A bundle of three sticks

All your powers, and all your skills

Aged Rum on the Rocks

There is no way I could possibly do any of the things I do for my sanity if not for my sister and mom watching the kid on the weekends. And my sister has a full-time job and two rambunctious boys of her own.

Doubt she’d approve of any of my weekend extra-curricular activities but she helps me anyway.

She used to have a picture of the three of us – her, my brother, and me – with a quote from an Aesop’s Fable about how twigs can be broken but three twigs in a bundle cannot.

I liked that picture. Both for the quote and because I looked good in it.

Funny – the only thing that survives my pathos is my vanity.

My dad’s back in the ER.

With Alison, my brother was a huge help as he was a doctor. He answered every crazy question I had for him at all hours of the day. He insisted on being here for Alison when he knew her time was coming.

And now, he does the same for my father. Dunno how much sleep he gets.

I’m reminded of a scene in the Godfather – both the book and the film – where Vito Corleone tells the undertaker Bonasera, I want you to use all your powers, and all your skills. I don’t want his mother to see him this way …. Look how they massacred my boy…

I used all my research skills to try to save Alison and my father.

And my brother used all his medical knowledge to do the same. All with the same result.

I also used all my legal skills for the dirty work of getting together everything I needed to take care of Alison when she was here and after she was gone.

Last week, poured myself a stiff drink, sat down at my computer, and drew up the paperwork I had for Alison, took out her name, and typed in my father’s. Then I edited them for his needs, went to his bed and went through everything with him.

It’s a fraction of what my brother does for him but took all the strength I had left. Which is not much.

Me: Sign here. And here. Initial here. I have to notarize that now, Dad. Wait…OK.
Him: (tired) Is there a lot more?
Me: Not a lot. (clearing throat) We’re almost done.

Then came back here and drank myself silly. Spent the rest of the night in a daze.

Daisy: Are you OK?
Me: No. (thinking) Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy again. But it’s better than reality. In a way, none of this is real. You and me. All of this. The reality is, tomorrow, you go back to your job and life. And I go back to the nightmare that’s mine.
Her: Yes. (taking a drink) But that’s tomorrow…

Location: home, trying pull myself together
Mood: empty
Music: You and me, always between the lines
 Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.
Blogarama - Observations Blogs

A Family Guy

There are storms we cannot weather

My father, a cancer patient.

Me: You know, while Alison was dying, I was watching Family Guy. And while my father’s dying, I’ll be fencing and then seeing a woman for dinner.
Him: What are you going to do? You can’t be in all the time. You were in it long enough. You’re still in it.

My father’s not doing well at all. So badly that my brother flew in on a one-way ticket from California to see him as we figure out what to do next.

I see a great deal of what was going on with Alison in the end with him, and I can’t bear it. Spent 20 minutes with him the past Thursday and I couldn’t stay any longer. He barely registered that I was there.

Took a walk that was longer than the time I spent with him.

The level of grief I deal with is like staring into the sun; you can’t do it or you’ll go blind. It’s more like you glance at it and turn away quickly because it’s so unbearable.

Here, if I’m in the moment too long, I know I’ll die. Because such a large part of me wants to. To rest. But I can’t, cause I got a little human that needs me.

The main fella that teaches my particular form of fencing invited me to a seminar over the weekend. Good buncha like-minded guys. He and another instructor pulled me aside and said some incredibly kind things to me.

Been there once before; the last time I went, Alison was still alive and my dad was fine.

Was only able to go to the first Friday class when I had to come back.

Gradgirl was there when I returned home.

We ended up walking in the park. I’d not been there since Alison passed.

Me: There’s a song in Les Miserables that goes, “There are storms we cannot weather.” Some days I think I can weather this, most nights, I don’t know. (thinking) You know, in the Bible, there’s a story that goes like this: King David’s son was sick. So he refused to eat, cried, and prayed. But his son died. So he picks himself up, gets dressed, and eats. And his servants ask, “What’s the deal? When he was alive you wept and starved. Now that he’s dead, you’re fine.” And David said, “I’m not fine. I thought maybe God would show me some mercy. But he didn’t. My boy can’t come back to me, but I can go to him. Until then, I have to live.” That’s where I am right now. I know I have to live. I just don’t know how.
Her: I wish I could say something. I don’t know what to say.
Me: What can anyone say? The other line from from that song goes, “I prayed that God would be forgiving.” For my family, he wasn’t. He f___ked us. I had my own family once. But it was only for five days. And now, I lose the only other family I ever had.

Location: another goddamn hospital
Mood: dark
Music: we will live the years together. But there are dreams that cannot be
 Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.
Blogarama - Observations Blogs

Constant Daze

Hoping for an empty mailbox

Empty street in Brooklyn

Gradgirl: I’m worried about you being home alone, drinking like this. Is the other girl free?
Me: Funny you bring her up…

My mailbox was empty today. Usually, most days, there’s some new awfulness for me to deal with.

