Category Archives: Family

I can’t seem to let it go

I’ve started this entry three times now, and can’t seem to get the words right, so I’ll just get to the heart of it–Myrtle Beach is one of my favorite places to be. It’s the location of countless good times with loved ones, days on the beach, seashells and sand and shopping and delicious food I don’t have to cook. And it pulls out my sorrow like no other place on earth.

It’s the last place I actually spent time with Chris, before his brutal fall into depression. He was happy. On top of the world. He’d just moved out on his own, was working his dream job, and was generally looking forward with confidence. Or so I thought. I don’t think Chris ever fooled himself, even if he fooled everyone else. It was always there, waiting, and he knew it. But that’s not what I’m here for.

We had a great week, that April of 2015. The weather kind of sucked, but we sat on the beach anyway, went to the hot tubs, the pool. We took him to the aquarium, not realizing it was kind of for little kids. It was ridiculously fun anyway. When the week was done, we took him home. Little more than a month later, he’d crashed completely. He quit his job, left his apartment, and came home. And then he was gone.

Myrtle Beach is a bittersweet place for me now. I always have fun. I always look forward to it. It’s still one of my favorite places to be. Yet I don’t get through a day without memory falling and grief slapping me across the face so hard my eyes tear. The billboard for the aquarium, a chilly day at the beach, the New Balance store at the outlet mall–kapow.

I had Gracie all to myself for a whole week this time, for the first time since…I can’t even say, and it was amazing beyond words. She makes things better, my girl. And yet I couldn’t help being sad sometimes. I tried not to show it, but she always knew.

One night, at the tail end of the week, I dreamed of Chris. We were in town for some big event, lots of people all around, and I spotted him getting a drink at a water fountain. My mouth dropped open. I called his name. He turned, smiled and came my way. There was an air of impatience about him, but he pulled me into those massive arms and held me so tight. Chris had this thing, he’d hug tighter, a beat longer than anticipated. This time, I held him just as long, just as tight. “I knew you couldn’t leave me,” I told him. He only smiled, let me go, and headed back off into the crowd.

He knew I was sad. He knew why. And even though he’s off on  his bear-dreaming adventures, he came back to hug me. His turtle.

I write this with tears in my eyes and the weight of his hug still lingering across my shoulders. I wasn’t going to record it here, but like my sorrow called him back from his travels, his hug led me here until I wrote it all down. I guess he wanted credit for his long trip back.

That’s my boy.

Myrtle Beach

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On Being Strong

I just read Jamie’s article, Motherhood Has Changed My Idea of Strength. I got halfway through the article, saw the pic of her in the red leather jacket, braces, unibrow, and lost it completely. A great sob rose out of me, and then I laughed, and then I called her and told her she was a beast of a child for doing that to me.

How I adore her.

I’ve been a big mush about my kids the last week or so. I have my ups and downs. Most of my downs are quiet, kept to myself, and brief. But Jamie, Scott, Grace–they’ve seemed especially attuned this week, because I got random texts, an invite to tea, phone call out of the blue, always at the exact right moment to derail the sorrow creeping through me.

How I adore them.

In Jamie’s article, she writes: Motherhood will swallow you if you’re not strong, and it’s easy to see how and why. We fling ourselves into it, we want to do it well, and, often, we like it. This frequently means putting the needs of our children and others before ours. That can look strong — taking on absolutely everything for someone else — and, in its own way, it is. But it’s not sustainable without a cost, and that toll is ourselves as individuals. When we do that all the time, to the detriment of our own interests, limits, and desires, we become a background player in our own lives. It takes courage to pull ourselves back and assert time and space for ourselves.”

Jamie once told me that one of the greatest things I ever taught her was that I am a person. An individual. I have interests and desires and aspirations outside of my family. I wasn’t sure if she ever understood how hard that was to do, until now. It may be the hardest part of my experience as a mother, because my instinct put them first. Always. And partly because of that, I wanted all my children to know that they, too, are individual beings with interests and desires and aspirations outside of their families. If I sacrificed everything I am to be everything for them, what would they do when it was their turn?

It was exceedingly hard for me to be “selfish.” I come from a long line of selfless mothers whose entirety was comprised of their children, their children’s children, and so on. Identities were not a “thing.” They were someone’s daughter, someone’s wife, someone’s mother, grandmother. I claimed my individuality for my kids, especially for my girls. But first and foremost, I did it for me. I always hoped they knew that. I think I can safely say, now, they do.

