Path of No Resistance

Fierce

I wish I had the strength to open her letter.  It’s not a physical thing, but my emotions get so far out of check about certain people and events that I have done my best to hide from them.  And now I carry this note with me wherever I go.  The joys of email that is synced to my phone and tablet.  There is only so fast you can run from something that is sitting within your grasp.

It’s been two years since I’ve spoken with her.  And that conversation didn’t go well.  It was after my daughter had died and neither of us knew what to do for each other.  So silence became the path of no resistance.  Never far from my thoughts, but distance was what we both needed.  We shared some of the same reasons and on some level knew there was pain that couldn’t be avoided for either of us.

Friends are funny things.  They can be thousands of miles away and yet right next to you all at the same time.  I ran so quickly to Boston that I didn’t leave a forwarding address.  And I didn’t try to involve others in what has become a futile attempt at life.

When  you wind down a business most people try to do it quickly and with little fanfare.  I’ve been applying that same theory to my own life.  Just a notice my parents will eventually send out letting people know the cancer did it’s job.

Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder, it hardens it.

Even while I’m typing this all I need to do is switch over the window and there it will be, sitting in the folder with her name and a number behind it.  Some days it would blink throughout the day with updates and replies, other days silent but always a welcome diversion to whatever was happening.

Last week when it light up all I felt was panic.  Pain and anxiety, worry that something had happened to her family or someone else where she felt the need to inform me.  It took most of the day to fight off those feelings.  To hold back every desire to just click here.

If this had been a piece of paper, I could have put it in a drawer.  Waited for a time when I could emotionally handle the words.

I love the feeling of having just finished a run and the sweat is dripping so rapidly my socks are starting to cling to my feet.  Water stinging my eyes and my knees are burning from the miles of pavement left behind.  This I can’t move fast enough from.

Hopefully soon I’ll be ready to read even the couple of sentences this might contain.  I don’t know, maybe during a therapy session in case I just let my feelings for the past overcome the wall I have built in my present.

I do miss my friend.  Staying silent was the last act I could think of to let any of them live without fear.  Only now I fear a silly letter.

I Just Don’t Know

Carefree

It’s one thing to sit in a chair with friends and say things don’t bother me.  But when I’m paying someone to help me figure out my life, being flippant is not an option.  The anger has made a vicious comeback lately and fortunately I have been able to keep it directed at myself and not others.

There have been cracks in that wall.  Sticking my thumb into that dam isn’t going to last and the pressure will get to me.

We all agree that people know when I’m upset.  My face can’t hid it any longer.

Most people think it has to do with the cancer.  It doesn’t.  Nothing is going to stop that progression.  We’ve tried everything.  Done everything.  Seen as many people as possible to understand every option available.

I’m back to being very, unendingly angry with myself.

There was a time when running would have emptied my physical symptoms.  Just too tired to care for a few hours.  The only time my shoes see a treadmill is when I walk past one,

So I talk to the therapist and hope it is enough.  She tells me it never will be until I face the central issue.  I’m not to blame for everything that has happened.

Drugs don’t make that go away.  Even my attempts to clear the boards and apologize for things that happened decades ago haven’t lessen the weight.

I wish I could live out whatever time is left without these worries.  I know that having these feelings add to my carefree attitude regarding my own life.  Feelings I shouldn’t have occupy too much space inside my head.

It isn’t enough to tell someone I look forward to knowing the answer to one question – “Is there an afterlife and will I be able to spend it with my daughter.  Getting a chance to know her that I didn’t get while we were both on this planet?”

So welcome back anger, you useless bastard!

Plugged Up Ears

Fog

Leaving the show last night the cab driver asked if I was alright.  I knew I wasn’t, but for someone to wonder if we should be heading someplace other than home meant I really wasn’t as okay as I would tell people later.  It wasn’t pain, I felt physically fine.  But I was personalizing the lyrics to the point where there were truly effecting me.

No reason to get into a diatribe defending the word usage of a Progressive Rock band.  They are know for sweeping themes that are sometimes laughable.  Last nights lyrics talked about loss and trying to find a path towards some new world.  A place where things are not forgotten, just different and holding a changed meaning.  Otherwise known as living!

