Monday, May 7, 2012

the divide is great

It's hard to remember that the people we love the most are dead. Sometimes it seems like everything is normal. Maybe they're back in Idaho, going about their business. Maybe they're singing songs in their own language with inflection that reminds you exactly of the parts of their speech that you love. It's hard sometimes to mourn. Those people we lose still fill the space that they occupy, but the energy is different. The room my mom spent her final days in, has returned to the cave where I go to do my guy stuff - tuning guitars, oiling various things and inspecting climbing equipment. The gravity in there is returning to normal after one year, five months and two days. My wife is pregnant with the child my Mom spent her entire life saving love for. I think about which story I'll tell my son or daughter first to introduce them to their dead grandmother. I wonder which stories my sisters will tell my child when it comes time to introduce him or her to their own version of our mother.
My mom was a tender, vivacious woman with an abundance of passion and enthusiasm. She believed in striving. She did not fear hard work. She listened to the music she played on the stereo. She was a terrible cook, but for some reason I love that about her.
I think about her everyday.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Zeppelin and bowling

When my mom was dying, Bon Iver was the record that I listened to and cried. It was their first record. Over and over I rode home from school and listened to that record and pedaled through tears, shouting sometimes to myself, ignoring the fact that anybody on the street could hear me. Losing people on the slow bar is hard. My uncle was diagnosed with a brain tumor a couple of weeks ago. Goddamn if I didn't shout as loud as my lungs would allow tonight. The music was different, but I have to say that riding home through tears feels the same for my mom as for one of my favorite uncles. Kevin is my Mom's younger brother. He's wicked smart, funny as hell and fit. Kevin is the uncle that taught me about rock music. I used to go to his house and play Led Zeppelin records. His stereo was so cool, and his records were the shit!!! His roommate introduced me to Ice Tea before they were on MTV, and also opened the door for culinary exploration when he suggested that I develop a taste for Artichokes, because it was a 'hot' date food.
My first memory of Kevin is at some strange house, when he came to visit us. He was a kid! I was 3 years old maybe and he was noisy, enthusiastic and super-fun. He shouted a lot about me as if I was a pro-bowler when I rolled a tennis ball to him. Meanwhile, he and my mom chatted on the porch. I love Kevin. Whatever I know about being a man in the world I learned mainly from Kevin and my uncle Keith. Between the two of them, I had a solid idea of what men did in the world. My mom loved the both of them, and Anna - her sister, and she made a point of making sure I knew each of them. She sent me to their houses for nights and weekends and sometimes weeks. I knew them in my own way, and I learned from them in a way that only I could learn from each of them. They shared similar lessons with my sisters, and they took from them in a way that only they could take.

I don't know what to do. I don't know how to deal with this. I want to exercise some profound wisdom, but I'm just bummed out. I feel like somebody is standing on my chest and kicking me in the head. I feel a little bit pessimistic. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

365 days and counting

A year ago today, my Mom passed away. She was pretty awesome. There is a depression in the couch, where she spent her final months watching my dogs play and listening to our sounds. She didn't weigh a hundred pounds, but the spot is changed forever. I spent the day reading and listening to music, sitting in her spot. I contemplated doing something to commemorate the occasion, but realized that I don't want to commemorate the occasion of her passing. It represents a soft period at the end of a very sad sentence. A sentence that should have lasted longer - been part of a paragraph. The paragraph should have continued into a beautiful story. Children's voices would be heard laughing and squealing as their grandmother chased them around the yard. Descriptions of sunshine and bike rides would unravel on the page punctuated by quiet moments of beauty and stillness. The description of a woman at peace with the world, satisfied at last and content to spend her days soaking it all in, would meander across the page, like the way she rode her bike uphill. Instead, here I am, writing on this blog for the first time since 2010. The last post was a desperate mantra. Something along the lines of we'll be alright. I told myself that for a long time before I realized that to be alright was not to be the same. I'm still figuring it out. I'll never get to be the same. I can be better.
My Mom was a kind woman - tough, and kind. She worked hard all of her life to be better and do better. She didn't give up without a fight and she fought until her last breath. Her death was not a peaceful parting from this world. She battled to live, not because she was afraid of death, but rather, because she wanted to live. She had a lot to live for, and a lot to see.
My mom liked to make jokes when things got bad. In 5th grade, I got pretty beaten up in a skateboarding accident. I was nervous about what kids at school would say. She told me to tell them, "you should have seen the other guy." It was a funny way to respond when somebody said you looked beat. She would throw that joke around occasionally. She looked beat after she died, lying there in bed, small and pale. I imagine her now, smiling and making a fist at me - "you should have seen the other guy!" That would look really bad. That guy is probably still nursing his wounds a year later - walking with a limp and complaining any time the barometer drops.
I miss my mom. I miss her every single day. She was good person to have around.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

