Ricordare

Two years ago today we lost our good friend. None of us saw it coming. I have a story to share, and a list of Mark’s wisdoms.
Soon after his mother died, I received a large package in the mail. It was the corduroy patchwork quilt she had made some thirty years before as a going away gift for Mark as he went off to college.Over the years, Marilyn had collected scraps of the fabric from her son’s trousers and shirts, and created this beautiful thing. When I followed Mark up to Northern California, it became my quilt, too.
For Mark to pass this on to me, a quilt over which his mother had lovingly labored, which had been so skillfully sewn as to have no tears or snags after so many years of use was a great comfort to me. Mark’s mother had for some years mothered me as well, and I miss her, too.

In my home, the quilt holds an honored place. We call it “The Mothers Quilt.” Any time someone is ill, or needs some warmth and comfort, out comes the quilt, and a cup of tea. The person is wrapped like a big corduroy burrito, and being a quilt of near magical powers and full of mother love, never fails to raise the spirits of whomever is wrapped within it.

For me, the quilt remains one of the strongest reminders of Mark’s legacy.

Here is a list of words I recall Mark saying, or sentiments I can attribute to him.
1. Always be kind.
2. Consider that the other guy may have had a worse day than you.
3. Wave pedestrians and other cars through a four-way stop.
4. Hug your mother while you still can.
5. Learn three corny jokes. Use them to disarm people and demonstrate that you are not their better.
6. If a friend needs some money, know it was hard for them to ask and give them small chores in exchange so they save face.
7. Remember that most folks really want to do their best.
8. Forgive and forget as often as possible.
9. It’s okay to keep your opinions to yourself.
10.When all is said and done, true love remains forever.

(c) GoshGusPublishing(ascap)2012

Agitato e Accesso!

imagesI do not have a compassionate heart.
I do not possess patience to persevere beyond my limits.
I do not know how to fix my shit. But I will. Somehow.

I want to be to be heard, and for someone to listen.
I want to know if I will ever be happy for longer than an afternoon.
I want to know why I give trust another try, and have it explode in my face
because I am not able unlearn my defensiveness.

And why the one thing so deeply, deeply important to me is used by an adult thru my child to hurt me. I feel grief and failure. I feel menacing anger.

(c)GoshGusMusic(ascap)2009

More Keys. More Stages.

I was taught “The Five Stages of Grief ” in a philosophy class I took back in high school. Apparently, in the intervening years, some clinicians added two more stages. As if those five weren’t daunting enough, we must now swim through ever murkier waters between crisis and resolution. Swell.

Before the old first stage of Denial, we must first confront Shock or Disbelief. This makes sense. Before one can vigorously deny the issue, there has to be an action which precipitates the crisis. Minding the third slot from the old model is Bargaining. This is followed by Guilt, and number five, formerly Acceptance is now in the spleen-venting position of Anger. Number six is Depression. Finally holding forth at number seven is Acceptance & Hope. Such an enormous journey outward from Dante’s misery.

In my experience, each one of these seven stages is interrupted by Anger and Depression at expected intervals. And that adds roughly six more stages which I must slog through. Perhaps my orientation towards processing versus solution is a bit too thorough. At the least, it is inefficient because I fall into the discouraging pattern of one-step-forward-two-steps-back, an adage I find terribly annoying just now.

But this is hard stuff, and I am motivated to slow down the stages to mitigate damages to innocent parties. Mindful, of course, that I need to move forward slowly for my own mental and spiritual health. Just trying to keep moving.

The problem is that my Stages are not really following any predictable path. Five, seven or thirteen- all is a jumble. All is untidy. I can see that any course down this road contains a bit of a bi-polar element. Not pathology really, just a certain unpredictability from day to day of where I’ll find myself. It seems there is a general correspondence to the Stages. Still, something is not working here.

We are given to believe that these stages unfold in a forward path, when in truth, they are traversed over pebbles and gravel, with the occasional unpleasant water feature. On this journey lie confounding trails with intricate mazes, not unlike those found on grand old estates in Britain and elsewhere. Very pretty, but within are dozens of chances to make wrong turns and hit scratchy walls of thorns, or of falling into ditches.

The thorn in my side comes from the person from whom I am trying to unyoke. We are both experiencing these stages, but not at the same rate or time, or place. In addition to being fucking inconvenient, it is damn aggravating. Just when I think I’ve stumbled past Anger, I find myself back in Denial, be it produced by my partner or of my own making. Add to that my experience of observing the other person’s experience. Whoa! Here I’ve managed to navigate past a couple stages down the lane, but my partner is still stuck in wherever I am not…this is a problem.

In any case, I am Bargaining like crazy these days. And bargaining is consumed by Depression, which is motivated by Anger. And round we go in this endless dance.

It is hideous.

Since I tend to view my world through musical language, I’ve noticed that there are corresponding keys to the phases. If you pay any attention in music school, you pick up on the color of keys and harmonics using an incongruous blend of physics and psychology. Were I to rename the “Stages of Grief”, I would subtitle them “A Symphony of Lamentation and Heroic Struggle in C# minor.”

Some other time I might just examine the Circle of Fifths for a comparative study. Presently, it seems, I must attend to Bargaining before I get pissed off again.

(c)GoshGusMusic(ascap)2009