I raised individuals. Kind. Compassionate. Open-minded, always-learning, often stubborn individuals. They don’t go along to get along. Their drummers not only have their own beat, but an entirely different song. I didn’t do everything right; I’ll assume my kids laugh behind my back about all the things they survived despite my bumbling or backwardness or simple lack of knowledge. But I got this right. So right. And, damn, I’m really proud.

JSG

 

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Bear Dreaming

     I dreamed a bear came to my window. It was dark; his teeth were the first thing I saw, only making out bear’s huge outline after. He first appeared at my bedroom window (south), then my front porch window (west). Last he came to look in my kitchen window (east) and was gone, leaving, I felt but did not see, from the north.
     I know the science behind dreaming, but, “There is no cognitive state that has been as extensively studied and yet as misunderstood as much as dreaming.”  I dream and know my brain is processing events into memory. I dream and know it’s trying to work through thoughts and feelings I’m struggling with. I dream and know my inner storyteller is at work. And then there are those dreams that seem like more. Maybe I just want them to be, but It’s my brain; I get to decide.
     This dream felt like more.
     I’ve read several “meanings” for bear, and they all differ slightly, but the gist is strength, leadership, and taking conscious control of your future. It’s powerful symbolism that could well fit with my life right now. But that’s really secondary to the fact that Bear is also Chris.
     He always associated with bears. He was a big guy, often misunderstood. He once wrote a story about a grizzly bear who befriended all the little animals being picked on by the bigger ones. In it, the grizzly was sad because, though he loved the little animals, he wanted to be friends with everyone else, too. He didn’t want anyone to be scared of him, not even the bullies.
     Christofer’s little boy love of bears morphed into aspirations of being a biologist studying bears in the wild. It was his whole life. After the accident, it was his impetus to regain the use of his leg. He worked so hard. He endured so much pain. The leg just wouldn’t mend. But he didn’t give up. We took him for a college visit his junior year in high school–Paul Smith’s College up in NY State, his goal still intact. Once there, he had to face the fact that his dream was well and truly done. Getting to his “classrooms” required several mile hikes over rough terrain. He had enough trouble getting from class to class in high school to know it wasn’t happening. He had to let it go.
     But his love of bears never quit. When he started working Girl Scout Camp (archery), he chose the name Grizzly for his camp name. He had a bear paw tattooed on his biceps. When I asked him to choose a charm for my bracelet to represent him, it was, of course, a bear.
     So naturally, the bear in my dream was Christofer. I’ve said before that sometimes I dream of him and it’s just a dream, other times it feels more like a visit. That he came to windows south, east and west felt significant, but I had no idea what that significance could be. It dogged me all day. Finally, I wrote to my friend, a biologist with a witch’s soul, and asked her if she had any insight.
     As some reading this might recall, the dollbabies use Medicine Cards every year as a tool to ground us in the week. I won’t go into all that, but it’s pertinent to the response my friend sent. This is what she responded:
SOUTH: “The South is the Path of Trust and Innocence and is sometimes referred to as the Way of the Child – the part of us that can establish relationships through faith, trust, and innocence….The South is the direction to help you see things in clear detail and to begin to perceive your own nature….In the South you are going to rid yourself of the encumbrances that obscure your true self and prevent you from seeing your own self in its true light.”
WEST: “…the emphasis of the West is on change and transition. It is also where we have to face the truth about Death, and to recognize that every change is the death of what has gone before. Death is a transition to that which is a new beginning….[in the West] we can prepare for renewal.”
EAST: “When the adventurer comes to the East, a realization begins to dawn – the realization that living is meant to be enjoyed, not suffered or endured. Life is intended to be pleasurable….East is the direction of fresh, vibrant energy – the kind that can seemingly work miracles. It is the place for undergoing self-renewal…”
(From The Medicine Way by Kenneth Meadows)
I responded back to her:
That the bear appeared first South (trust, innocence, the way of the child etc) feels, to me, like Chris was announcing himself, telling me, “MOM! It’s me!” Big and strong and fierce, but still his sweet self. That was ever Chris. Fearsome to behold, all mush inside. But he was outside (in all sightings), telling me that the barrier between where he is and where I am is flimsy, but impassable.
Bear next appeared West. Change, transition. This speaks to both recent events in my life as well as bear’s opinion of it. Like he was saying, “Mom! It’s me!” he’s also saying, “Mom, I’m dead. You have to accept that.” It’s time to accept his death, and that holding on to the past is only holding us BOTH back.
Bear then moves East. Living is meant to be enjoyed. Renewal. Joy. And that it is also my kitchen–the heart of my home–speaks volumes.
But Bear left North open, and I feel that’s the direction he chose to go.  I’m curious to know what North means, within this same cannon.
Her response back to me:
“In the North we ‘stop the world,’ we silence the chatter and confusion of the airwaves all around us and come into harmony with the creation from which we have been isolated…[the North] is also a place of Purification and Renewal in preparation for new beginnings – for ‘rebirth.'”
     There is so much more within those meanings, and my dream. We dream, and those we remember, we interpret–or let go. I choose not to let this go. Not when it speaks to me so brilliantly. Silencing the chatter and confusion was everything Chris strove for those last years of his too-short life. To be one with everything, like the grizzly bear from his story. Bear went north to his new beginning free from those things that cost him this life, here, with his family. It’s time to move on. We both know that. But I’ve been clinging so hard to things, to a way of life, to a home, to him. It’s all encompassing, the imprint he’s left, that imprint I make bigger and bigger every day. It has come to a point that there isn’t an inch of this house, this yard, I don’t associate with him. Four of our children  lived here, made this home–and yet I’m having a hard time recalling memories of them. They’ve become secondary characters in this story of our life in the log house, on the river, in the mountains. How many kinds of wrong is that?
     Bear came to me, from all directions but north, because that is where he was going. “I have to go, Mama, and you can’t follow here.” Bear gave me permission to let go of all I have been clinging to, to make my own way out of the crushing grief that has been burying me without me noticing. I don’t care if it sounds silly, I believe it with all my heart.
bear

