Grief can be fatal

The boy’s first picture

If there was a single moment that captured everything about my cleaning out Alison’s closet, it was when I found her Filofax, opened it, and something fluttered out.

For those of you that didn’t know her personally, this was a rarity. Because she was the single most organized and clean person I knew. Nothing fluttered out of anything when she was here because she always put everything away where it belonged.

But what fluttered out was a sonogram of the boy. Our first picture of him.

I remember walking into the room one day and catching her staring at it with a look of such love. Realize now that she musta taken out that sonogram a million times to just stare at her son.

Several friends and acquaintances have recently had babies. While I’m thrilled for them, it reminds me how much we’ve lost.

And I don’t think anyone except a mother could truly understand what must have gone through her mind when she was told she had cancer and would die.

Do you know the very first fucking thing she said to me was? Not about herself or even the cancer. It was,

I won’t see him grow up?

She cried for 24 hours straight after that. I didn’t think a body could cry so much. It was only five days after he was born. Fuck all.

Goddammit. Just typing that hit the pain button full-on and I’m trying not to be a basketcase.

So I put away the photo and try to not think about my most aching possible past.


Just watch the first four minutes. It’s worth it.

I’m putting stuff away cause, unchecked, grief can definitely be fatal. If not for Mouse and the boy, I wouldn’t be here.

In the past 45 days or so, a number of people that have been experiencing grief have reached out to me, exactly as I did to Leigh’s husband when Alison died. And like him, I’ve been trying to help as much as I can.

It’s hard. Cause I gotta dredge up things I’d rather not. But people like Leigh’s husband did that for me so I gotta do my part.

The thing is, you don’t know true grief until you feel it yourself.

And, while I wish you wouldn’t, you will, cause there’s nuthin you love that you won’t lose someday.

If you’re lucky, your grief will only be a small fraction of mine, which – trust me – is a blessing.

In fact one fella I spoke to whose wife died of cancer and left him with two boys told me, “Wow, I wouldn’t think it possible that someone had it worse; but you two’ve had it worse. I’m sorry.”

It’s a shitty achievement we’ve unlocked and one that I wished we didn’t, but, then again, I wish for a lotta things.

In any case, whenever I speak to someone about their grief, I’m reminded of the kid that said that I shoulda moved on after a year. As the video notes, you never move on; you move forward.

Evilly, I used to wish that she’d feel my grief for herself – like I said, I’m not a good person – but I was different then.

Now I just feel pity for her cause she’s just a dumb kid that’s never dealt with it. For better or worse, she will feel it one day, and I don’t think she’s equipped to deal with it.

I barely was. I barely am.

Now, I did promise Alison that I’d be here to take care of her son.

I didn’t mean it then. But I do now. I do. Really. Although there are moments that take your breath away, and not in the good way.

Me: Goodnight, kiddo.
Boy: Mommy’s sick.
Me: What?
Him: She’s sick. She died. She won’t get better.
Me: (dumbstruck)
Him: I love mommy. But she died.
Me: (fuck me) Get some sleep.


As I was writing this, one of the two people I still mentor called me to tell me that he’s worried about cancer with his aunt that raised him.

Man, it really is the emperor of all maladies.

Location: Earlier today, midtown, wishing I had an electric scooter
Mood: thoughtful
Music: in your shirt, the pain it really hurts

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A Flying Fisherman in an Aviary in NYC

Nice Surprises


Don’t like surprises. Mine are generally of the type no one wants.

I like knowing things, so surprises are anathema to everything that I’m about.

My birthday’s next week so the Gymgirl decided that the best way to surprise me for it was to take me out beforehand. Way beforehand.

She first told me that she was going to take the boy and me out to eat and that she had two places picked out or I could choose.

Since she and I are still on a diet – and I’m super lazy – I told her I wanted to stay local, so we went to The Flying Fisherman around the way.

I ordered fish and chips just because I felt like carbing it up; the boy was only interested in the fries and, even then, only as a vehicle for the tub of ketchup they gave us.

Me: You can’t just eat ketchup!
Him: (eating just the ketchup) Why not?
Me: Because it’s pure sugar.
Him: But I like it.
Me: (sigh)

It was a nice night and we went back to my place to get the boy ready for bed. But just as we were putting him down, the doorbell rang. I went to get it and was surprised to see my babysitter at the door.

