and honest intent. So… verbs are involved. Choices. Practice. I kept Instagram, at least for now, simply because I enjoy sharing my photos with my actual friends, and enjoy seeing theirs. Innocent. Authentic. Rather unworldly, inasmuch as I guess I think that’s something I can have… Maybe it isn’t? I sip my coffee and wonder about that. Instagram remains a profit-generating social media platform on which I am not the consumer… I’m the product. Yick. I may need to rethink even this. lol

Snail mail, anyone?

I have been writing letters lately – a bit like the “elderly aunt” I seem to be becoming, slowly, over time. Hell, I’m okay with that. 🙂 I write a lot of email. I receive far less, but it’s not likely that a handful of emails and letters can provide a societal course correction in any detectable way. In my own experience, though, it’s quite a lovely relief from the fuss and bother, and anxiety, of a life in which every possible moment is “connected” via social media. That’s not really being connected at all, as it turns out. We’re all just shouting our opinions at each other, and sharing the ones that agree with our position, hoping to be rewarded with attention, with likes, with clicks, with a boost in personal status, or a large collection of “friends” or followers. How is that not toxic as fuck? lol

There is much less bullshit and drama in a life that is mostly pretty starved of social media. 🙂 Maybe take it for a test drive? If you were born in any year after about 1980, chances are good most of your life has been tangled up in the digital world. Take care of yourself if you do a really serious digital detox; you may be surprised to discover how actually dependent on it you are. Social media has some very drug-like qualities, and you may even be an addict. Be kind to yourself. Be patient.

I laugh for a minute. Quitting wasn’t anything like easy, and the world is just… yeah. My bank uses hashtags on their social media posts. Some of the merchants I do business with have specials that are only presented using digital coupons. Some of the artists and craftsman whose work I favor have contests that require “liking”, “subscribing” and sharing of social media items. It’s everywhere. I still walked away, because I’d rather live very authentically in the real world, such as it is, rather than become a (cognitively) fat shapeless media-fed caterpillar… without at least knowing what I will become, later on. (Pretty sure it won’t be a lovely butterfly of emotional wellness… just saying.) 😉

I finish my coffee. My thoughts continue to rattle around in my consciousness. I’ll spend time on my meditation cushion this morning, making a point to let all of this go, before I begin again, here, alive, awake, and aware, a solitary human being living in the world. ❤

A rose in my garden. You can’t smell it from a picture, or feel its silky petals – that’s only available in the world. 😉