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The Weight of This House

I first stepped foot onto this property a little more than fifteen years ago. It was dusk. There was no driveway. Just an undeveloped two acres of wildflowers, forest, and the river. Thrills ran up the back of my neck, prickled my brain. “This is where I’m going to die.”

Beside me, Chris said, “So am I.”

He was eleven. All that was to come was still years away, not even a momentary consideration of a path on our horizon. I laughed. “I sure hope you’re not still living with us by then!”

I don’t remember exactly his response, but he said something about it being his house by then. We were moving into this new adventure, into this dream come true–a log home on the river, in the woodsy mountains, in this town we love–with every expectation of those in the prime of life with nothing but more good stuff coming our way.

Things don’t always turn out the way we anticipate. The weight of this house and all its echoes rests so heavily on me now.

ambivalent: n. in psychology, ambivalence is defined as the mental disharmony or disconnect a person feels when having both positive and negative reactions regarding the same individual, situation, or object.

This is what I am. I want to leave here so badly, leave behind this shattered dream, this too big house, the expense, the echoes of all the good and bad that happened here. But the thought of leaving rips me apart. How can I leave this beautiful piece of land, this house I dreamed of all my life? How can I leave Chris’ tree, the roof he built, the splatters on the wall from the chemical explosion that stunk up my house for days? How can I stay with those things, and not feel the weight of them forever? I want to go. I want to stay.

We need to go.

This house is too big. The property, too much. With Frank possibly retiring, our expenses need to narrow down to what we need, while still having some semblance of the life we’ve worked so hard to live. I WANT small. Cozy. A place just mine and his. No echoes of kids’ laughter in the rafters, or bangs in the night that meant catastrophe had fallen…again. I know this is right. And yet…

Ambivalence at its most visceral. It hurts. And it’s heavy. And I need to let it go. I know that underneath all the churning in my gut, my heart, my brain. In writing this, all that churning makes the computer screen blur and my flying fingers skip keys.

I know it’s right.

I know it’s right.

It’s time for a new adventure. We just have to take that leap.

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Deifying the Dead

Saint Anthony. That’s what I call my late-father-in-law whenever my husband waxes poetic about his wonderful dad. He was a good man, he had a good heart. He could also be an ass of epic proportions. He didn’t believe in sparing the rod, or spoiling the child. “Love them while their sleeping” was one of his catch phrases, whenever I hugged my children in his presence. He was also a raging misogynist.

