I’m taking a moment.


This is my wife’s birthday… and today I am feeling pretty good– even though grief is gnawing at my edges. This morning when I walked the dog, my son, Justin joined me and it was good to have the company. It was unseasonably warm, but clear and crisp with that deep blue sky that went on forever… and I took pictures of the reflections on the flat water of our tiny lake.

I woke up before my alarm and my mind was already racing to 100 different things, and so I tried to keep everything slow… and to focus on the moment. Somehow, to be fine and to enjoy that.

I haven’t bought anything for my wife yet… I’m going to. There are some plans… and some idea that tonight we are going out for dinner- as is our Tuesday routine.

This was a three-day weekend for me… and I’m not sure why. Justin was off work yesterday, but really sick with some stomach bug. And I spent most of the day driving- taking the red jeep to LA to swap for Aubre’s, my niece’s Honda Element- which was stained with tiny droplets of over-spray from my working on the rail of the deck at her house. I brought it home to discover Justin recuperating on the couch… and my friend Cory came by a bit later and worked on the car for a couple of hours. Then I had to drive it back. It turned into a bit of a long day.

And so today I woke up and felt late, walked the dog late, ate a leisurely breakfast and tea with the cat… and left for work late. And I know that even though I feel good today, that it is one of those days that bears some weight of sadness and it seems almost impossible to disassociate it from my wife’s birthday– which should be a day of joy.

Two years ago was the last day that we all spent with Ethan… it was the last day I was to see him alive. And the effort to bring him to Los Angeles, to surprise his Mother and celebrate Marquita’s birthday and to watch the Superbowl. We dubbed the effort “Operation Fuzzy” and it was pretty successful. The Ravens beat the 49rs in a good close game and we left Ethan at Justin’s house (where Aubre now lives)… It is a happy memory. Nothing about it really should make me sad, except that it is one of those “lasts” that stick with me.

The finality of that… that last memory… that gnaws at me. I fight back at the sadness that might forever be connected with a birthday… to somehow sever that connection. And of course once that connection was made… I can’t keep my mind from trying to review all the details of that Sunday… what we did. What present was Marquita given. What we ate. What commercials we liked…

So today I come to work and I have lost half of my students to the CAHSEE exam… so I re-arranged my lessons. And this might help me… this writing. To sever that connection between joy and sorrow… or at least reconcile it. To focus on today, rather than two years ago… to stop the racing thoughts, and slow things down upstairs. So I can make it a good day. Focus on the now… on happy celebrations and good memories


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