I’d stopped listening to this particular group because I reminded me of my daughter.  Much like Cat in the Cradle makes grown men think about picking up the phone and calling their fathers, a song entitled Along for the Ride makes me think about what life was like with a kid.  Some things could be controlled and other things were just for me to sit back and watch unfold.  But that applies to lots of events in life.

But it hurt knowing that I wouldn’t be around to hear their next album or be able to sit in my seat for 2 hours and listen to them live.  It made me wonder if those notions of a spirit meant that while I was in the room, my daughter was somewhere close by enjoying the music as well.

Part of dealing with the fog that comes and goes in my mind means accepting that dreams still exist for her.  That those hopes never will die and that sometimes they are going to sneak out and make some times more difficult.  I can prepare for some and just ride out others.  To ignore them or even worse pretend they don’t exist means forgetting about her.  That’s not an option, not ever!

My mother told me that she wished I had done something different with my life.  She’s happy about the education and that I have found ways to make my grandfather’s business survive.  But she wanted me to follow different dreams at times.  That the pressure of being something they didn’t expect was always going to be there.  Her dreams for me are still ones she voices and lately they have been more forceful.

It’s the difference between a longer ending that you can interject options into and walking out of the hospital one day without having had a clue that same morning of the outcome.  She wants to be a one woman Make A Wish Foundation, but her son has no desire to be treated special.  I don’t feel it and know I’m one of too many going through the same process.

But while sitting in that concert I had such hope.  For a little while I was again 18 and hearing them for the first time.  Sitting in a venue not far from my Frat House in Boston.  Trying to watch the keyboard player to an almost stalker level of interest.  His fingers moving effortlessly across his synthesizer.  Just a little escape from the world, my life.

Going home meant going back to normal.  That is what scared me.  Waking up this morning with a still ringing in my good ear and the emotions moving in different directions.

It will be some time before I can listen to any music.  I might not be able to again.  There is a value I place on it that means every time I’m going to wonder if the next track will hurt.  The album might not contain anything, might not even be something I’ve ever heard before.  But sitting in a chair trying to read through something, it needs to be silent so that the voices in my head can play their own tune.

I’m glad I went.  But I should have known what would happen later, life.

Reach, Row, Throw, GO!!

Flow

It’s a simple word association for people who work as lifeguards. Really for anyone who tries to save someone from drowning, that particular order could save you from yourself. But does it work as well for when you are on land, trying to tread water while standing on a hard wood floor?

About a week ago someone REACHED out giving me some hope that they could help me find the answer to a question I had of myself. Nothing that matters to the rest of the world, just something that matters quite a bit to me. So when I get a chance to sit across the table and learn something I didn’t know, I needed to take every opportunity to be taught.

There was no need for me to ROW anywhere. That would have looked ridiculous along the streets of Newton, MA. Some guy with an oar? Monty Python could have made that amusing, not me. So I went the other route and called for a car to drive me over to the restaurant. At least I picked a place I knew well, my niece waits tables two nights a week during the school year to earn some spending money. (Too bad it is on slow nights to begin with, but that’s not anyone’s fault.)

A few minutes of sitting at the door turned into kind looks from the Hostess asking if I just wanted a table. I looked down at my phone and over towards her before deciding that 30 minutes was long enough to look and feel foolish. Inside I was THROWING a temper tantrum because it had me recalling all the time I sat around waiting for the ex who never showed up on time for anything. And more importantly it hurt to not be able to ask my questions.

The Universe tells us that we can’t always have the answers, that most lie within anyway. But this topic eats at me daily and even the smallest hint would be of great relief.

The smart move fortunately is what followed. A simple text asking if I had screwed up the time or place. (I was taught to always take the fault on yourself so that feelings don’t get hurt. A good business lesson!)

“Oh, you didn’t remind me. So I’m home.” Those words almost sent me back to the throwing portion of the evening. I never consider sending reminders to someone who made the initial plans.

The thing that really got to me was how it became my fault. I was there, on time, with my questions ready. Even picked someplace that was quiet and closer to her than to me. Old Lary would have gotten very angry at this point. Modern Lary isn’t a fan of this behavior either, but I just don’t have the energy to waste on people who are inconsiderate anymore. Future Lary just isn’t going to allow this to be repeated.

So I went home after telling the niece thanks and slipping some money in the jar they split each night. High school kids still need to pay for things they don’t tell us about!

