A Beautiful Goodbye

It was in this post that I mentioned a moment of clarity that I’d experienced with my mother when she was in the later stages of Alzheimer’s.
I like to think that there are times in our lives when, for whatever the reason, we are deserving of a small gift of the soul; something that catches us off guard and lifts the spirit; an experience that simply says, ‘carry on’.
If you’ve visited Smoke and Mirrors before and have read any of my writing, you could conceivably finish this post for me.
I think.

Lately, I have been keeping close tabs on my father (my sister, as well) for reasons I have chosen to keep private.
That said, I visited him last Sunday around noontime to feed him lunch.
He tends to eat well whenever my sister and I feed him simply because we’re able to be patient. It’s a wonderful feeling to know he’ll nap the afternoon away with a belly full of food and that we had a small part in it.

He ate well for me on Sunday: pot roast, mashed potatoes w/gravy, vegetables and the softest dinner roll I’ve ever held in my hand.
I wasn’t sure if he would even finish his dessert but the bastard ate all the Banana Cream Pie and didn’t even ask if I wanted any.
(I tried it and yes, it was very good)

I cleaned him up and we sat by the window in his room.
A slice of winter sunshine found him and I think he enjoyed the warmth of it.
I spoke with a few of the nurses on the floor who told me that he’d had a very good night.

“Walter? Oh, no problems with him. Sweet man.”

With my questions answered and my father fed, I went back to his room and bent down so we were face-to-face, and kissed his forehead.

“I love you, Dad.”

He just stared at me.

“I know, I know,” I said, “You love me too, right?”

He lifted his tired hand, smiled and gently stroked my cheek.
No words were exchanged but no words were really necessary.
For a brief second, my father was really ‘there‘.

When moments like this happen you have to soak them in because they’re oh, so rare.
It’s the stuff of the soul.
Small gifts, my sister said.
Maybe they’re not quite as small as I’d originally thought.
I walked out of the nursing home and felt the winter sun on my face and I smiled because it felt a bit warmer than it usually does.
Maybe that was a gift as well . . .

~m

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Smoke, Lies and the Nanny State and . . .

Just wanted to put up yet another “thank you” post for being so damn generous with your comments.
I wanted to make my way around the “bloghorn” but will never do it all tonight.
I’m only human.

A few notes of interest, if you look to my side bar you will see a little jpeg of Joe Jackson (musician).
If you click it, it will open Adobe Reader on your computer (assuming you have it installed), and download his essay as a .pdf file.
I don’t comment much about smoking on the blog but I feel Jackson’s essay should be read by smokers and non-smokers alike.
I think it’s absolutely brilliant.
You may feel differently.
I’m not going to address my stance on smoking right now.
Just know that I smoke.
And I enjoy it.
And I pay exorbitant and unscrupulous taxes because of my habit (which is absolute bullshit).
To the US government, tax something else for a change, for cripes sake.
Just imagine if the government started taxing Budweiser and Happy Meals the way they tax tobacco these days.
Would people be a bit angry?
Think about it.
Click on the philosopher above to visit Jackson’s website.
There’s some great stuff to be found there.

And now for something completely different;

Last week, I woke up in the middle of the night after falling asleep early and came downstairs to the sound of ‘beep-beep-beep-beep’.
My wife was laying on the couch pointing the cordless phone at the TV and pressing the “call button” on and off.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Trying to turn this friggin’ thing down,” she said.

“You can’t do that with the phone, dear, ” I said, as I took the phone out of her hand, turned off the TV and guided her upstairs to bed.
Ah, sleepyheads can be funny sometimes.
I think she may have called China a few times though.
Check out the Jackson video below.
Classic Joe.

~m

12 things my daughters have taught me

Having three girls, there are things that as a man you just know, or don’t know.
I’ve been thinking about this for sometime and have come up with a list of things they’ve taught me.
Sometimes it’s just observing their bizarre womanly ways and sometimes I get a hands-on lesson.

  • I can spot a Vera Bradley handbag from 100 paces. (yeah, I know. Scary)
  • Orlando Bloom is hot, but Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) is way hotter.
  • Folding laundry is quite natural now except when it comes to folding a bra.
  • “I love you, Daddy,” loosely translated means, “I need something and you will get it for me.”
  • Girls can be downright nasty to each other.
  • Nothing dries tears quicker than a trip to Hollister.
  • They know the ins and outs of Itunes way better than I do.
  • They can use the T9 word when texting on their cell enabling them to send me the “Gettysburg Address” in less time than it takes me to text the word, “Ok” and hit send.
  • There are countless stars in the sky, but every one has its place.
  • Never honestly comment on a new hairstyle. Just say, “It looks very nice.”
  • Not all facial moisturizers are created equal.
  • Patience. (4 women getting ready to go out for a Saturday evening is excruciating)

Look for a future post and update.
Learning about women is an ongoing process and I’m still a beginning student, apt but beginning.