But he visited every Sunday, and brought the kids donuts or lollipops. Jamie and Scottie were his grandchildren from day one. I loved him. We all did.

Just like I don’t downplay my brilliance or deny my less than stellar traits, neither will I do so for my beloved dead. Loving a person means doing so because of and despite their many quirks.

But today? I’m going to deify my beloved dead just a little bit, because it’s so very easy to remember the turmoil, and the sorrow they caused.

I see Brian every time I look at our GrandWilliam. The swing of his hair. The dimple in his chin. I know Will looks just like his daddy at that age, but I see what I see. I imagine the child Brian was, because I raised his son and now watch our grandson sometimes wander sometimes rage through his days. Sensitive. Sweet. Prone to indecision. Affectionate. I remember this Brian so well, and lovingly.

And Chris.

I know Chris’ facets, better than most. Today, I’m not dwelling on the chaos, but the calm. He was just so brilliant. A chemistry savant (not my words, but I agree.) He could discuss complex medications and how they work, why and why not, without ever having studied. Just show him the compounds, and in his head they created themselves the way composers see music.

He had a spark, that something that made him stand out in a crowd, and not just because he was 6’1″, built like a god, and gorgeous. It was in his smile, his charm, his great big heart. There was one time, during his bouncer days, an extremely drunk patron causing a ruckus had to be escorted out. Somehow, he wiggled lose and chomped down on Chris’ thigh so hard he ripped through his jeans and drew blood. The other bouncers called out for him to punch him in the face to get him off, but Chris didn’t. He didn’t want to hurt him.

He. Didn’t. Want. To. Hurt. Him.

It reminds me of when he played soccer, as a little, little boy. If the ball came to him but someone on the opposing team wanted it, he stepped aside and let him have it. His coach thought it was the sweetest thing. Like when he walked his little sister to her classroom every day, and gave her a kiss before she went in. All four teachers in that hall would stand outside their rooms just to watch.

He befriended every misfit, defended the picked on, patiently and competently taught others when they just didn’t understand. He shared his brilliance, not to show off, but because he loved to share what he knew, and see that spark when someone else understood, too.

Chris was insatiable. (Grace’s word, and the perfect one for him.) No  matter what he did, he did it completely. Obsessively. Until he’d mastered whatever it was he did. If he loved you, he loved you entirely and without boundary. When he took up hunting, bowyering, chemistry, growing marijuana, beading, bodybuilding–he had to have all the right tools down to the smallest chisel or brush. All or nothing. That was Chris.

There is a negative side to everything. Both of these beloved dead ended up just that–dead, and way too young. I always thought Brian was too wild for this world, and Chris was too brilliant. Both of them were extremely sensitive souls who hurt as big as they lived.

I don’t deify the dead, as a rule, but once in a while, it feels nice. Necessary. And right.

Peace.

(Feel free to deify your beloved dead. I’d love to know them.)

 

 

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Beach Philosophy

On the beach with my brother, talking in social debate as we do, he posed a series of questions concerning how much of a person has to remain for love to continue. A debilitating accident–do you still love him? Of course. No arms, no legs? Don’t be silly. More debilitating events–being mauled by a bear and such, and now he’s just a head, kept talking and feeling and thinking by science–do you still? Yes, absolutely. More misfortune; he’s just a brain, hooked up to a computer that lets him communicate and think and love. My answer is the same–yes, yes, yes.

Okay, my brother says, now the brain has deteriorated, and the entire essence of the man I love is put onto a flash-drive. He can still communicate with me. I can carry him around, plug him into this device or that, and we can talk, reminisce, experience, love. Do I still love him? Yes! But, he asks, do you love the flash drive?

I pause. Good question. I answer with a hesitant but definite, yes. He poses his final question–The flash drive is corrupted. You can no longer communicate. The essence is still in there, but no longer accessible to you. Now do you love the flash drive?

No, I had to admit. I don’t love the flash drive. I said it better on the beach, and wish I could remember my words, but the essence was: Once the vessel no longer services the being, the vessel becomes obsolete. I don’t love the flash drive that no longer houses my love.

