Road Trip

Confused

For some reason it all fell into place.  Maybe finally having a plan and acknowledging that I had a plan helped?  Why Saturday the weather chose to take a break from the unrelenting heat and humidity is beyond me.  Upper 90’s dropping to barely 70’s meant we could cross something off the list for several of us.

We threw some clothes in a bag and drove to Maine.  It’s not that far, maybe 3 hours to get to our destination.  Everyone in the car is very Catholic, so I had to stifle a laugh once or twice when they thought a Divine Hand had some part.  I love and respect these people, so I’m not about to argue!

We made a pit stop to visit my daughter.  I still believe that she is always with me and this marker is just a way for others to know about her.  Guess my faith is just different for the others in my crew?  Finding purple-ish roses in the middle of nowhere Maine is surprisingly easier than you would think.  Having said what I needed to we headed of for the water.  The walk was a little further than I recall, but I wasn’t needing something to steady myself beyond a helpful hand the last time either.

My comments above about religion make the next part that much more confusing for me.  That sense of calm that came over me was something I haven’t experienced in many years.  There is a picture next to “Type A personality” that is unmistakably me.  Having lost some of that trying to be something I wasn’t used to anger me.  My ex needed me to be a kinder version, but everyone else needed me to be the rougher person.  I needed to be that rougher person in order to do my job.  Part of what created that downfall was my not being me anymore.  Odd since the guy she met was the kind you wanted making nasty decisions because I didn’t feel bad about them.  [it necessary when you own a business to at times not be nice.  That doesn’t mean disrespectful of others, just tough!]

Think Jerry Stiller yelling “Serenity Now!” while inwardly feeling a great sense of peace!

Moving on…

At dinner I told everyone what I was thinking.  How for a flash I was calm.  Not worried about the past or the future.  Trapped in moment that didn’t make an ounce of sense to me.

All along I have known that these folks were going to push me to do what was necessary to bring me back.  It’s been years of knowing that I felt guilt about some of my choices and that there were times when the running was my way of trying to inflict pain on myself I didn’t feel otherwise.

You can’t outrun ghosts!  They always win, every time.

Friends of friends own a cabin that is rustic in every way.  One room with beds in the opposing corners.  As the lights went out, we had that Walton’s moment with everyone saying goodnight.  [then the snoring began!]

There are plenty of things I wish I knew how to explain.  Right now I’m starting a different journey from everyone else.  At times there are going to be some companions and at times I need to be completely alone.  Figuring out which is which is the hard part.

I’ve planned a few surprises for the next couple of weeks.  We’ll see how they work and whether they get shared as well.

Aside from that one last thing I know I’m going to do, there is something I know I need to do.  And it is as much for myself as it is for another.

I hope to not screw that up!

 

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My Guide to Ending It…

Obsessed

If you have read my stuff over the past 20 months, you know I’m sick.  Let’s push aside the depression issue that came with a few episodes and stick with the cancer diagnosis.  It’s killing me slowly and I have a new plan.

I’m going to help it along in a more definite way.

There have been talks with doctors.  Talks with lawyers.  And recently had a more exacting series of discussions with a few people so that we understand what I need to do and what I need from them.

In Massachusetts they don’t look kindly on people ending their lives.  It’s a criminal act and in some ways a financial lose if your insurance company wants to be difficult.

I’ve made sure to map out those details so there is no issue.  And cashing in my policy was easier than I thought.  A phone call, sign a piece of paper and the money was in my account a few days later.

There’s a stack of pills that could make even the best college rave a tame event.  Whenever they shifted some medicine, I just kept the leftovers.  And for anyone who has dealt with cancer or really any long term illness, they know the piles of colorful little capsules and tablets.  [the economist in me only sees the colossal waste in all of this!]

That conversation I tried to talk a out yesterday, all about how someone basically insisted on being there to hold my hand.  The argument that went with exposing someone to the potential pain.  I was loudly reminded that whether she was in the room or not it was going to hurt.  And the less said about the other people who have offered to stand in a room the better!

In plenty of things, control is a illusion.  We try to plan but something always gets lost along the way.

Not this time.  In my mind those things don’t matter anymore.  Which is where my mistake resides, I get that.

So I picked a date.  Circled in my mind.  There are no triggers for anyone.  For a brief moment I came up with a different date, but realized I chose for the wrong reason.  Revenge.  [yeah, still have some anger issues that fortunately remain mostly under control!]

