Monthly Archives: January 2017

Writing to Reach You

This may be a jumbled mess, and for that, I apologize.  My brother-in-law took his own life a few days ago, and I am doing all I can to process and help my husband process all the feelings and emotions that go along with suicide.  It is more than I can put into words.  I wish I could have given him more.  I wish he could have received what we all had to give.

 

I use this title knowing you would have scoffed at it, #1 Music Nerd that you were.  You would say that using a Travis song as a title for this little piece of writing is trite and frankly bullshit, as Travis is a band that got undeserved notoriety and they are melancholy and suck anyway.  I do not use it to spite you and your music taste.  (I can hear you:  “FUCKING TRAVIS????”)  Yes, Fucking Travis, because it’s me, not someone else.

I use it because I should have used it months, years ago.

I will remember you for just that – your ability to tell me how the Smiths were pompous (true) and how music is better when it’s not really recognized by the mainstream (sometimes?).  I will remember you for your passionate stances on God-or-No-God/Politics/World Events/Legalization.  I will remember meeting you for the first time with your brother, wondering who these smart motherfuckers were who were beating me mercilessly at bar trivia.  I will remember you at countless dinners we had, I will remember you dancing, I will remember you and the glimmer you sometimes would get for wanting a better life for yourself, and I will remember you for talking to our dog in a baby voice and loving him no matter how often you did or did not see him.  I will remember how you spoke of your daughters and how the love you had for them shone through no matter what, even in the midst of struggle.  You were uniquely you at all times, in defiance of norms, and despite your surroundings.  I will remember that there were indeed good days.  There were not-good days too.  I will remember those as well.  Turbulence is a force that sometimes does not quit or knows any bounds.  I can’t forget it.  But I can do everything in my power to forgive.

I would ask all of us, no matter who is reading this, that if you or a friend of yours feels like life is too overwhelming and cannot understand how to begin to pick up the pieces, there is help out there.  That if you or that friend has the ability to reach out, do the reaching.  Sometimes our reach to you falls short.  Sometimes it doesn’t have the impact we want it to have.  Sometimes, there just is no saving.  I know in my heart that you might not have known another way, right then, at that moment.  I love you because I just do.  Whether you let me or not.

I will talk to you now, even though it’s too late, in the quiet times of the day or night, in the wake of all our heartache, in the space you have left.  Repair comes when we let it come.  I will choose to repair, no matter how late it is, no matter how much it hurts, no matter what anyone else believes.  I know there is a part of you that will exist beyond consciousness, beyond human form, and I will do what I can to repair both our hearts in that open, grey, and imperfect space.  My guess is you might be calling bullshit on that, too, but you know what?  It’s what I’m doing.  If I could stand one more time in the blizzard of your wrath, I would do just that.  And then some.

I love you because I just do.  Whether you let me or not.

 

chris

 

 

 

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Thank You, Human Person

When they told us that we might be able to get our copies of The Audacity of Hope signed at a rally in Dallas in late 2007, we knew that there were a host of long shots involved.  We all piled up our books with sticky notes inside them with our names, and then went on to do the work of the volunteer:  Hand out stuff.  Talk to people.  Pretty much all the things I hated to do because, as outgoing as I seem, I do not enjoy foisting myself on the general public.  I was committed to getting him elected, even if he didn’t have a chance.

We stood in a large room at Gilley’s and listened to him speak.  I remember it was a weird time, early, like 5 or 6 pm on a weekday.  The room was packed, his mic wasn’t that good, and the crowd was energetic.  A few minutes before he was finished speaking, the volunteers were told to go out in the hall to anticipate the crowd as they left, to hand out flyers regarding when and where to vote, and how to encourage others to do so during the primary.  All of a sudden, a very stern-looking, diminutive but strong woman in a navy suit and short heels was headed straight for me.  It was hard to miss the fact that she was wearing a gun and an earpiece.  She said, “We need all the volunteers out here to line up!  He wants to say hello.”  And we did.  Quickly.  Before I had a chance to figure out what I was going to say, he was standing in front of me, holding out his hand for me to shake it, and he pointedly said, “And what is your name?”  I barely got it out.  It was a moment I will never forget.  We left with our books, each signed.

The night of the election in 2008, my husband and I went with a group of friends down to Bishop Arts where they had the streets blocked off and big screens in several locations to watch the returns.  I remember almost sinking to the pavement when they called it for him.  I had been an election judge for the primary.  I had never worked so hard for anything in my life.  I had risked my job by standing up to a boss who deemed Obama a Muslim terrorist openly and publicly.  My husband lost his job because he took a day off to work the primary with me.  I remember standing in a burger joint that night in Bishop Arts, tears streaming down my face, while watching him speak in Grant Park after the election results.

There is nothing I can write about President Obama that hasn’t already been written.  He had ups.  He had downs.  I spent the first few years hoping that he would not get shot.  He was not perfect.  He could not accomplish everything he wanted to do.  He had a hand in some things that were not good.  Despite it all, I was proud on the whole to have a very intellectual and thoughtful person in the highest office in the land.  I was proud that I had an incredibly small role in getting him there.

Given what we are facing tomorrow, I am – if nothing else – amazed and honored that I was alive to see the first African-American President of the United States serve this country in the best way he could for eight years.  I will miss him.  I will not watch the inauguration of an ill-educated, misogynistic, racist businessman.  I will set my thoughts to a higher purpose.  I will attend a Women’s March the next day.

I am unsure about where we are headed as a nation – the progress we have made in the last eight years seems vast.  Can it all be undone?  What I know is this:  There are those of us out here who are ready to fight, march, vote, and speak truth to power.  We will not let go of the idea that progress is something only we can forge.  That regression is not an option.  That this country, for all it’s failed experiments, is still ours to try to make succeed.

We are many.

 

 

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