GO home…

Four days later and it still eats at me.  The blame is a huge trigger point for me.  There are enough things in my world that weigh heavily on me daily, some creatures of my very own creation.  Some are just words spoken by others that have never left my ears.

That feeling of complete emptiness is one I fight too often.  It was hard enough for me before all the changes to be comfortable with myself socially.  Work was something different, I was supposed to be the smartest guy in the room.

Now I’m just the guy constantly raising his hand, sometimes waving both over my head, hoping to find a voice for my doubts.

Sisyphus on Roller Skates

Evasive Action

 

I haven’t written for days and the thoughts in my head are so scrambled that I really don’t know where to begin my tale.  There’s obviously a beginning.  And I’d be the first to acknowledge that I would skip a few of the details that came before that since I am still hiding them from myself along with anyone else.  Some conversations just can’t pass my lips without darkening the skies for others.

Last week I couldn’t stop thinking about my daughter.  Two years have slipped by and I still have so many questions that just aren’t going to ever be satisfied.  Everyone around me kept asking if I was okay, and I just told them I was tired from a switch in medication.  It wasn’t like I spent my days like a zombie, life does continue just without any color or sound.  But my lie was going to come out and effect those around me just when they thought maybe we had gotten through the worst of it.

The saga of last Thursday is simple.  Don’t ask for even the simplest of help and everything is going to spin off axis very quickly.  Some thoughts take on such huge weight emotionally, they smash anything else.

Sisyphus on roller-skates pushing a flaming piece of lava uphill?

The trigger was simple, a stupid commercial on television.  It led to me wondering if the ex was doing okay on that day.  (to think otherwise means losing some of my humanity, and that isn’t an option.)  Since I was already in pins and needles, it didn’t take much more.  My own family didn’t mention a thing.  It was as if they wanted to forget what to me is the worst thing possible.

So by dinner I was so consumed with anger and fear that I knew it was time to get to the doctor.  Not a panic attack, those are easy to control.  I know those signs all too well.  But I couldn’t stop shaking and my inner demon was whispering nasty thoughts.

The biggest lie of my life has been that I can handle this without help.

Most times it is just something that passes as quickly as it enters my mind.  A flash of memory, some song or picture, little things that bring a moment of melancholy.

Thursday was different.

While for some people this sounds like whining, for me it is the single biggest survival technique I know.  It was hard to admit when someone used this information against me and everyone expected that I would do nothing in return.  Instead I put on my Edmond Dantes mask and went full revenge.  Some things can’t be overlooked.

Yesterday I heard so many people make fun of Rhonda Rousey for admitting that losing a fight put her in such an emotionally low place that she thought about ending her life.  They thought it was stupid that a sport could do that to someone.  It was horrible to hear people tear down someone for being honest about weakness.

A few days had passed since I ran for help as quickly as I could.  The gentle reminders from the family I stay with in Boston that they would have talked all day if that was what I needed.  The one friend I have made this past year basically just giving me a hug and whispering that she’d sit in the chair if that was okay.

Some lies can remain buried forever.  They only slowly destroy.

My lie didn’t want to wait.  I have a serious weakness and always will.  It can be easily exploited.  I guess that protecting my daughter never ends…

Starting a Countdown

262,800 minutes and the only reason I even know that number is because I’m have see the musical Rent once or twice.  It’s the amount of minutes that occupy 6 months.  The same amount of time a grim looking doctor gave me before they believe this boy is going to shift into a different plain of existence.  It was quite a conversation, and I’m still playing back most of the words in my head.

I’ve always been a morning person.  It was important to me to get my world in order so that later I could be available for other people.  That theory has long been the routine.  In simple ways it meant I wouldn’t have something hanging over my day interfering with spending time with friends or family.

The office world laughs because I would be in hours before some others were even leaving their homes.  The quiet allowed me to get plenty done and left plenty of time for me to be able to deal with the issues that my office mates would bring to my day.  Being the top of the food chain meant that at times my time wasn’t truly my own.

These days I try to do as much as possible, at least when my body is up for the challenge.  Day, night, an hour spent preparing for something that I know I might not complete until the next day.  Right now I have a list of things to do, one that while I knew had a clock ticking came to a very harsh reality yesterday.