This is what I love about conversations with my little brother; we rarely agree, but we always find some common ground (though he’s stubborn and doesn’t think I see his point of view. I always do. Seeing his point and agreeing with it are entirely different things.) Because we don’t agree, I think about the things we discuss long after we’ve parted ways. I pondered this conversation, on and off, the rest of the day. While still on the beach, my brother sleeping in the sun about ten feet to my left, I texted him the above words about the vessel and the being. “Thoughts are forming. I’m going to write something about this.”

After losing arms and legs and body, in bear attacks and horrendous events, the basic question, for me, was this–do I love the physical vessel once it is no longer servicing the person I love. Husband, parent, child, sibling, friend? No. I don’t. How could I bury a husband? Cremate a son? If I still held attachment to the vessel that once housed them. But do I love them still? Every minute of every day.

I’m pretty sure this wasn’t what my brother was getting at. It was more rhetorical, about how much of a person can one lose and still remain “in love” with that person. But, like I said, conversations with him always make me think, and this conversation was like a firecracker under my chair.

As all things do, these days, it comes back to Chris. His vessel was no longer serving him. It became obsolete. It was never the physical son I loved, but the being he is. The essence he will always be, no matter what form that essence takes. I will forever mourn the loss of his smile, his hugs, all the things he never got to do, that life was so hard for him. So painful. These are the physical things that matter for such a short time in the span of forever. I know that. I’ve always known. But this conversation with my brother brought it into sharper focus. It made me cry in every way there is to cry, right there on the beach.

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Two Years

I have no words for this. I tried to find them, to set them down, to find some meaning, some emotion, some anything. And I can’t. Not about this. I live it every day. It’s not like there’s anything new this day of days. The significance is surprisingly small, in the scheme of things.

Two years. Only two. So many more to come, just like these.

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Another Beach Week, Another Mother’s Day

VAB

Dollbaby Week is always the first week in May. It has been so for fifteen years. Fifteen years. It’s hard to believe that first trip to Bald Head Island was in 2002. There are ten of us now, sometimes eleven. Only two of us from that original week still head to the beach every year, and two more from year two. Some dolls have only been coming a couple of years. Some five, six, seven…it doesn’t matter. Once a doll, always a doll.

The week is sublime, restorative, and full. We count the days down starting the minute we leave the beach (347 days as I write this,) and yet we’re ready to go home when it’s over. Being together is all the more cherished because our time is brief.

2015 was the first time I went to Virginia Beach in many, many years that I didn’t go with my heart in my throat. Things were all-around good. We’d survived addiction’s turmoil as a family, and had come out a bit scarred but definitely on the other side. Chris was out on his own, working a job he loved, doing well, it seemed. The cycle of chaos that typically poised to spiral out of control every spring wasn’t hanging over my head. I went to Virginia Beach secure in the knowledge no doom would fall while I was gone.

I was wrong. Only I didn’t know it.

It had been building, but Mother’s Day 2015 started Christofer’s last downward spiral that ended–finally, completely–on Father’s Day. These “holidays” will never pass without that knowledge, those thoughts. I came home from Virginia Beach this year, last year, facing Mother’s Day, and the countdown to my son’s last days. I hope, in time, it isn’t as raw; I know it will never be blissfully, bittersweetly overlooked.

I have never been a huge fan of Mother’s Day. I’m a mother. I have a mother. My daughter is a mother. How does one celebrate Mother’s Day without disappointing someone, right? Forgoing the day was not a huge sacrifice for me to begin with. Now, I’m glad to ignore it completely. It doesn’t change the bookended countdown, or the knowledge of it, but it does remove some of the emphasis. My kids celebrate me every day, with phone calls and texts and messages on Facebook. I don’t need a day to know I’m loved.

Now I sit here at my desk, absorbing Dollbaby Week in my mind, my heart, while trying to be at peace with the rest that comes at me this time of year. Leaving it all here on this page helps me do that, even while it makes it seem as if I need consoling, or a Xanax. I don’t. Honest. It’s because I have a place to put it all that I don’t. It makes me wonder how people who don’t write (or paint or make music…) manage to uncrowd their heads, unburden their hearts.

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties,
we build up the world’s great cities.
And out of a fabulous story,
we fashion an empire’s glory.
One man, with a dream, at pleasure
shall go forth and conquer a crown.
And three, with a new song’s measure
can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying,
in the buried past of the Earth,
built Nineveh with our sighing
and Babel itself with our mirth.
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
to the old of the New World’s worth.
For each age is a dream that is dying,
or one that is coming to birth.