~m

Not a chance . . .

“I think I may be beginning to disappear.” – Fiona (Away from Her)

Last night was a deeply emotional night for me.
For the longest time I’ve put off watching a movie called Away from Her
based on the Alice Munro short story called, “The Bear Came Over the Mountain”, a tragic but uplifting tale of a husband and wife of 50 years coming to grips with Alzheimer’s Disease.
It was all too familiar territory for me and I knew instinctively why I hadn’t seen it in the theater.
Sometimes I hate when I’m right.

The internal walls I’d previously built for emotional protection were deteriorating rapidly, waiting patiently to be torn down.
New and stronger walls were waiting in the wings.
Seeing yourself in virtually every scene of a movie is a powerful (and devastating) experience and something has to give.
My already shaky walls began crumbling before my very eyes.
Seemingly insignificant scenes were like storms in the night, moments of illumination exposing moments of denial, the mind’s premeditated closing of the eyes.
I was watching my mother and father on the screen as years of pent up heartbreak gently poured out of me.
And truth be told, it felt like prayer, a long forgotten Hail Mary . . .
I’ve written much about my mother’s many moments of clarity, the small gifts I believe are given to us from up above.
The last minute of the movie contains such a moment, an incredibly beautiful moment.
I could only sit and watch the credits roll by,
letting this “thing” happen, if that makes any sense.
I apologized to my wife for being so weepy.
She hugged me as I knew she would and said, “I understand. It’s okay.”
All the ancient walls inside me came crashing down and as of this morning I’ve already begun new construction, my Extreme Internal Makeover, if you will.
This post isn’t so much about my tears or my outward showing of intense emotion.
It’s about the willingness to ultimately set some of my shadows free.
And so far, it’s all good.
You’ll have to watch the movie to understand the significance of the post title.
I’m not giving anything away . . .
~m

Sunglasses at night

It seems improbable and physically impossible to feel alone on the streets of a city the magnitude of Boston but I’ve had such a day today.
I ate a meager lunch in a deserted food court, rode a ghost train with no passengers
(save for a lone and apathetic conductor that collected my money),
walked down an empty Boylston Street to an ‘I am Legend’-like South Station.
My mind doesn’t want to let anyone in today and I feel I’m struggling against a surreal and desolate landscape that is the city of Boston.
I loathe days these because I feel almost anonymous and somewhat disposable.
And nothing I can say or do seems to change anything.

I get a seat on the train and I put on my sunglasses even though it’s 5:30pm and the sun has set on the city.
UV protection for the soul, I think,
as I contemplate a jump into a vat of lukewarm self-pity.
No, that would be too damn easy.
The past several weeks have wreaked some serious emotional havoc on my sorry 49-year-old ass and this is the aftermath, an ardent and internal hangover; it’s temporary but so very intense.
I come to realize that I’m just really tired and can’t seem to catch up.
Exhausted, actually.
Sleep doesn’t help.
But writing it out has immense possibility.
And it does.

“How are ‘ya?”

{Oh, God . . . not that question again, ad nauseum}

{Me smiling}
“Just another day in paradise, buddy, just another day.”

And I carry on.

Still somewhat alone.

For the time being . . .

~m

Ps. happy birthday to Smoke &Mirrors (2.22.05) {you people are sick} :mrgreen:


Anima Obscura

I blame yesterday for
words unspoken;
one goodbye I’ll never ever hear;
promises of tomorrow, opaque and empty

Of time, fluid and perpetual
my life seemingly shipwrecks,
splinters of wood and unforgiving rocks bear witness
to the crashing waves surrounding me
I search a deserted harbour for a beacon of light,
of grace,
and a desperately needed peace . . .

I blame yesterday
for all the wrongs I could never fix;
the hearts, the tender lives, forgettable moments that left me broken and incalculably fragile

Of life, an arid landscape cracks open before me
partially exposing a soft white light, completely obscuring the truth
the Tides continue, fluid and perpetual and it makes me wonder
If I can still believe in this tomorrow
when it’s so damn hard believing in this today . . .