March 30, 1958

Shit. What is there to even say? I guess there is a lot, but it all seems like a very bad dream. The holiday season has been intense. Knowing that this has been my Mom's last thanksgiving, Christmas, and will be her last New Years, is tough. There is so much to acknowledge, and process, but it just seems so surreal. My mom has had cancer for a few years now. For almost a year, my Mom has been in a state of decline. It has been slow and merciful, until right around thanksgiving. Since then it has been merciless and aggressive. Her condition worsens daily, which is notable because I didn't know that the living suffered this way. Her liver is shutting down. She is constantly in pain. She weighs 90 lbs, and has almost zero body fat. She eats less than 400 calories a day. I try to make her comfortable. I try to back off from taking care of her when my sisters and aunt are here, so that they will feel the love of caring. I feel like a failure. I feel embarrassed to have problems when my mother is suffering so much. I feel selfish. I wonder if other people feel guilty in these types of situations, and I hope that nobody has ever been in this situation. This fucking sucks.
My mom is going to die in my house. I want that for her. I want her to know that it's alright - that it won't ruin us. I want her to know that we're going to be alright. I want her to be sure that we're going to have children, and lovers and successes and failures. I want her to know that we're going to cherish our memories of her. I want her to know that our successes are her successes, even after she's gone. I want her to know that her life means so much to me; and that her death means. . . I guess I don't know what it means yet. But I know that we will be alright.
I want my mom to know that my children will know who she was. They will know that she liked to ride bikes in the sunshine. She liked to work hard when it was worth it. She didn't stop pedaling on steep hills, but would strafe side to side until she reached the top. When we got to the top, she would marvel at the beauty of Mount Hood in the distance, and her children, so healthy and radiant and near. We would tease her for riding twice as far as us to get to the top of the hill, and she would smile, happy to have made it. Our children will know that their grandmother was a kind person. That she would have loved to show them what it meant to be a grandchild. She would have spoiled them terribly, and I would have been annoyed, but I would have complained very quietly, and I would not have pressed the issue. I and my children will celebrate her birthday, March 30th, 1958, for the rest of my life.
Things are rough here. But we're going to be alright. I love my mother.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Time for a new roommate!

I've been thinking all night long about how to address the situation before me. Truthfully, I'm clueless, and I don't expect a revelation anytime soon. I do know that this is a shitty situation, and I don't want to talk about it. But in order to answer the questions that I'd rather not answer when I meet up with my friends, I thought it best to tell it here. My Mother has been battling cancer for a couple of years. She has a type of cancer that attacks the blood. It is aggressive, unrelenting and apparently deadly. Doctors have been very aggressive in dealing with her treatment. She has participated in several studies, and through her effort, we might someday find a cure. Unfortunately, I spoke with her tonight and she informed me that the doctors had nothing left in their bag of tricks. She's being released from the hospital in Seattle and will be moving in with us at my home. We have a room for her, and I'm excited to spend more time with her.  We don't know how long she'll be with us, and we're not sure what the future holds. We do know that everybody is concerned, and that we all love her very much. So, I thank you for your concern, and I appreciate that you care. Please stay positive and hope for the best.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kiln is loaded

Firing for four days
Pouring molten bronze on Tuesday at 6pm
You're invited