Me: (to her) What are you doing here?
The Gymgirl: (from behind) Surprise! Get dressed, quick! (the sitter laughs)

It turns out that she got us a table at The Aviary at the Mandarin Oriental. So off we went.

Me: You already did enough! This is too much.
Her: I like doing stuff for you.

We ended up having several different types of drinks, including one that looked like a bomb and tasted amazing.

Me: You know, my cousin designed this hotel.
Her: I’m not surprised. (laughs) The people you know…

She slipped the waiter her credit card when I wasn’t looking.

We were actually there over two hours and just talked. And then we walked home. It was my ideal type of evening.

Me: (arriving home) Oh, we forgot to use our headphones to listen to music on the way back.
Her: It’s fine. I liked the conversation.
Me: Thanks for everything tonight, it was perfect.
Her: (beaming) Great! I’m glad. I had a good time too.

Location: 10PM the other day, The Mandarin Oriental
Mood: relaxed
Music: It’s gotta drive you crazy, how you keep it all inside
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Non-Starters

That was the plan

Burgers and Fries at Pier I in NYC

Scene: At gym.
Me: (to Pez) You know, you’re the same age as a girl I’m hanging out with.
Chuck: (overhears in distance, laughs) “Hanging out with?” Yeah, you two are going to lectures and coffee.
Me: (to Chuck) We do – we discuss Nietzsche!
Chuck: (walking away) Suuuure.
Me: (whispering to Pez) We don’t discuss Nietzche
Pez: (laughs)

Daisy exited my Venn Diagram, recently.

Been living in the same building for close to 20 years. I’m pretty good friends with the neighboring doormen.

One of them is hinting I should marry one of the female friends/other that swing by the pad. It just makes me laugh.

Larry: Raising a kid, you need a man and woman. You loved Alison, I know. But this doesn’t have to be for love. Think of your son.

I married Alison because we looked at the world the same way. Don’t think I’ll ever find someone that looks at it quite the same way I do again.

Don’t believe in many social constructs but I do believe in marriage.

Both Daisy and Gradgirl do not, which makes them non-starters for me, among other things. Of course, I’m a non-starter for everyone.

Me: I am thinking of my son. I want him to know that if I can survive this, he can survive anything. I’m ok with being by my lonesome. And you’ve known me a long time – if I need company, I’ll find company.
Larry: You’re a father now. It’s not the same anymore, Logan.
Me: Yes. But these are the cards I was dealt, so I play them.

Daisy: Do you imagine if things were different? If I were different?
Me: I always wish everything were different. Everything but the boy.
Her: With us, I mean.
Me: (gently) There is no us, Daisy. None of this is actually real. You’re just getting over something as am I, to different degrees. I don’t want you to be someone that you’re not. That never works out. People shouldn’t have to change themselves to fit into someone else’s world.

Her: He wants to meet up again. (pause) Do you think I should go?
Me: (nodding) That was the plan, right? I was always only supposed to be just a distraction.
Her: Yes. (pause) That was the plan.

Haven’t seen her since. Maybe he’s her person and she, his. We should all be lucky enough to find our person.


Me: So it’s just you and me now. (pause) Are you ok with that? (grinning) You won’t be worried I’ll fall madly in love with you?
Gradgirl: No. I know you’re not available to me. Not like that.
Me: Well, strictly speaking, I’m not available to anyone.
Her: (laughs) I might fall for you, Logan.
Me: This is true. You’ll let me know if it happens? I’ll do the same.
Her: Don’t worry. (thinking) I could never love someone that wasn’t in love with me.
Me: (nodding) That’s how it’s supposed to be.

These are the cards we were dealt. So we play them.

Me: Morning, kid! Ready for the day?!
Son: (yawns, stretches, smiles)
Me: God, I love that face. C’mere you…

Location: with my son in my empty apartment
Mood: wondering
Music: Oh, uh oh, you’re changing your heart

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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

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Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy

Him: Think I’ll bring my wife here for some wings and beer.
Me: (surprised) Your wife’ll eat wings and drink beer? She’s so health conscious.
Him: (laughing) I think you have a misunderstanding of what we’re like.

