Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The little pink bandaid on my right index knuckle has a cute design, something for girl-children who know they are girls.

On my rough, working hand, this material has cracked and frayed, just in one short afternoon, after multiple replacements.

I turn my hand over, and I see a powerful yet gracile structure, single-jointed fingers of great sensitivity, frayed cuticles and flattened knuckles from my work. When I am training enough, keels of callus also rise. But not now.

I am a workman, I don the overalls of the Japanese monk or crafter for a reason.

These blunt fingers, this blunt mind, I like to solve problems.

The tracery of scars from bones, to skin and gristle, only helps me understand my subjects better.

My father beat his body to make our living. I have made my life's work, a way for people like him, to not be so trapped in that battle.

I have already done the work I needed to do, to reconcile.
I just did not consciously acknowledge that I was doing it.

I knew I needed to be ready. I just didn't know it would be so soon.
The means still sticks in my heart like a crossbow bolt..

I'm caught in the swirl of events, waiting to land with my own two feet, sharpening my talons for what I need to get them into.

I also have to sort through a multitude of hometown issues.. besides the broken heart and the lost icon and my family..

I have a spine of spring steel, teeth like chipped diamonds, and my heart is Pele's best friend.. I have all the resources to survive this.

It's just the steps I need to take, to really make it count.
That's hard.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

For my brother..
We are in mourning, no way to deny it.

We were both close to, and crazy about our dad.
And he was crazy about us. As a proud father should be.
We are rarely gifted, with a personal relationship with our dear ol' Dad.
We are rare and dearly lucky.

He was taken from us in a particularly brutal and traumatic way, and you took the brunt of it.
The moment you told me "it's bad" and "you need to be here" I knew exactly what I was walking into. I will never forget that Jersey nurse saying "It's pretty rough in there" and me swallowing my horror, and saying "yes, I know" and walking in to be who and what I needed to be, for you, and for Dad.
Nothing else mattered to me, but that I be the powerhouse my heart can give me, from the love of my family.

One of the songs I love, by Guy Forsyth, is "If I was Sick, and I couldn't get Well"
one of the lines was "would you wait with me"
"wings made of needles, crash into the ground"
"would you take a stand.. "
"I would hold you forever, or at least until"
"I would wait with you"

We did take the stand we needed to take.
Dad gave us the legal tools we needed, to do what we needed, for him.

One of the most healing conversations I had with one of my dear clients, an Air Force medic who has been there in far, far worse situations than either you or I can imagine (she cannot attend barbeques), she was so adamant that we had done the right thing, she couldn't repeat it often enough.

"Honey, your mind may play second guess games with you, but never doubt your heart, you did the right thing, you did the best thing, and your daddy is so grateful and proud of you"

Of course I fell apart then, and I fall apart now, but in the company of those who face death and dying in the worst possible times, there is no shame.

I'm lucky, I have spent time in the company of chaos.
I know what it is to lose a good life, in a good cause. Or just to lose a life to stupidity.

Losing a life so close to my own, with the cloud we are still under.. it it always uncertainty that hurts the worst.

I am still waiting, with you.
We have, and we are, the future.

When we have healed, let us fly like he meant us to.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Posting from Austin, Texas, where I've been since late September.
Our dear ol' Dad was in a drastically terrible auto-tractor/trailer accident on September 27, and my brother and I acted on his living will and directives, and pulled the ventilator on October 1, 2011, and held our dear father as he died.
I'm sure my dad wanted it to be another way, he wanted to be eaten by coyotes, or hogs, or somehow or another to go out on a quieter note.
My biggest regret is that my father's last days were painful, emotionally difficult, and that he was, while intubated, unable to communicate precisely. My brother and I spent every possible waking hour talking to him, guessing for him, reading to him (mostly the 23rd Psalm,  I wish I could say he responded well to Thoreau and Bassho, but he didn't) and just being with him.
One of the things my father gave me, through standing up to him, was a kind of fearlessness.
I always knew I would lose him, and I always feared, that I would fall completely apart when I did. I was afraid I would howl like a coyote at the funeral, but our dear cousin Butch and his coy-dog and German Shepherd and I had several good howls, just for fun, and it totally cleared my heart. I was afraid that I would howl for days. I may yet..
I had to be very clear and present for my brother, for the family, and I had to Get Things Done, and there is nothing for the hunter but to have a quarry.
I knew, when I got on that airplane, with the health power of attorney tucked under my arm, that I was going to have to guide my brother and I through the process of letting our father go. I had very clear direction from my father, not just that, but very clear intention, and my only regret is that we waited as long as we did, and subjected to our Dad to that much more pain and privation. The dying suffer for the wants of the living. Our father spend four days in pain and unknowable privation, a proud, independent, fastidious man, unable to do a thing for himself, in incredible pain, unable to communicate, with his children obviously in distress and caring for him, drying his tears, reading to him, holding him (and holding him down, in my case). After I filed the health power of attorney, the staff was very responsive to what I felt and saw as my father's needs. His broken clavicle/scapula was incredibly painful, and after 16 hours of ineffective Lidocaine patches, I got him some Fentanyl, and he was much more comfortable, though headed down the Exit Express..
If the living really want to respect the dying, we need to learn to let them go faster, sooner, and we need to stop being so selfish.
That was what I understood from the trauma staff.. those people live to fix lives, not to prolong pain and suffering. They made it very plain to us, and I said to my brother, "we have been selfish enough" and I took his hands in mine, and we looked into each others' eyes, and I asked him the question I knew I had to ask.. "are you ready".
My brother, sick of suffering, and brave, said "Yes".
I could have never done it, without him.
Ol' Pat played some jokes on us, even on the way out. He is still making himself known, he is giving us gifts and communications.
Dad is our favorite Poltergiest, and we welcome his jokes, tricks, lessons and free and playful spirit.
I am still free, clear and present, but that great vast emptiness that is grief, is such a huge part of my life right now.
My dad would be very proud of our 10-year wedding anniversary, I'm sure he had something planned for it, we had a nice Greek dinner together with Patrick, Megan, and Mombi, and I think he would have been thrilled about that. All he ever wanted, all that made him happy, was to have as much of his family around him at one time, as was possible.
In this event, I'm sure he knows that we have been together more, and bonded more, than his wildest dreams. This extends to our dear Unka Bubba's son P (Taz) and we are talking about what older parents need to do, to leave their children free and clear to care for them, and let souls go as needed. Please go to, and get it done.
The blood on the tracks so far, says that that's the easier path.