(The point of the photo is this: Clearly a gravestone, sad & all, but behind it, gorgeous blue sky!)
The 4th of January will be my official 3rd year here on Open Salon. My first piece, nervously posted, was something like 25 Things About Me, & the last three were about the loss of my nephew.
When my mom was dying, I came here a lot, & I wrote my way through her death, writing in the dark, bedside on an ancient laptop, then down to the nursing home lobby in the wee hours of the morning to retype what I'd written on the also ancient donated computers.
I convinced my sister to get on here (you're welcome!) & she's found this whole community of support & friendship. My niece is on here, too, now!
A lot of wonderful writers that were here when I first signed up are no longer here, & I miss reading their stuff, & wonder where they are & what happened to them. I understand how it happens, as I've been pretty sporadic myself, especially this year. I do the same thing lots of us do -- we don't have time to read, so we don't write, because we feel guilty because we don't read.
I think writers are like totally guilt-wracked anyway. We are always supposed to be writing, but then the cat pees on the desk, or the kid needs to talk, the Old People need a visit & some donuts, a friend calls, a cake needs baking, the roll on your waist needs to come off, the sun is shining, the leaves are falling, it's snowing. We are always supposed to be writing -- we WANT to write -- but Real Life says Look At Me!
I have this ongoing list taped next to my desk with 30 major items on it. All of which absolutely have to be done. Some of the stuff has been on the list for as long as I've been on OS.
What I'm finding is, we get older & people start dying or getting really sick. They take antidepressants. Maybe their kids somehow got screwed-up. A divorce. An estrangement. The wrong job. No job.
My friend, Mary, was here this weekend & we were watching this old video from 20 years ago. I'd just turned 40, she was like 43. We were all dark-haired & slender & practically gorgeous, & everything was all hopeful! Granted, we'd both experienced some pretty shitty adversity, but we felt great, we looked good, our kids were adorable & the future seemed shiny & wonderful!
Twenty years later we are wiser & calmer & less stressed & we are just as funny & we laugh at nature's theft of our glowing-ness. We're both with men we love, we are all great friends.
But now we've watched our parents die, watched our children & nieces & nephews go thru tough times. Our sisters are both with difficult men. Some of our friends have serious health issues. Widowed friends. Friends lost to heart attacks or cancer or alcohol. Long-time marriages ending in divorce.
I have this friend & we used to race grocery carts thru Lucky's & now he's dealing with a daughter on drugs & traumatized grandsons & he doesn't laugh all the time like before. Another friend -- this amazing funny original woman -- struggles thru her husband's remarriage. Widows sit with small dogs & gaze at empty chairs. Cats are carried off by coyotes. Old dogs die.
60 year old women write depressing posts about loss.
A few days ago I gazed at the sparkly Christmas tree & burst into tears at the Roches singing "Star of Wonder." I was sad that my nephew had died. I missed the stupid cat. I missed my mom, even my lost demented mom.
But the tree still sparkled, & Christmas morning my grandsons sparkled, too, unwrapping Nerf guns & Sirius Black wands, Transformers & marbles -- even Beanie Babies (which they use for elaborate Beanie Baby vs. She-Ra battles. The Beanie Babies have swords made from ink pens, held to the Beanie Babies by rubber bands. Clearly, the Beanie Babies no longer have the valuable tags.).
And I guess what this means is, Life Goes On, & happily, the next generation is all gorgeous with hope & dreams. And we get to sit back, all comfortable with our wine & our easy joy, & remember what it felt like, & be grateful that we had that time, & be grateful for our time now & the blessing of watching it all play out.
When I was young, it seemed like Death hung out in a corner, quiet, studying his nails, napping. But lately it seems like Death is sitting with us at the table, all drunk & self-important, barreling thru our lives like he was invited or something.
I think it's time for Death to go back to his corner for awhile. I'll fix up a pillow & light a patchouli candle. (Death loves patchouli even more than I do.) I'll put on a little Townes Van Zandt, tuck a black velvet throw around Death's gnarly feet, set his scythe on top of the stereo so the cats can't pee on it. Time for a nap, Death. Take a rest, you've been working too hard.
New Year's Resolutions: Lose 5 pounds, pet the cats, hang with the dog, seriously kiss the husband, call the friends, finish the novel, read the books, get strong, toss all the crap, simplify, whine less, love more, really listen, pay attention, do yoga, ride the Harley, take lots of hikes, go all uncensored, don't bother worrying, go all corny-adoration of everyone you love. Keep laughing.