Met up with two buddies to discuss some business ideas the other night. Found it useful cause we all have our core competencies and the other two didn’t know each other – also bringing together disparate groups of friends is always interesting.

One guy’s a former athlete that’s trained world-champions so it was fun to sit and eat greasy food with him and chat about business.

Speaking of eating stuff, back on the topic of BLBT (aka Pink Slime), turns out that it contains a total of 0.02 grams ammonia per 100 grams of meat.

According to the previous link, that’s lower than what found in peanut butter (0.049), mayo (0.041), and onions (0.027) – at least in the 1970s when this report was made.

Whenever I hear about something that’s suddenly a huge scandal and we’re supposed to be immensely concerned, I always wonder what’s real and what’s for sale?

More and more, it’s the nightly news and internet news that’s for sale, clamoring for our attention – regardless of the cost. This means entire companies shutting down and people losing their jobs in this economic time. Just so we tune in tonight.

Comedian Louis CK hit it on the head when he said, Everything is amazing right now and nobody’s happy. Think it’s partly cause people are always telling us we shouldn’t be.

Now I want a burger.

Location: surrounded by clothes
Mood: excited
Music: Hey, kids – look at this, it’s the fall of the world’s own optimist
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Yes, but it is not I

Church in NYC

My insomnia is back in a big way. Feel tired and irritable all of time. Worried that all the things I do to manage it aren’t working any more, which then keeps me up even longer. No fun.

The Professor was in town over the weekend so the wife and I went with him to the local dive bar. He’s one of my oldest friends but, oddly, we never really hung out until after college. The other funny thing’s that he was a wrestler in high school and some 20 years later, I’m trying it out.

Him: (to my wife) When I was a kid, I was a busboy at this restaurant. It was fine except one day they caught me trying a wrestling move on a bag of rice.
Me: (to my wife) That’s not what they were mad about. They were mad because he was naked and put lipstick on the bag of rice.

Old friends that make the cut are always good to have around. The problem’s that people change and you change. Sometimes the people that once mirrored you no longer do. Learned long ago, this isn’t a good thing, or a bad thing. It’s just a thing.

Coincidentally, went to church the next day and the pastor repeated a story that I wrote about over five years ago.

The story is that St. Augustine was once this womanizer who once famously prayed, da mihi castitatem et continentiam…sed noli (“Grant me chastity and continence…but not yet”). It should be noted that he’s also the patron saint of brewers, as an aside.

Anywho, he was a frequent visitor of prostitutes before he changed his life around. Afterward, he went back to visit an old place and ran into a prostitute he used to know in that biblical way. He continued on his way so she tried to get his attention for his usual and called out to him, Augustine, it is I.

To which, he replied without stopping, Yes, but it is not I.

I think I’m a better person now than I was a decade ago; actually, know I am. But to get here, had to let some people because they don’t reflect who I am any more. It’s like that Cowboy story I told you.

Sometimes you go away, sometimes they do, and sometimes people just stay. It’s how the world is and how it’s supposed to be. Accepting it’s the hardest thing, yeah?

Now if only this insomnia would go away.

———-

This is one of a few songs that plays in my head when I’m up late at night.

————

Started a Twitter feed for a project I’m planning. The account’s called MenMadeOfStone add me, follow me, etc. There’s nuthin up there right now but there will be.

I’ll tell you more in a bit.

Location: last night, in misery
Mood: guess
Music: in the morning i will wake up in the shivering cold
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Watson is Skynet / Bad Robot…bad (2)

Me: This is the beginning of Skynet. It’s like no one’s learned anything from watching Hollywood movies.
Her: For serious!

Been watching the Jeopardy series which has this computer named “Watson” going against two of the best champions the show’s ever had.

Pretty interesting to see how computers are becoming more and more human-like. Was saying to someone the other day that when I went to school, people had just started using computer on a regular basis but I graduated college having never sent a single email. This was back when messages were left via blinking light.

In all seriousness, the Skynet thing is a unnerving in the sense that something else recently happened that most American’s aren’t aware of: Predator drones are now flying in US skies, something that’s never happened before. Sure, it’s a coincidence but it’s still weird.

Am pretty excited for the future and if anyone loves their electronic doo-hickeys, it’s this bright-eyed Chinese boy.

