Tag Archives: dealing with death

Running on

9 May

 

He loved Jackson Browne. His favorite line from “Running on Empty” was “I don’t know when that road turned onto the road I’m on.”

“Someday you’ll see how it’s weird,” he explained to me, “to look back and remember what was and how it all suddenly became what is, although you’re not sure when it happened.”

It seemed like we heard that song everywhere. We heard it at the bar on our first date, months later on the way to the beach, at our first baseball game together and almost every Saturday at the grocery store.

I also heard it on the morning of his funeral, which I thought was some kind of cruel joke. And the next day. And two years later, it’s still everywhere.

I can hear the way he sang that one line under his breath and it haunts me, but not necessarily in a bad way. It’s one of my reminders. It’s just one of those things reminding me to live and make this all worthwhile, even if I have trouble listening to more than 30 seconds of it.

That 30 seconds is enough, and just as I feel the tears welling up, I turn the station and take a deep breath.

Hug people today, folks. Hard, and often.

Exciting Month

3 May

This is an exciting month. I’m running away to a private island off the coast of Honduras. Well, I’ll try, anyway. If they don’t want me to extend my stay, I’ll make my way to El Salvador. There are children in a village there I want to revisit. Or maybe you’ll find me in Mexico, instead, or Miami or Key West.

Before I do any of that though, I’ll be at the beach for a bachelorette party and back home for a graduation, anniversary party and a wedding.

Like I said, this an exciting month.

I’ll admit that secretly I had hoped all these celebrations, far off places and beautiful people would distract my mind from what happened, and what’s coming, but running away never works the way we intend it to though, does it?

It doesn’t matter where you go, you can’t escape people who never really leave when they’re gone. So instead, I’ll take the time to stop and remember. I’ll embrace it, and feel it. I’ll take time for silence, and to say thank you.

Then with my head held high (hopefully), I’ll continue down the path I’m on in this one wild and precious life.

The First Time

9 May

When I got home from work, my puppy Porter was in the window wagging his big fluffy tail. Dane was sitting on the couch, watching a documentary on the History Channel. I changed my clothes and we went to Zen West Roadside Cantina to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with sangria.

He had fish tacos for dinner and I had a quesadilla. We talked about little things of no importance and recalled the loud, old Jewish couple sitting in front of us at the Mary Poppins production we saw the night before. He was good at imitating them and it made me laugh so hard. I remember where we were sitting in the restaurant and the little kid running in circles who repeatedly played the same, really annoying song on the jukebox while his mom and dad completely ignored him. I don’t recollect what song it was now, but it was spinning in my tipsy head as I tried to fall asleep later that night.

Back at my house, we drank wine and watched a show that was saved on the DVR. Porter chased his tail and we laughed. Dane suggested that he was just like that kid at the restaurant, really, except fluffy. He adored Porter. He was mad when I first rescued him because he didn’t want a dog, but as you can see, he fell in love with him pretty quickly:

 

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 3.56.40 PM

 

When it was time for bed, Dane cuddled with me for a bit before heading to his room. He said he was happy things were going well with us (we had fought in the months prior) and we made plans to see each other when I was back home from house sitting on May 9th.

The next morning, he came in early and kissed my forehead before he left. I glanced at him through squinting, sleepy eyes as the sun poured through the sneaky cracks in the blinds, directly on my pillow.

That was the last time I saw him.

We emailed a bit that week and he called on the 8th to say he wasn’t feeling well. He had heartburn. I told him to get some TUMS.

“Thanks, good idea,” he replied, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

That was the last time we spoke.

I’ll never forget a single moment.

The memories we had together and his passing are a constant reminder of the beauty and fragility of breath and life. One year ago, this propelled me out of my routine stillness. It was like an awakening from the numbness of the patient etherized upon a table in T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock.”

Grateful and inspired, the months that followed sparked the first time I truly began to live.

Helen, A Prostitute

8 Mar

Of all the corners in Baltimore City, Helen chose my Hampden corner for turning tricks. She was tall, wore a sports bra and rocked a fancy, champagne blonde 80’s-esque hairstyle.

She yelled at inanimate objects and one time was behind me in line at Rite Aid when I dropped my wallet. She picked it up for me, introduced herself and said she had my back.

Thanks, girl.

Once, I saw her checking car doors while singing “Rush, Rush” by Paula Abdul. Two days later, I forgot to lock my car and the next morning I was greeted by a douche in my cup holder and cigarette ashes all over my front seat (which, by the way, was set down and back and likely used for sexual activity. My car was cleaned vigorously for a couple of weeks after that).

When I saw the douche, I had a flashback to the early 90s and for at least one solid minute, thought it was a Berry B. Wild SqueezIt.

 

Douche


 

Squeezit

 

I hadn’t seen Helen for long time and thought maybe she finally got help and gave up drugs and prostitution, but I went out with a guy the other night who told me that she died. He also said there’s a new prostitute. He described her as “in her 50’s and a bit momish.” Mom-prostitute stands on his corner just a few blocks away, so my corner finally gets a break.

This may sound weird, but I am going to miss Helen. I mean, I didn’t know her, but she was quite a character. She was a part of life, you know? And now she’s not. I’ll never find out what her favorite color was, if she was happy at some point, or if she was ever in love.

Rest in peace, Helen. I forgive you for leaving your douche in my cup holder and probably having sex in my car.

I pray you are in a better place now, on that great corner in the sky.
 

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