Brokedown Palace

“Listen to the river sing sweet songs to rock my soul”


This tune pulling me, demanding attention, and playing it endlessly on my piano. Last night I learned that another old friend had died in his sleep the night I initially published this post. It was shocking news. We had been out of touch after his best friend, my high school sweetheart, had died unexpectedly in 2010 on New Year’s day.

The summer before my senior year as an undergraduate, we sparked a romance that flamed out when lifestyle differences became impossible for me to tolerate. I just disappeared with a brief note.

Years later, we tried again, but within a few months I remembered why it hadn’t worked before. I lost track until a chance circumstance reunited my two guys and me. The dynamic was awkward. Both men, both friends cared for me and helped me when I most needed understanding and support to leave an abusive marriage. I’ll never forget the kindness of this pair.

Both men had become morbidly obese. Both men avoided preventive medical care. After my first friend passed on, I encouraged the second one to go see his physician. You could see he had high blood pressure, certainly a serious cholesterol situation, and must have had heart disease. He was deeply depressed and experienced panic attacks, but would not seek support, which is how it goes when your undergraduate degree is in psychology.

We planned a memorial for our friend, and it gave us a way to process our grief. But it sent my surviving friend into a terrible depression, and he became dark and menacing. I felt unsafe. My BFF had come for the service, over which I presided. I felt threatened, and my girlfriend  (my bestie, who was dead three years later after a terrible battle with melanoma) looked at me and said we needed to get out of his house, so at 2:00 a.m. we packed the car and left without saying goodbye. That was the last time I talked to him.

A month ago, he posted a comment on this blog, suggesting we should try writing songs again. I ignored the request. This was not what I wanted. I was not going for a third try.

I am sorry that this man leaves behind two young adult children, a mother and father, a brother and nieces and nephews. He leaves behind friends, some nice guitars, and some beautiful songs and recordings of his pretty, soulful voice with it’s fluttery vibrato.

Sleep peacefully, my friend.

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

dawn daylight environment fog

I’ve criticized you on many occasions, and I regret it deeply. You never deserved to be criticized. My behavior was a reflection of my own fear that you might not succeed. But you’re doing just fine, and I don’t have to criticize your choices or actions. Especially now that I realize it was never really helpful,  I’m very sorry for all the times I made you feel bad about yourself. I’m committed to changing that behavior. I hope we can start over.  Love, Mother