There are a few things I want to do over the time I have left.  Simple things like visit my daughter’s resting place one more time.  [at least before I take up residence?]  Go to the aquarium and watch some penguins?  And definitely go sit at that baseball field I played so many hours on and remember when the only concern was keeping my eye focused on the ball.

So I have a plan.

Excited Utterances

Surface

Through the look in her eye you could see a lifetime that had passed.  If you went a little deeper you could find the dreams of the future.  But today was about the present.  Just two people sitting across from each other talking but also listening in a different way to the words.  It was time and this morning last nights words still sit echoing in my ears.

Hope is an awful thing to lose.  You never want to take that away from any person, for any reason.  Small wishes in large ways make us want to see the next sunrise.

For the past year I have done one simple thing, made sure the people around me know I appreciate their efforts.  Not just my family, although some are doing it for their own selfish reasons, but even the person who walks me to the next test at the hospital.  It’s a simple kindness that I feel they should hear.

Last night I found myself not being able to utter a single word.  I didn’t know how to say what I felt without taking away from how she felt.  The problem was she also knew.

A long time ago I once spat out in a hospital room how I felt about someone.  A long winded profession of a short phrase.  Nerves, maybe a little bit of someone else being slightly groggy from medicine, a stupid excited utterance.

This story she also knew.

So I sat and listened and tried to keep everything just beneath the surface.  My eyes however were just as telling as hers.  She needed to say something, needed to be heard differently than some text message or while in a room full of people.

It’s very difficult to have people around you when dealing with cancer.  At least for me I still carry a very deep wound from the last set of people who just left without a word.  That not anyone else’s fault but theirs.  And it certainly isn’t something to be held against someone who sends a text message almost every night just to make sure I know if I want to talk they’re still awake.

Everyone comes with some drama.  People who say they want a drama-less life usually had some closet door being propped closed to contain their scars.

For some reason drama doesn’t bother her.  She’s not seeking it out unless in book or movie form, but her life has also been hard in its own way.

So this morning I sit wondering if I said the right things.  Looked the right way at her.

I couldn’t say back the same things she had said, not for lack of feelings but I’m just trying so hard to close a life without it hurting more people than it will.

When you take away hope, you take away life in every form.  That’s worse than anything.  I had it done to me, I won’t allow it to happen to another.

And I know she knows that.

Click for Your Free Geek!

Craving

All these silly profiles.  Ones that have sat there waiting to be clicked on and others that I have no intention of every looking at again.  Sure there was some warning a few weeks ago about the hacking of MySpace accounts.  But I think it has been almost 5 years since I’ve even logged in, feel free to look at my weird music and handful of links!

It was with relief that I stopped looking at Facebook last year.  It’s not like I posted more than two or three times a year and mostly used it as a reminder that I missed someone’s birthday.  Who cares what I had for dinner or looking at my feet swinging in a chair with water in the background?  I go on vacation to get away from people, not to say “Wish you were here”!  That’s a Pink Floyd song about Sid.

I do haunt a music site where I get to here people write about new albums, old albums or just a song that they remember and how music today has lost some of that warmness.  Basically faceless people bitching about longing for their youth!

Yesterday I was longing for some talk that didn’t require me being in the room with anyone.  Sometimes the look of people when I cough or just get some weird pang of discomfort takes me out of the situation and forced me to focus on their concerns and not the conversation.

So I updated some of my profile.  I went weird and amusing.  Or at least that was my intention.  Talk about being a Red Sox fan without sounding like a jerk.  Poke fun at myself for hearing Justin Bieber sign without knowing who it was and enjoying the voice [the kid can sing, I’ll give him that much].  My monthly email to a chef in the area asking what I screwed up this time with the same cinnamon roll recipe over the last 5 years!

I hit save and walked away.  And was shocked to see how many people had clicked on the profile just from my tagline “Click here for your Free Geek!”

It had taken more than a few minutes to accept that line.  Not that I don’t agree, I find it funny.  True and funny.  Apparently a few others did as well.  Some who I had corresponded with even sent short words that told me how much they laughed at my update.

Some of them know about the cancer, it comes out when I talk about where I was listening to something.  [some people ask why you listen to something through headphones rather than decent speakers.  The easiest reply is the truth.]