Still, gotta force myself outta the house and take a walk more often; just did that yesterday.

The real world, especially New York City, doesn’t really care if y’interact with it or not.

Her: Today was a good day for you.
Me: Why is that?
Her: Well, we made out, we had pizza, and you got to watch a computer compete against a person.
Me: Two people!

———-

Can’t believe this was four years ago – deserves another look:

Location: in fronta glowing things like always
Mood: artistic
Music: And how the days have flown too few & fast
YASYCTAI: Take a walk for lunch. (30 minutes/1 pt)
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Yes? Yes.

(no, there’s no sound)

Me: Hi there.
Her: (looking through camera) I got you.
Me: (laughing) Alright. Point it down.
Her: I have your entire head in the frame.
Me: OK
Her: (four seconds later) OH! (laughs)
Me: Yes?
Her: Yes.

Location: 15 mins ago, having drinks@28th and Park
Mood: content
Music: Don’t you understand? I already have a plan
YASYCTAI
: Consider stopping this blog. We’re home, after all. (60 mins/2 pts)

Fatty of my own

Maybe someday

Townhouse in the Upper West Side, NY

 

Walked down to Times Square from the UWS to catch the da Vinci exhibit.

That’s a whole entry there but just lemme say that: (a) there was a time when religion, science, and art went together and (b) it strikes me as really strange that the same country that gave us da Vinci gave us the people on the Jersey Shore.

Speaking of giving us people, Bryson came by with his fatty today and she was the cutest thing. Make’s me think about having a kid myself. Then again, can barely take care of George and Harold. Still, think all guys start thinking about cranking out a few rug rats roundabout this time.

As I told you before, Bryson’s no joke – took the bronze at the Pan-Americans. But something about a kid mellows a fella out.

Cooked him up some wings and we kicked back a beer as she drooled happily all over him.

Then had dinner with a buddy that owns this jaw-dropping 4,400 SF pad and four kids a few blocks from me.

It’s cool, seeing your friends become men.

Like I said, maybe I’ll get a fatty of my own some day.

Location: three blocks away
Mood: stuffed
Music: Sleep tonight And may your dreams Be realized

Tom, Helen, Paris, and Ray

Location: four hours ago, in a Honda driving home
Mood: busy
Music: Bad news comes don’t you worry even when it lands

Don’t come, it was two years ago (whoa) – I’m not at my place and don’t have a pic for this entry so I’m reposting – you can watch it at 72canal.com if you want.

Me: What do you think it is?
Her: (thinking) I think it’s a self-selecting industry. I mean, you have to be somewhat greedy and self-centered to enter the profession. So when you give a bunch of greedy, self-centered people a ton of money, is anyone really surprised when they give themselves million-dollar bonuses for “retention” even though there’s no job for them to go to?

Normally I never write anything political but I just gotta say this.

The problem with tossing out all these numbers like million, billion and trillion is that they all kinda sound the same – lemme put it in some perspective:

  • A million seconds ago, was 11 days, 20 hours, 4 minutes and 4 seconds ago. I was still a 35-year old nobody.
  • A billion seconds ago, was 31 years, 8 months, 6 days. I was a 3-year old nobody.
  • A trillion seconds ago, was 31,688 years 269 days 17 hours 34 minutes 25 seconds. Nobody was anybody.

Y’know that quote from Edison? He was asked how it felt failing all those times while making the lightbulb – he replied, I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

There’s this insane fear of failure. And it is very, very insane. Spending a lotta A‘s dough, to bail out B just seems wrong to me. Even worse, spending that much money, knowing, knowing that they’re just going to spend it on themselves, as they have before, is just more insanity.

The worst part is that it keeps happening and the economy keeps getting worse.

Rough times cut away the fat of our lives to see the muscle underneath. I truly believe that. Failure and death are ugly things but ugly things are part of the natural course of the world.

I meet so many young people that think spending coin’s the way to solve things. It isn’t.

The world needs more people like Helen Keller who have nothing and made something of themselves and less people like Paris Hilton who have everything and make nothing of themselves.

YASYCTAI: Read about Ray Kroc. He was a failure until he was 50-something. Then he wasn’t. (60 mins/1 pt)