Invoices for things I’d never wish for anyone to pay, letters of condolences from banks, overdue notices – all death-related s___t.

There’s so much death-related s___t that greets you after you lose someone by way of a ceaseless stream of banal horrors: Letters, email, voicemail.

For those new to my blog, prior to Alison getting sick, I don’t think I ever cursed in over a decade here. And now my days and this blog are an endless stream of profanities. Cause it helps deal with the constant pain.

Speaking of constant pain, that’s what my father’s dealing with.

So, while I got an empty mailbox today, I also had to deal with things for him.

I can’t interact with him too long; can’t handle the cumulative sadness of everything. It bears down on my soul, like the sky on Atlas’s shoulders.

Feels weird complaining about anything as my dad lies somewhere out there, nearing his end.

And yet, I just want a break from this misery. Even if it’s only an empty mailbox and a day devoid of just another helping of s__t by way of electronic device.

Summer Street Fair in the Upper West Side

Although I do get some respite here and there.

Artistgirl dropped out of this story but Daisy and Gradgirl are still around; both are sweetly concerned about my well-being and check in on me more than I woulda expected them to.

In addition to the company, they also provide me with some much needed levity along the way.

Daisy: You gave me “Daisy” as a name?! Why “Daisy?”
Me: Well, you said that New York puts you in a constant daze so…
Her: Oh. My. God. You’re a writer and that’s the best you could come up with for me?
Me: OK, maybe not my best work…
Her: (goes to fridge pulls out two of three remaining beers, putting one into her bag) I’m taking these.
Me: You know, the other girl brings me vodka and you take my beer.
Her: (mouth agape, glares) So rude! You never compare a girl to another girl, Logan!
Me: Man, I’m….
Her: (opens fridge again, takes last beer) Well, you just lost your last beer.
Me: Dammit!

My son chasing after a ball

And I did have a moment of pure joy today, too. My son came back from a week away.

Me: Hey! Gimme a hug, you!
Son: (laughs, hugs me)
Me: God, I’ve missed you so much, kid. (kisses him, sighs) I’ve missed you.

Location: home, with the boy again
Mood: just…bad
Music: It seems a heavy choice to make
 Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.
Blogarama - Observations Blogs

So, I’m not ready for weddings

Especially not her wedding

Rose: So, did you clean up at the wedding?
Me: No, not even close. I *grossly* underestimated how emotional it would be to (a) go to any wedding, let alone (b) the wedding of the woman that came every Wednesday to give Alison food.

My goal has been to cry less than five times a day. Most days, manage to keep it under three. Some days it’s just once. Those’re rare but welcome.

Cause a body gets tired of crying all the goddamn time.

A few months ago, told you about a woman named Annabel that cooked for us every Wednesday for over a year. Well, she just got married this past weekend.

It started pretty well. Hopped on the metro and sat next to a young lady wearing all white. I’ve been wearing all black since the day Alison passed.

Asked her to take a picture with me.

Lady in White, Man in Black

Then I got to the place in pretty good time and pretty good spirits.

But promptly lost it when Annabel saw me and gave me a hug. She looked beautiful, of course.

Reminded me of Alison on our wedding day.

Lemme tell you: I coulda died the day I saw I Alison on our wedding day and woulda died a happy man.

Wedding ceremony in Brooklyn

But I digress. Annabel sees me in the middle of taking pictures at the front of the ceremony and gives me a hug.

So there’s Annabel in her wedding gown – and she’s like the only soul I know there – hugging me in the middle of everything and I lose it.

Like I’m 10 and someone took my security blanket away. Which, I suppose, is kinda what happened.

Anywho, her entire family came over to try and console me.

Her mom: We pray for you.
He: I don’t believe he listens.

Turns out that, my max for not crying was about 30 minutes at a time. And I didn’t think to bring tissues so I’m running to the bathroom every half-hour.

Pretty sure some attendees thought I had food poisoning. (Food was great, BTW – I may have cleaned off an entire tray of steak myself)

After all that, I needed a drink. But it was a dry wedding. So I went with two people I met there for a beer around the way.

Beer at a Biergarten

Later on, another woman, who caught me during cry number six or so, told me she had whiskey in a flask and gave me some of that.

Told the bride and groom that I wished them every good thing, which I did and do.

Me: (to groom) My married life was the happiest time in my life. (choking) I hope it is for you too.

Jon, Annabel, and Logan

Left early and made it home by 11PM.

The next day, a friend of mine – who just got married herself not that long ago and knows about my single life – asked me how it went so I told her, per the convo above.

