First and foremost before I get into the nitty gritty, Happy New Year. Everyone seems to mark the passage of time by two or three major events that happened in their lives and the amount of elapsed time between what happened from the original event to the present. A New Year is the only time where you pretty much just kick out the old garbage and say, “Never again” (as is my case, after having the worst year of my almost 50 years on this planet) or raise a glass for a successful year. It’s the only time you get a “do over” every year, and sometimes you take it and other times you don’t.
The past decade for me has been the worst ten years of my life. It began promising with a new promotion and a new job, and the birth of my youngest daughter. Then 9/11 happened, and all bets were off after that. For former readers and maybe some newbies to my blog that are just playing catch up, you know the details. (I won’t rehash for anyone else except to say that go on back into the vaults here at “Intersections…” and see for yourself). It ended yesterday with an exploding toilet followed by the Atlantic Ocean flowing into my bathroom. The clincher though was this past year. My 40’s were going out with a fucking roar of unmitigated fury.
It began with the diagnosis that I might have leukemia and the death of one of our beloved cats a few days apart. The following month our new addition to the feline family decided to swallow some of my daughter’s school project, get it all wrapped up in his intestines, and almost $3,000 later he now runs around the house giving us all incredible joy. But it was touch and go there for a few days, and uncertainty.
Uncertainty was the watchword for the year. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried to correct situations or make amends or try and allow myself to forgive in the worst of all possible circumstances it was uncertain at every turn and difficult. My father passed away in May; then my beloved uncle in August. Other personal events happened I can’t write about publically…but they were some of the worst and most difficult events I could have possibly imagined myself going through. It was an onslaught of negative energy and one piece of bad news or an event of a horrid nature that kept coming at all of us in my family.
My kids got me through it; I will admit that. From the unexpected and meaningful hugs from my youngest daughter Grace, who knew I needed a huge hug even though she knew not why to my oldest daughter Kate cracking a one liner that would have me doubled over with laughter. (She’s out-doing me in that department, but don’t tell her that). Both of them got stellar grades and made honor roll. Both of them make me very proud to be their father, and if there is one thing I managed to do in this life, it was to sire those two wonderful children.
My two closest friends got me through it all as well. My best friend Tim called me every day, sometimes two or three times a day when they thought I had leukemia (which thankfully elicited a negative test result). His mom had died of leukemia in 1980 when we were both 19, idealistic, and the whole world was ahead of us…and her loss devastated him. I know it because I was the friend who was there with the “open confessional” and there was one afternoon in a frigid February afternoon in 1981 where we sat in a remodeled bar in Winooski, Vermont (they were trying to swipe the college crowd from St Mikes who always went to Downtown Burlington to get their fill of alcohol) one Tuesday afternoon and drank ourselves into sweet oblivion with Tanqueray and Tonics. I think it was that one long drunken heart to heart that lasted for about 6 hours that made the solid foundation of a 30 year friendship. The man is a Saint, and probably the only person on the planet who understands this still lost soul.
The other was my dear friend Rose, who I had reconnected with via Facebook (where marriages go to die as well as friends being reconnected or made…but more the former). We knew each other since we were kids (I was 19 and she was 16; I had gone to school and hung out with her brother and always wondered why he never told me he had such a beautiful and intelligent sister) and just hit it off right away. We know obscure references to historical events that we throw into a joke, and if there’s a room of 50, chances are only she and I and maybe one other will laugh silly. She’s been through a lot of what I’ve had happen to me this past year, and there’s things that I’ve been through that I share with her. She is a true friend, the sister I never had but wish I did. She got me through rough waters where I could have easily taken a few more pills than I should have and exited stage left.
Guys, I cannot thank you both enough. What I could say, even in my finest prose would only be inadequate to what you did for me in this past “Annus Horribills”.
On a positive note, I actually managed to make one new friend (in real life…not on the internet) via a whole series of events that I will go into in another post for another time. She was a refreshing change of pace to my regular hum-drum existence because she is one of the most brutally honest and up-front people I have ever met. She does not lie; what you see is what you get. She is stunningly beautiful inside and out, incredibly spiritual, and has much more knowledge than her 27 years would suggest; an old soul who is so much wiser than she gives herself credit for. We’ve had some great conversations about life, the universe, and where and how our spiritual paths crossed and perhaps why. I’m blessed to have a friend who understands the workings of parts of the universe that I haven’t even thought about, let alone tried to understand. A wonderful person who put some things in perspective for me that needed to be said. Thank you, my friend for the friendship, conversation, and perspective. You made the last two months of the year much brighter and lead me into hopeful territory for this year.
I turn 50 on March 14, the day I officially activate my AARP Card and become a Pentagenarian. And I’m looking at this year as the start of the second half of my life; a Renaissance, regeneration, a rebirth. And a rip-roaring party is what I want, what I shall plan, and invite what close friends I can and some family members. I have a place in mind, but I need to make some checking in about details…but I hope it’s available as my birthday is so close to St Patrick’s Day and there are usually lots of local parades that take up the weekend before, so I might have to celebrate the weekend afterward.
Finally, there’s this blog. There will be lots to write about. I’m looking at my life in a way I never have before and I needed to. And of course, with the new Republican Majority in the House, continued vacillation in the White House on so many items on the Progressive Agenda, and the failure of the Left to form a coalition like those Tea Party idiots…my muse has returned. My voice is shouting from the top of the tallest mountain…and I shall NOT be silenced! Ladies and Gentlemen, the Arkangel flies again!
“I know that pain is the most important thing in the universes. Greater than survival, greater than love, greater even than the beauty it brings about. For without pain, there can be no pleasure. Without sadness, there can be no happiness. Without misery there can be no beauty. And without these, life is endless, hopeless, doomed and damned. Adult. You have become adult.” – Harlan Ellison