~m

Still on Walkabout

I feel like a bad contestant on American Idol; I got nothing fresh to bring to the table.
My mind is so far away from the blog lately and I do apologize.
There’s some creative stuff swimming around my head but too many damn obstacles in the way.
I plan on getting out the heavy machinery to remove at least some of the cerebral gunk that’s currently clogging my blogging jones.
Have no fear, the psychobabble will be eradicated.
Soon.

I did want to mention a somewhat surprising award I received “From the Back Nine”.
My blog was labeled “excellent” by Linda, a relatively new reader and wonderful addition to my blogroll.

Supposedly, I must pass this award along to another blogger that I consider “worthy”.
Though I have many blog “loves” (and you know who you are), I felt the need to pass the torch to a new blog that I read often and enjoy immensely.
He’s not unlike me in the many sentimental ways he writes in terms of family, kids and life.
I wish more people would visit him because I believe he has so much to say.
And he’s funny as a bastard.
Yeah, it’s Grimm.
Please pay the guy a visit and at least tell him congrats on the award.
That would be pretty funny.
While you’re there, check out a few posts.
What I like most about Grimm is that when I visit, I feel comfortable, like I’m wearing a great pair of old sneakers that my wife still wants badly to throw away (at the very least, wash really good)
Please stop by and say hi.

I want to once again thank all of you for your wonderful comments.
I’ve read every single one so please accept my invisible but leviathan gratitude.
You guys have no idea how much your words have given me a sense of great solace and peace.
The honesty, love and support comes through loud and clear and I had to post tonight if only to offer a heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you.
I promise to dust off the front-loader by the weekend and be back up visiting and leaving ~m’s all over your blogs (and your comments, dear readers).
Until then, much peace, my friends . . .
Be well.

~m

Hemorrhage

Broken bones
dark, fragmented, an unknown cause

Where’s the why?

What’s the how?

When was the when?

Questions re-surface again and again, blisters of a blind faith lost
with answers that mean little to nothing, because it’s all shit
But where is the truth?
and the truth turns into it
With my back against the wall, I fight a blackened and diseased system
I kick, and I scream for ice
to soothe a bursting violet bruise, an ever so slightly discoloured rip in the delicate epidermis

And I bleed.
thick, tepid and red,
And for the blessed life of me, I just can’t stop . . .

~m

Imagine

Walking to South Station tonight, I noticed the elaborate and somewhat intricate weaving of people on the streets of Boston.
Sometimes my walk seems perfectly timed as I pass pedestrians in an orchestrated sort of dance, just missing bumping into someone while neon pedestrian lights go white and I walk across the streets unscathed.

Chance?

Maybe . . .

Something happened last night that I have no reasonable explanation for.
It’s quite simple but it went something like this:

I began thinking about this particular song and went to YouTube to see if I could at least find the video, which I did.
As I listened, I thought of one special person that I had to send this song to.
There was a reason for this intense feeling but it’s a long story, and not for tonight.
I thought about opening my ITunes and buying the song and sending it on but decided it was too damn late to start futzing around with my Nano.
But I did check my Gmail and was surprised to see an an email from a dear friend of mine and in the title it said, “Here you go ~m”.
Curious, I opened the email to find the song I’d just been listening to attached to the email in an ITunes format.
Goosebumps, blessed goosebumps.
There was no logical reason for me to receive this email but there it was. Go figure.
It was an ultra-heavy dose of serendipity, possibly chance but I smiled as I dragged the tune into my ITunes folder.
The story gets more interesting though.
I sent the song sailing over the waves of the internet to a soul that I knew it would appreciate it.
Turns out the song was desperately needed and right on time.
The chain of events that made this happen made me realize that many stories have already been written.
And I felt so blessed and happy to be included in this one.
For Lent (yes, it’s Lent for us Catlicks), I have given up nothing but I have vowed to get on my knees on a nightly basis and pray.
My prayers tonight go out for my friend Gerry and his nephew, Brandon.
Have a serene weekend, folks . . .
See all of you next week.

~m

ps. the candle in the post is for Brandon.
Today
was his birthday. Sleep in sweet peace, young man
and to the special lady that has sees the Southern Cross at night

So Much

Like me, so much like me
you are oceans deep, my silent little girl

A face that’s like a saving grace; it’s a prayer I will always pray
I know you as well as I know my overly complex self,
and I am forever in love with you
as I was 18 years ago

@8:11am . . .

If these words turn you crimson, then so be it, that makes you real
You are my hurricane on the water, my own personal blizzard of ’90
And you’re like me, sometimes so much like me
And just maybe
that’s a small, good thing

Happy 18th birthday, Jenna
You are a true diamond in the rough
Gráim thú . . .

~Dad

And she likes John Mayer . . .