For some time I had ignored this site because music was painful to listen to.  First it was the memories and then it was the ringing in my ears that has never subsided.  So I also get to ask people if what I hear is the same.  At times it is and other times the sounds are distorted, muffled.

Having just two people tell me I sounded better was enough to make me feel a bit better.  It all started with just wanting to be a little playful.  The way I used to be.  A simple sentence that makes someone laugh.  Some image copied and pasted.

Last night was my night to cook.  Nothing mindblowing, peppers stuffed with rice and beans.  I could sit on a stool and do what I needed before someone tossed it in the oven for me.  But my mood was light, stupidly silly in many ways.  The look on others faces also lightened as they began to realize this was the evening and not me prepping them for more bad news.

We were all craving what happened last night.  Fun, stories, a relaxed atmosphere where we could push aside the bad things.

Last night was a good night and it all started because I remembered a part of me that doesn’t come out to play very often or even for very long.

Ebony and mostly Ivory

Muse

There are a few chips from us being careless over the years.  Nothing that changes the sound but the keys that once where bright have faded over the years.  And for a few years no one touched it other than to sweep away the dust collected from the plant sitting on top.  Hours of my rear end sitting on that bench having a teacher actually swat my hand when I was wrong.  [She was a perfectionist, 9 year old me was not!]

When my parents sold their house during my senior year in high school, Kathy volunteered a place in her house for me to keep my piano.  By that point I was a better player and it kept us both remembering other things that were simpler.  Even after college the joke was I had to remember to make arrangements to move it to my own home.  26 years that has been a constant reminder of my place in her life.  [at least a visual, daily companion.]

Long ago I stopped playing for other people.  Trading synthesizers for an actual piano, headphones keeping the sounds to myself.  The emotions I was feeling remaining there are well.  So when Kathy got home from wherever it is she went, I didn’t bother stop playing this time.  I was caught in a loop of wanting to finish what I was doing and knowing that it was helpful for her to know I trust her enough to allow myself the release that comes from that piano.

I’ve played in bands during college and for a few years after.  Guys sitting in the basement of a frat house or in someone’s garage pretending we were Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin?  But that’s different, you blend in.

The technician at my latest poke and prod session was playing a version of Sound of Silence I hadn’t heard.  A little heavier than Simon and Garfunkel intended, but the use of strings and timpani caught my attention.  So when my ride dumped me off at home I sat down to try to mimic what I thought I heard.

It’s a very basic song for piano.  My issue is the muffled sounds in my right ear, damn seizures!  But after Kathy listened for a while, she did the one thing I have never understood, taped it.  From the backside you can’t tell I’m sick, you only see me leaned over.  Later she sent it to the family just so that they could see me the way they need to.  The only reason I even know is that I’m including in the list.  No one ever wrote me about it, they know better.

It was like seeing Bigfoot or the Lock Ness Monster, rare but seems to happen a few times in people’s lives.

What you can’t see on the screen is the picture of my daughter on the phone or how it is sitting next to the picture of Kathy’s daughter.  I’m trying to be open to the idea that somewhere in space and time they are looking out for each other.  They were the reason I felt the need to sit down.  I wanted to have an audience even if they were only in my mind’s eye.

Getting those emotions out for a little time was wonderful.  They remain locked up too often.  Those too girls made for great muses and in their own way always have.  Maybe the song was just what we all needed.

Enough? Maybe…

Profound

On those days when I am ready to write I let myself try to tackle some issue rolling around my life.  Then I see the prompt and I feel a shift.  Most days it is some memory that springs up or an emotional response to the words I read.  Yesterday I wanted to say so many things about the prompt “Apology”, but knew better than to start down that path.  That journey is something I have been trying a avoid lately.  As much as I try, some emotions are never going to be controllable.

Over the weekend I was trapped in a conversation about how I was handling things.  But rather than feel like I was doing the right thing or even if I knew something wasn’t working out, by the end I felt like a failure.  The people around me were talking down to me not with me or even at me.

Recently I have stepped up the therapy sessions because I have needed to work some things out.  My emotional responses have been coming faster than I recognize.  Simple flashes are bringing me great pain.  Sometimes you can hide that behind random issues connected to the cancer.  But other times it’s more than that.

My grandfather taught me a powerful lesson.  Sometimes you have to put aside everything you are feeling because you need to help another.  What he didn’t say was that in the quiet hours he was downing so much alcohol to numb himself that it eventually killed him.

