06 January 2019

Funerals Make Me Feel Stuff



Comment on a shared video of a funeral procession: “Wonder if he knew how much he was loved and valued.”

Of course he didn’t.

None of us ever do.

I know that funerals are not about the dead guy. They’re really about the people left behind. That said, free to ignore everything below; I’ll be dead, so I won’t really care.

I don’t want anyone to stand up at my funeral and lie. Unless they are making up stories about how I died. (See last line.)

I want someone to say, “Yeah, Krissy was pretty much an asshole. But if she loved you, she loved you.”

I want my kids to stand up and say, “As a mother, she was pretty…eh. But she did love the fuck out of us.”

I want Reeves to stand up and say, “Tried to put Krissy in a cab one time, holy fucking spider monkey.”

I want Kensey to tell everyone that I drew a gun on him.

I want Scotty to say, “See, that’s just what she did… went to places trying to get herself killed.”

I want Cyn to tell everyone I took away her catnip and all the paper plates. 

I want people to stand up and tell the most ridiculous, awful, heartfelt stories they can remember about me.

Mostly though, I want people to know and remember that I wasn’t a great person, but I tried to be a better person. And I loved. I loved so incredibly much

*When we lie about how I died, can we somehow work a snowboard, a gerbil, Kensey’s cat, Sally, and rock-climbing into it?

09 December 2018

I'll Probably Have Friends in Hell

I'm not good at feeling things.

If I had a dollar for every time someone has told me that I'm detached, emotionally stunted, distant or cold, I'd be a mother-fucking millionaire.

I am none of those things.

The problem is that I feel too many things, too deeply.

I'm working on it.

I couldn't survive if I didn't shut down sometimes. I couldn't live with myself if I quit caring. It's a fucked up balancing act.

I'm working on it.

I wish strangers, fuck, I wish friends wouldn't throw their feelings at me. I'm incapable of ignoring them.

I don't just go throwing my own feelings around all willy-nilly like.

Feelings overwhelm me.
Mine.
Loved ones'.
Strangers'.
I have to ignore them.  I have to avoid them. They will consume me if I don't.

Yes, I do know that nothing about this is healthy.

I'm working on it for fuck's sake.

Not real hard, but still...working on it.

I'm so fortunate to have a set of like-minded, cold, emotionally distant, self-medicating assholes to call friends.

You know who you are.

At least we'll all be together in Hell. Probably.

Okay Enough Mom

So my kid told me she smoked pot. I didn't react, because she's mostly a tiny Krissy and the worst thing I could possibly do is react.

In some sort of weird Mom-moment, I figured I should share this information with her father. Apparently he thinks if I was an "actual mom," I would be angry and punish her.

Weird.

Reminding him that he was smoking a literal fuck-ton (Pretty sure fuck-ton is an actual measurement) of pot at her age was super unproductive.

I don't want my kids smoking pot. But I'm also not naive enough to think that they won't. Especially during that super awkward middle school age.

So I didn't tell her it was okay, but I also didn't get angry

Maybe not reacting harshly and grounding her for a few years makes me a bad person and a shitty mother.

I feel like her willingness to tell me she tried it, though, kinda makes me an okay enough mom.

I'm good with that.

28 August 2018

What Cancer Really Is

Technically, cancer is simply an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells which results in disease, says Google.

Google can't feel.

Cancer is so much more.

It's regret for every harsh word spoken, for every other thing left unspoken and for every moment taken for granted, or worse, not taken at all.

It's hope and fear all swirled together in a strange black hole that settles somewhere between my stomach and spine.

It's a tightness in my chest that forces my shoulders inward.

It's pride and faith that forces them back out again.

It's prayer to a God I don't even think I believe in, and to several others I know I don't, just in case.

It's blinding love.

It's an odd mixture of hope, fear and adrenaline.

A sort of fucked up fight or flight response to someone's pain. A compulsion to help do anything, everything, because cancer isn't a problem I can fix.

It's a need for more time together.

It's agony, seeing his pain.

It's immeasurable happiness, seeing his joy.

It's overwhelming, heartbreaking and yet also heartwarming in terms of the support received.

It's treatment and doctors and side effects and pain.

It's a realization of just how little time we all have together.

It's the time taken to notice all the stupid little things that actually matter.

I'll never call it anything but evil but it has changed my view of life and understanding of family and priority in ways that nothing else ever has.


I love you Big Brother. You're the strongest person I've ever known.

31 December 2015

My Grandfather's Wife

I’ve tried to write this a hundred times, but had a hard time finding the right words. I was very close to my grandmother. She was so loved. She is so missed.

My grandfather sat in a chair near her bed, resting his head on their joined hands. After some time, he stood, smoothed the hair from her forehead and kissed it gently. He stood there for a while, simply looking at her. I could tell he didn’t want to leave her and I felt a bit guilty for witnessing such a private moment. When he finally did leave the hospital room, he came out holding her single shoe as if it were a child. It is a picture of grief I will never forget.