Rose: You need to meet some old family-money type girls. Like trust fund babies.
Me: Yeah, these looks aren’t gonna last forever – especially in my advanced old age. I’m time limited.
Her: (laughing) Botox.
Me: I’ll have to botox my entire head. 

Wedding arch in daytime in Brooklyn

The truth is that that’s not the entire story of the night.

And Gradgirl stopped by over the weekend but these are other stories for other times, I suppose.

Waitress: Do you want to start with some drinks?
Me: Oh, yes.

Picture of a Polaroid
That’s sweet tea and whiskey, courtesy of a prepared young woman.

 

Location: home, drinking again
Mood: back to being heartbroken
Music: all out of love, I’m so lost without you
 Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.
Blogarama - Observations Blogs

Go nuts

You can’t just eat peanut butter all day


My son is definitely my kid.

When my mother-in-law stayed with me, she marveled that I ate an entire jar of peanut butter every 4-5 days. Nate may beat me.

Me: Kid, you can’t just eat peanut butter all the time…
Son: (refuses to eat dinner, throws it)
Me: (exasperated) You can’t…you can’t just eat…nevermind. (sighs, goes to kitchen) I give up. Here (handing him a spoon , bowl, and an open jar) go nuts.
Him (takes spoon, beams)
Me: Not literally nuts, per se – a peanut is a legume. (shakes head) Man, I hope you’re a nice, nerdy kid when you grow up.
Him: (smiles)

Was planning on seeing some other friends in Harlem for the fights on Saturday when I got a call.

Daisy: I’m thinking of coming over later.
Me: What if I have plans?
Her: You’ll break them for me.
Me: Dammit, this is true. (thinking) OK, bring food cause I got nuthin but rum, peanut butter, and baby food.

Location: home, in front of some peanut butter
Mood: resigned
Music: Oh no – having trouble finding out which way to go
 Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.
Blogarama - Observations Blogs

Logan Music: Ghost of Goodbye

She used to pick out my shirts

Logan and Alison out to dinner

Spend my nights writing, sipping rum, listening to songs that make me cry, and looking through old pictures.

I’ve become such a cliche.

The writing is random, the pictures like the one above and the songs are like She’s Gone covered by the Bird and the Bee, Everyday is a Holiday, and Her Diamonds.

Probably not the healthiest thing to be doing right now but it is what it is.

The song I’ve been listening to the most these days is Ghost of Goodbye, by Ford Turrell, which is about right except I drink rum not whiskey, unless it’s an Old Fashioned.

But yeah, otherwise, it’s about right.

Alison always loved when I wore a simple, pressed, white shirt.

Rings on the table
From the sweat off my glass
Like the trace of a memory
Stained into the past

Whiskey and water
Burns the back of my throat
For a minute it lets me
Let it all go

CHORUS:
Can’t leave it behind me
It haunts my mind
When I try to fall asleep
It’s laying right by my side
There’s no place to hide
From the ghost of goodbye

Grey like morning
Clouds filled with rain
Like everything’s waiting
For something to change

I sip some more coffee
And get dressed for work
Remember when you used
To pick out my shirts

Location: home, alone
Mood: struggling still
Music: There’s no place to hide from the ghost of goodbye
 Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.
Blogarama - Observations Blogs

Seeing people after two years, Pt 1

Wish it turned out differently.

Wrote this exactly one month after she passed. Still can’t believe she’s gone.

The kid was away for a week so I could continue doing all the admin stuff I needed to do. Like close out her bank accounts. Most were fine.

Bank of America was not. BoA was the worst. Call up their estate number (888.689.4466) and you’ll see what I mean; was on hold for a total of four hours over three phone calls.

Gotta figure that anyone calling their estate number is probably in the same mental situation as me so that shows how much priority they place on their customers.

/rant

The kid away meant that I could see friends.

Again, my life stopped some time in September 2015 because Alison and I just wanted to enjoy being expectant parents.

With the exception of my gym buddies, stopped seeing all my friends then.

Saw one group of friends early in the week that took me out for some Cuban-Chinese around the way. Ended up drinking until about 1:30AM.

Me: Get out.
Her: I gotta crash here.
Him: I gotta crash here too.
Me: OK, fine. Nobody throw up.

Before my liver had a chance to recover, saw my college friends. My old safe harbor.

They all came out at a moment’s notice.

Me: Last minute but the kid’s away if anyone is free for dinner and a drink.
Them: Wherever you want, Logan.

They brought me out to eat at KTown and drinks afterward; didn’t get home until after midnight.

Another Korean Stew

They all donated to Alison and gave me a pretty massive check made out to the kid to boot.

Me: It’s too much, fellas.
Him: You’d do the same for us.
Me: That’s what you think.
Group: (laughs)

They’ve known me 25 years. That’s how old we are.