~Arthur O’Shaughnessy

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A Surprise Visit

I used to dream of my late husband, Brian, on a regular basis, like a standing date kept. It always happened in the same setting–Goffle Brook Park in Hawthorne, NJ. We’d sit at a picnic table there, and catch up. He’d ask about the kids, about me, the family. Chit-chat, always pleasant.

Three years of dreaming him back into my world; and then I met Frank. I still dreamed him, but less often. Still the same, pleasant visit. Every time. And then I became pregnant with Christofer.

We met in Goffle Brook Park that last time, as always. I felt, more than saw, someone standing behind him. Brian was slightly uncomfortable. He looked at me, a little sheepish, and said, “Are you good now?”

“I am.” I remember smiling, and taking his hand across the table. “What about you?” I asked. “Are you good?”

He nodded and, one hand holding mine, he reached out the other and brought forth a young lady. All I remember about her was she had long, dark hair. Like his mom’s. Like Jamie’s. Whoever she was, she brought him happiness, and peace.

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Memory is a funny thing. Unreliable, but absolute. This dream is as clear to me now as it was years and years ago, but who’s to say how accurate, how many embellishments or subtractions have been made over time? It’s what I remember. At the end of it all, it’s the content, not the detail, that matters most. He came to me, made sure I was finally okay, and moved on.

I miss him every. Single. Day.

I am not one for Heaven and Hell. Though I’m not arrogant enough to state any absolutes concerning what there is, or isn’t, after Death, I’m not a believer in one Almighty Being. Death is as big a mystery as Life, and I don’t have the mental capacity to unravel that mystery. I know what I know. I feel what I feel. And whether Brian used to visit me in some ethereal form or it was my brain pulling him back to that picnic table in Hawthorne, I felt him. He was there.

It has been 28 years since the last time I dreamed that so-real presence of him. Though I’m not 100% sold on any form of Afterlife, my leanings bend towards that karmic notion of learning lessons, moving on, coming back to learn those lessons still left. And now I have a new ghost visiting me in dreams. So imagine how surprised I was to find myself sitting across the table from Brian again, the other night, in a dream still so clear I can see his smile.

It wasn’t Goffle Brook Park this time, but the Train Station in New Milford, where I have held book signings, birthday parties, and baby showers. He flopped into the chair opposite me, slightly out of breath.

“What are you doing here?” I hugged him across the table. The happiness, it fills me even now.

I don’t remember his response, but it led to me saying, “Wow, I thought you were already back. It’s been so long. I’ve looked for you.”

“Nah,” Brian said. “I’m just not ready yet.”

There are dreams, and then there are visitations. There’s no denying which one is which. Not all dreams of Brian were visits from him, just like all dreams of Chris aren’t. But when they are there–conjured from my brain or in some ethereal form–they are THERE. Brian was with me, the other night, and knowing he is where Chris is makes me happy in ways I can’t quite articulate.

I had to immortalize my dream, here on this page, though I don’t imagine I’ll forget it any more than I’ve forgotten that one 28 years ago. Maybe, when I’m old and memories jumble, I’ll remember these dream-memories as awake-events. They’ll wend and weave around one another, bringing together those who could not have otherwise met. I like that idea, quite a lot, actually. All my beloved-beyonds are stored in the same place, why not let them dance?

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Happy Birthday To Me

What a great birthday. I saw both my girls, their lovely men, my grandbabies. I spoke to my son out in Portland, my parents, my siblings. Frankie D and I went to NYC with dear friends. Dinner was had–oh, my, was it had. I got to see Beauty and the Beast, and enjoyed it completely. LaFou (Josh Gad) was my favorite character, though Daniel Evans (DAVID!!! for those who watch Legion) and Emma Watson were fabulous. The whole cast was. Nice little changes made it new.

And then there were all the amazing, lovely, deeply appreciated messages on Facebook. I read every one, and hopefully responded to them all. You do me the honor, I can do no less than thank you.

There were also tears, for the one always missing, of course. There are always tears. They don’t ruin the good times, though. I’m learning to let them co-exist.

So thank you, everyone, for not just making my birthday fabulous, but my everything. Some lament social media, cyberworld, claiming it’s cold and dangerous and insincere. It can be, sure, but it is what you make it, what you allow it to be. For me, it’s just grand.

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