I don’t drink, so that isn’t my issue.  He is also the very reason why I don’t.  It’s an easy relief that only hides today’s issue.

But I spent so much time trying to help my ex deal with her life that I completely ignored that I needed to help myself.  I adopted her manner of walking away from emotions and now I can’t find my way back.

Sunday I couldn’t take anymore and just went to my bedroom.  Sat in a chair and tried to read but all I could do was choke back every shake and tear.  It was like being a water balloon with a needle rubbing it’s surface.  Little beads of moisture but no explosion.

I need the explosion or I’m running he risk of no longer feeling anything.  At least outwardly which only means that the very people who started this will never know how badly things hurt.

A long time ago I held things back and by the time I let loose, I truly let loose.  Went swinging at anyone in the room regardless of their involvement.  That was 22 years ago and I still can’t be in a room  with some of them because of my embarrassment.

There is plenty of fear that goes with the cancer stuff.  Even the bravest have moments of self doubt and worry.  I’ve done my best, I’m just learning that for some it will never be enough.  [an irony not lost when I used to tell others that the only thing I ever needed was them coming home.and being themselves.]

If my daughter were around I would just hug her and tell her she was my bright light.  Then we’d go eat ice cream!

I wish it were still that simple.

Brewster’s Millions Paradox

Unstoppable

Spend $30 million in 30 days to inherit $300 million.  This was 1985, so today you would be spending $67 million to inherit $665 million!  The catch, at the end of the 30 days you had to have nothing to show for it.  Not a single possession could come with you other than the clothes you had on the day this all started.

His solution, run for office.  The twist, he didn’t want to be the person elected.  He wanted people to understand that they were trapped picking between two unlikable individuals who didn’t offer anything.  Welcome to 2016.

There are attributes that each of the major players possess that are of value.  And then there is just an overwhelming amount of things that make me wonder if I can truly get away with leaving that portion of the electronic ballet blank without being told I have to chose someone.

People are spending Billions of dollars to attain an office that pays $400,000.  Every economics class I ever took would tell you that is the worst kind of return on your investment you could ever find.  Even the crappy interest rates paid out by banks would gain you a profit of $85 million after four years, more than double that if you get re-elected!  Don’t even get me started with just average returns over four years with that same money invested and left alone.

Politics are personal.  Everyone has a different viewpoint for the same events.  100 people in a room would tell you a slightly different version of the same movie they sat through.  Witness statements from victims of crimes tend to be unreliable for the same reason.

No one is right and many they are just plain wrong.  And for people who truly don’t understand the very basic nature of government, this check and balances thing ensures that nothing gets done unless you have such an overwhelming number of people of the same party and same mindset.

I’m a economist and I can’t tell you want will happen 5 years from now.  I can barely make an argument for two years into the future.  The world changes and with it the variables.  Insert joke about the Butterfly Effect?  Sure why not!  A girl in Japan writes an App that takes over every other texting program and not only does Apple lose value, so does Microsoft, Facebook and WhatsApp.  Why?  Because said young lady didn’t like that her personal information was being sold resulting in odd ads popping up in her email.

In politics the next great idea rarely has the same momentum.  Too many people want to ride the coattails with their lesser ideas and welcome to stalemates.

Personally I believe we need to fire every single Senator and Congress-person and start over.  Adopt term limits?  Requires a Constitutional Amendment and you don’t want to know the process that requires!

Obama was not my guy, but I would have liked to see the change he spoke about.  The country elected a single person with a wide-ranging dream that required the people he was surrounded by to be different.  That’s where that failure falls on the voting public and even harder on those who didn’t vote.

Trump is right about there being problems in this country.  Homelessness, health of every person, violence of every kind, and the ability for every person to achieve to their highest abilities are my personal issues.  Work on those things and plenty of other issues will work themselves out in a generation, possibly two.

Hillary is also right that there are bright moments that we need to cling to.  Just look towards the number of people who come out after these violent episodes to help in any way they can.  The world is a better place when you try to understand your neighbor rather than scream about our differences.

I’ll never see how the next few years play out.  But I hope for one simple thing, [a cure for cancer?  not in my lifetime!  sorry gallows humor?].  That we get to a point where it’s more important to help each other not step over each other.  [I have learned this from years of running a business where even I admit to having adopted some sociopathic tendencies to get things done.  Not my prouder moments, but necessary unfortunately].

Bill and Ted had it right, be good to one another!