Me: It’s hard for me to explain what’s going on in my head. I feel like I was just at your wedding. And we were all just at Bobby’s funeral. There are so many things I don’t remember. I can’t believe what I’ve been doing the past two years.
Him: It’s probably a survival mechanism. You don’t want to remember everything that happened.
Me: You’re right. I really don’t. (sorrowfully) Just wish it all turned out differently.
Him: (patting me on back and clearing throat) We all wish that for you, man.

Location: Soberville. It sucks here too.
Mood: still heartbroken, of course
Music: never felt so alone in my life
 Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.
Blogarama - Observations Blogs

My Bobby Pin Monster

Being hit all the time

Have you ever been hit in the solar plexus?

When I was a kid, got hit there a buncha times. What happens when you get hit there is that your diaphragm spasms and you can’t breathe at all.

You get lightheaded and double over, fall to your knees, and/or pass out.

Find myself regularly feeling something similar for a variety of reasons.

When I got those emails from my neighbor, for example, I had that feeling.

Just got it last night while (still) trying to clean up.

Alison used to joke with me that I’d never just put things back where I found them when I took them out.

I’d retort that I was always finding her long hair as well as random bobby pins everywhere.

There’s a table we have that still has Christmas decorations on it. Finally found the strength to start cleaning it when I found two bobby pins behind a basket.

And I felt that same hit in my solar plexus I felt as a kid and had to sit down. I haven’t seen her hair anywhere in over a year.

This was probably the last time I’d ever find bobby pins from her ever again.

So much for cleaning any more that day.

I can’t handle all the unexpected hits all the time.

Can’t handle being hit all the time. It’s slow torture.

 

April 2014…

Her: Is that a jar of peanut butter next to the bed?
Me: … No?
Her: Why is there a jar of peanut butter in the bedroom?!
Me: It’s probably the same creature that sheds bobby pins all over the place.
Her: (laughing) Great, we have a peanut-butter eating monster made up of bobby pins somewhere in the house.

\’

Location: in front of a donut and rum, the breakfast of champions
Mood: struggling still
Music: taken more hits than a world war blitz
 Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.
Blogarama - Observations Blogs

Hope springs eternal

The crazy continues


Was at the police station last week because this mentally disturbed religious nut of a neighbor sent me this long insane email that crushed me with it’s cruelty and pretty sick use of Alison’s passing.

Me: So you can’t actually do anything unless she physically assaults me? Did you read the sick things she wrote?
Policewoman: Yes. But she has to actually take a physical step before we can do anything.
Me: Ma’am, if she physically assaults me, one of us is gonna have a really bad day and it’s probably not gonna be me.

Then I went to see my dad at the hospital, which was excruciating.

All-in-all, a pretty soul-crushing Father’s Day Weekend.

Did write Leigh’s husband to ask him how he dealt with the loss and he wrote me back this long and incredibly kind message. He survived the blow, somehow. I know I have to as well.

For now, I wait for 8PM to come every night so I can have my one drink and pharmaceuticals and hope tomorrow is a better day.

No luck yet, but hope springs eternal, yeah?

Him: How’re you doing tonight?
Me: Same as yesterday.
Him: Consistency is good.
Me: (shrugging) Everything is consistently craptastic so I just go with it.

\’

Location: underwater
Mood: still broken
Music: here I stand, as a broken man
 Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.
Blogarama - Observations Blogs

Pillowcases

Doing things I gotta but don’t wanna, for reasons I never expected


I don’t know where my pillowcases go.

Alison always did the laundry, folded everything, and put everything away. It wasn’t because it was woman’s work, it’s just that she liked her laundry done a certain way. That was the deal: She did what she was good at and/or wanted to do and I did the same.

I did almost all the cooking, she did almost all the cleaning. It was perfect: She hated to cook, I hated to clean.

When I told my mom that she passed, my mom cried, of course. But she also said, It’s so sad. You were so perfect for each other. You two were the same person.

That’s true. She was a complete person when we met. I was a complete person when we met. But when we got together, while we were complete, we were better. It’s why she was my person.

And now I’m worse. I’m doing things I gotta but don’t wanna, for reasons I never expected.

That’s why every little thing hurts so. It’s like someone took my left arm away.

Did the laundry two days ago. A mountain of it. Folded it as she would have liked. Kinda. And put away what I could. Had to call my mother-in-law to find out where to put the pillowcases and other things.

I’m a stranger to things in my own house.

Which is apropos, I suppose; everything is stranger in general.


My dad is not well. Wish I could see him more often but I can’t leave the kid and don’t want to bring him to the hospital.

And the truth be told, I don’t have the mental and emotional capacity to face that right now. I know I’ll have to at some point.

For now, trying to be as normal as I can for the kid.

Whatever that means.

Location: my strange home
Mood: the same
Music: You got a beautiful soul that I’m blessed to have known
 Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.
Blogarama - Observations Blogs