What does someone say in that moment, when they are saying goodbye to the person they’ve shared their life with? I love you. Thank you for loving me, for our sons, for everything. I’m not ready to lose you. I’m sorry.

My own thoughts reflected the selfish side of grief. I’m not ready either. I still need you. Are you proud of me? And later, standing in a department store, trying to pick out shoes through a haze of tears, I can’t do this Grandma. You aren’t here to tell me whether these are appropriate for a funeral or not.

Sitting at the funeral home and watching people come to pay their respects; I thought about how much of our lives belong to other people. Carolyn was a cherished, long-awaited only child. For a time, she belonged only to her parents. Later she was a student, a friend, an employee, a neighbor and a million other things. For many years, as a mother, she belonged to her four sons. As a grandmother, she belonged to us. As a great-grandmother, she first belonged to Trinity, the baby girl she never had. I was happy to share, and am so grateful for the bond she built with my daughter.

A lot of people can claim pieces of the years she spent on Earth. But as I watched my grandfather, bent over her recently closed casket with his head in his hands I realized that most of her had belonged to him.

I was humbled and a bit ashamed that I’d not considered her life before it included me, aside from the vague understanding that she’d had one. I imagined my grandparents when they were young, bringing home their first baby, buying their first home, building the family and life we all claim as our own now. I’d never before thought of them as being the same people that they’d been when they started their life together. I only truly understood the enormity of my grandfather’s loss then, when I realized that for everything she was to others, she’d spent the largest portion of her life, 58 of her 76 years, being his wife.


It was a strange moment of understanding. Not unlike the first time a child realizes that teachers are real people and have lives outside of school. When I looked at my grandmother in her casket, I saw the woman I’d always seen. I imagine that my grandfather saw much more. I’d imagine he saw his high school sweetheart, the girl he married, the mother of his children, the woman who made a home and life with him. I’d guess that when my grandfather looked at my grandmother
in her casket, he saw his whole world.

31 December 2014

Douche-Bagging America

There's been so much talk about the pussification of America. Personally, I have the feeling we're creating douchebags. 

You see, there I was walking down Bourbon Street in NOLA, and there's some poor bastard camped out in the middle of the street, between the blockades. I asked the guy if he was okay where he was, or if he needed help to get to the sidewalk. He said he'd rather be on the sidewalk. I attempted to help him stand up. 

While I was holding this guy's hand and trying to help him stand, some fucking kid walked by and pretended to kick him in the head. Having already had more than a few shots of tequila, I informed the kid that he was a fucking douchebag. To which, the kid replied, "I was just joking. I'm really a nice guy." He asked the street guy if he could help. I told him I'd shoot him if he touched the street guy again. 

I felt like if I didn't, at this point, inform the kid that he was a ridiculous piece of shit, probably no one in his life ever would, so I did. I also may or may not have threatened bodily harm. 

And what does this have to do with douche-bagging America? Fucking everything.

 We keep telling our kids that they're so special, and making sure they feel like they're worth something that we forget to teach them that they aren't the only worthwhile people in the world.

We forget to tell them that they're lucky to be here instead of "there," wherever "there" might be. I don't care if the dude in the middle of the Bourbon Street gets hammered and camps there every night. He's still a person. At some point, he was someone's son; maybe he was someone's brother, father, uncle or husband. I don't know what brought him to the place he's at now and I don't care.  

I can teach my children a lot of things, but I can't imagine anything more important than teaching them compassion, empathy and responsibility.

And also mostly just not being fucking douche-bags. 

05 October 2014

Being a Writer, Er, Being Bat-Shit Crazy

"See, I can write well, but I'm not a writer. The difference is, you are compelled to write, and I have to be compelled to write." - Kensey Alsman, sometime, somewhere, probably at a bar. 

I have this incredibly talented daughter, who, at the age of 2 would sit for hours and color and cut and paste and make stuff. She did not choose to be an artist, she just is and always has been. Being a writer is mostly the same thing.

I don't think that anyone chooses to be a writer. We are, in general, some pretty goddamned disturbed people. 

"Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand."-George Orwell

E.L. Doctorow, compared writing to "a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia," which is almost true.

Writing is like hearing voices, except they're speaking very softly in languages I don't always understand  

I spend days, weeks sometimes, existing on an hour or two of sleep a night staring at a blank Microsoft Word page.  Possibly because I am batshit crazy- but also, maybe, because something in me is working on making its way out. Words, phrases, images, ideas and sometimes just the impressions of ideas highjack my brain and they won't shut the fuck up until I figure out how to get them out. Sometimes, oftentimes really, they're shit when they do come out, but at least they're out and that restless feeling ebbs for a week or two.

Then, if a writer is really unlucky, someone tells them that they're good at it. Now, the almost-voices are not only demanding to be interpreted, they expect to be interpreted well. 

I have nothing truly profound to share with the world. Everyone has a story, or stories. The difference, I guess, is that mine keep trying to come to life in my head.

I suppose the entire point of this post is just to say, if there were such things as muses? They'd be fucking assholes.