My first thought wasn’t even for myself.  My brain instantly went to how long can I avoid this conversation with my family.  Having them stare at the same clock isn’t quite what I would consider fair.  But it has changed some priorities.  I made the only other person to know swear to keep the information between us.

Later on will be the time to be scared or some other emotion that is going to paralyze me when I realize the true nature of my doctor’s words.  I’m not naive, I’m not trying to hide; but right now I have this manic need to get things done.

There are some ugly choices ahead.  Some of my theories changed when I had a daughter.  Now I want to spend my eternity with her rather than on some baseball field my family sneaks on to.

My heart knows that I no longer should worry about trying to find inner strength to reach out to a few people.  It doesn’t seem fair.  If asked, they know how I feel about them.  My selfish desire to get one last hug in just seems confusing.  Maybe I don’t really have a good plan, this is where my emotions will fight my resolve.  Who am I really protecting?

The best part of yesterday was stopping on the way home and picking up a gingerbread house for the little girl next door.  Kids sometimes know more than we give them credit for.  And the hug I received, one that shocked the other adults in the room since she had never reacted that way towards me, will stick in my heart for ever.

Mornings were supposed to be about acknowledging the new, a fresh start.  Now I’m not sure how to look at them.  This is one of those times when I wish I were just dressing a kid for school and rushing out the door.  Silly thought, but right now it’s what I want.

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/because-the-night/”>Because the Night</a>

This deserves a better title

The tablecloths were spread out over several tables.  White linen pulled tightly to each edge, the crisp folds still easily visible to anyone looking.  A table covered in blueish-silver bags for people to take home with them as they eventually would trickle back out the door hours later.  The screen was sitting where hopefully everyone could see  and know the only thing to do was wait.

We’d spend Friday night going through the paces, joking about how things should go but expected that they were going to possibly make us scramble for a minute or two.  After finally figuring out how to work the sound system, we nodded in agreement that things were the best they could be.  So homeward bound to reflect on what to wear or who we might see probably occupied everyone’s thoughts.

I made sure to lay out my clothes a little early Sunday morning as I went about trying to get a few things around the house.  My shoes polished a little brighter than normal.  It wasn’t for the people who were there, but for the possibility of who might.

As I got out of my car and walked towards the door, you could hear the laughter of people as they were telling the band where they needed to set up.  The locations of power and hopefully enough space had been set aside.  The classic drums, guitar, bass and keyboard to accompany the 5 women singing.

Hugs are exchanged, little children as running around hopefully wearing themselves out a tiny bit before they are going to be sitting.  The echoes of their laughter filling a hall where their very presence is going to be appreciated by most and celebrated by all.

I couldn’t help sneaking down the hallway to check out the food that was laid out throughout the room.  Cakes and cookies, sandwiches and platters of various fruit and cheese.  A veritable bounty that was more than enough to feed everyone.

Sounds like a pretty good party?  The kind being thrown elsewhere that day in hundreds of locations around the globe.  Only this was a different kind of celebration, one where the kids were going to be memories and pictures flashed with dates on that screen.  For a few moments those laughing children are going to be a a painful reminder of why we gathered that day.  Later a grateful feeling that those signs of life are still present around us.

As the band hit that last chord and everyone filed out of the church, taking one of those bags that contained a bulb for a flower, it was quiet.  Some of the faces were still able to smile and a few others needed to avert their eyes because they didn’t know how to deal with the emotions at that moment.

For some it might have been the only time someone heard their child’s name.  Saw a picture of that same child frozen in time from before.

When it was my turn to stand in front of the crowd and say even a few words about my daughter, I froze.  Just being there was sometimes difficult as I helped people towards the front of the sanctuary so that they could speak for the silent.  That part was easy, it made it worth everything else.

I could have spoken.  I was being encouraged to speak, but my normal ability to be strong falters at these moments.  The same weakness shared by every single person present.

Of those people, there are any number that would have stood next to me for as long as it took for me to utter a name, Abigail.  Light that candle and grab my arm.  I can think of one or two who would have been just as happy to say her name for me if I suddenly fell mute.

It’s easy to help people at times like that.  It can also be painful to watch as you know the grief they are experiencing.

I’ve come a great distance to get to where I am today.  I just know I’ll need to ask for a little more help finding my voice next time.
<a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/sorry-im-busy/">Sorry, I’m Busy</a>