People who have near death experiences all talk about a peaceful, euphoric , bright light enveloping them. From the moment we are conceived, we are moving towards that light. This is my heels diggin' in, I don't wanna' go, reluctant journey, into the light. Stephen

Thursday, September 30, 2010

True Friendship/Fused Souls

This is a repost of one of my early blog posts.  My friend Tommy was on my mind tonight and I went back and read this and decided to share it with some of the new folks who have been stopping by.  Hope you like it.

July 13, 1975

When I walked in, it smothered me. An aura. A wet woolen blanket of despair. Like a house where they have been burning railroad ties in the woodstove all winter. An onerous creosote stench that the breezy, open windows of spring will never remove. I wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary. Just another day. Another day of youthful exuberance and innocence in a long string of such unemcumbered days. I was 17, and it was all about me. That was about to change.

I have a friend. My best friend. One I don’t see much anymore, but still my bedrock. We can literally go years, and immediately upon re-connecting, pick up exactly where we were. That special connection never ceases to amaze me. No awkwardness, no pregnant pauses in conversation, just instantaneous revival of perfect comfort. Like how your high school letterman’s jacket would feel if you never gained weight, forever 185 well proportioned pounds. The feel of leather on your arms, the pride in that big W with the shiny stuff pinned to it. Familiar and safe. Comfort you can trust.

The same with his family. They were my family too. And my Mother was his as well. His older brothers looked out for me, and his older sisters teased me. And his little sister, the most beautiful little 4 year old you ever laid eyes on, was the apple of all our eyes. Kimmy was a late in life surprise. A blessing, a glue that united all of us. When everyone is doting on the same little angel, there’s not much time to worry about stupid little trivial conflicts between other family members. Her beautiful glow, warmed the entire family. I loved her.

I have a little sister, but then I had two. Blood was not a familial qualifier. I have this memory of Kimmy on my shoulders, me playing big brother, the almost out of control steed. I can hear her squeals and giggles still. And then I am back walking into that smothering kitchen. I knew something was wrong instantly. Being my second home, you knock with one hand while turning the door knob with the other , I went right in. All the women were around the kitchen table. Quiet, something not right. The coffeepot was there, hot, perking, the only normal thing in the room. This was a kitchen of light and joy, smelling of homecooking and safety. Until then. Somebody, I don’t remember who, mumbled that Tommy was in the basement. I went down. I knew the way. I practically lived there most of the time. Tommy was face down on his bed, motionless, unresponsive when I said, “Hey, man.” It took at least an hour to get the story out.

At first he muttered, “Kimmy.” Then he cried while I began to feel nauseous. My lingering premonitions from the kitchen were played out in a word or two every 5 minutes or so. Even though I didn’t know what the hell was up, I knew that it was bad. I sat, and waited, and listened. I’m not lying about it taking an hour. “Kimmy,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,was playing,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and Dad,,,,,,,he backed up,,,,,,,,,and,,,,,,,,,,she was there,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,on her big wheel,,,,,,,,,,and she’s dead. There is no way to prepare for those words, “…she’s dead.” I have never in my 52 years been kicked that hard. I’m crying on my keyboard at this moment. Devastation is an understatement.

I had arrived only an hour after the ambulance had taken her. It was to be my future Mother-in-Law’s last time on the volunteer ambulance. It was too much. Kimmy wasn’t just loved by her family. Her death tore a huge gaping wound in the whole community. Small North Eastern Nevada town. Kimmy’s Dad, utterly destroyed. He was a prominent, well-respected businessman and community leader. I know for a fact he seriously contemplated suicide. Who wouldn’t. The fact that he bore that pain without surrendering to his demons, speaks volumes about his character. He drank more, but I don’t begrudge him that. Self medicating to survive. It was an accident. But an accident that forever changed his family. And he nutted up and lived on to provide for his family. He didn’t heap a second helping of tragedy on those he loved. Kimmy’s death also cemented my brotherhood with Tommy, for life.

I didn’t leave him for weeks. I had just graduated from high school and was leaving for college in a few months. Tommy was a year behind me and I worried about not being there. I felt like I had to buck him up, not let him drop back down into the abyss of hell we were trying to climb out of. It was hard to act normal and just go on living. We tried. At times it worked, at times we failed. Others, less emotionally invested, moved on more easily. I remember long somber silences, excruciating pain, communicated with merely eye contact. A simple meeting of the eyes spoke louder than words. Words that fell short of expressing how bad we missed her. How bad we hurt. How pissed we were. There was anger, I can’t lie. “How in the FUCK could God let this happen. How in the Fuck could…………….”, on and on. I was much older, with many years of waters from the fountain of wisdom under the bridge when I actually understood that anger. Anger releases emotion. We were all desperate for the emotional holocaust to subside. Anger was just a pressure relief valve. For some, that surplus emotional energy was aimed at Tommy’s Dad. I’m not going to pass judgement on any who lived it, and survived it, because even the misplaced anger came from a place of love for Kimmy. But I can say that Tommy and I never quit loving his Dad.

I did go away to college, and like Tommy, eventually married a good gal who would put up with me and we raised a family. I have a wife and 2 boys, and Tommy has a wife and 2 boys. But no matter how we explain it, or recount the sheer misery of it, none of those who we love most will ever be able to understand how we survived that horrible time together. The sheer emotional intensity of those times fused our souls. I don’t know how else to better describe it. Fused souls don’t come undone. And my idea of a soul, is that each human soul is individual, unique, and eternal. Which gives me hope, that someday, someway, somehow, once again Kimmy will ride the shoulders of her almost out of control steed and squeal and giggle in our ears.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Family Ties

Catfishing at night, with your Nephew, is very cool.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Kill The Blog / Fail

Obviously I have not been motivated to devote time and energy to this blog.  Half a dozen times I had a finger poised above the delete button.  But, yesterday, I was reminded that there is a role, small though it may be that I can play on the great big wonderful internet.

  We live in troubled times and too often we end up missing opportunities to have our lives enriched, our perspectives broadened, or miss a chance to be a positive influence, because of apathy, ignorance, or anger.  A brick is just a brick, but many bricks can become a cathedral.  This blog is just one of my bricks.

A perfect example would be Brigid and Shannon.  Complete strangers become as sisters.  Shannon stumbled onto my blog and followed my blogroll to Brigid.  I'm not part of that new relationship, but by this blog being here, a connection was made.  That nexus continues to grow.  It makes me very happy.

Despite not posting on this blog, I still follow and occasionally comment on all those blogs on my sidebar.  They are touchstones for me.  No less important than coffee and a crisp newspaper.  Like clockwork, I run through my favorites list early every morning.  Including Lex.  You will notice Brigid's Home On The Range on Lex' blogroll.  Another cool thing I had a hand in. By having the courage to drop a couple little notes, two spheres of influence far beyond my own modest little blog interfaced.  It made me very happy.

Then yesterday, this happened.  Loralee has been one of my favorite bloggers for a couple years now, and when I saw her over at Lex' place, I was surprised. Pleasantly.  Then after absorbing the shock from Loralee's post, I headed for Neptunus Lex.  And saw this.  You need to go read the comments on both posts to fully understand what happened.  Again, it wasn't about me, but rather,  that by participating, I had a teensie little part in these two completely different worlds coming together. It made me very happy.

This is why I'm going to continue this blog.  I want to continue to have a small, but not insignificant part in bringing diverse voices together, so that not only those blogging talents I admire and follow, but their followers as well, can have their lives enriched by broadened perspectives, and thoughtful and civil discourse.