back from my trip

As you know, my brother has stage 4 cancer and so I went to see him and the family last week. The wife was on vacation so I was able to make the trip. It was good to see the whole family and my older brother who I haven’t seen since 2005 was there for a couple of days. My younger brother, the one who is sick, was in the hospital for most of the duration of my trip but me, his wife and their child would visit twice a day. he had to have surgery the week before to remove a blood clot in his artery and they thought they would have to amputate part of his leg but they were able to save it. He’s got a huge wound from where the surgery took place and it’ll take months to heal because he’s a diabetic as well.

I stayed with his wife most of the time, helping out around the house and watching their little girl when she didn’t feel it was appropriate for her to be at the hospital. She’s only 6 and in the short week that I was there, I have grown strangely attached to her which seems odd considering the nature of this blog. When I was talking to my sister-in-law, she told me that her daughter asked her if daddy was going to die and that just broke my heart. A week later, it’s still very difficult to recount that conversation without crying and when I told the wife about it, I just broke down sobbing in the car on the way from the airport. I don’t even hardly know this little girl and I’m having this reaction and she says “You’re a parent”. Oh, the first thing she said to me when I returned was “being a single parent is hard”. Again, I felt like saying “Welcome to my world” like I had told her that the first time she told me she did 4 loads of towels and a bunch of dishes. She didn’t have a response to that comment. Later in the week she told me that the kids missed me and I guess I don’t need to point out the obvious absence of her saying something similar.

I have finished a special album for which all proceeds will go to their family since he’s no longer able to work. I will make a separate post about that soon.

My sister-in-law also had a lumpectomy and so is currently undergoing radiation treatment and when the wife found out that both of them had cancer, one of the first things she said was we could take in their child.

My parents believe that God will heal my brother because he healed my cousin from testicular cancer 40 years ago and though I don’t disparage the religious beliefs of others, they’re comparing apples to oranges in this situation, at least from a medical standpoint, after all my brother’s cancer is in a lot of different places and they recently discovered a legion on his spine as well.

I know that a bit of this is probably repeat so I apologize for that, this is just hard to process and I know I’ll have very emotional days and that the strangest things will probably evoke responses that ordinarily wouldn’t occur.

His wife is more realistic about things but she’s still waiting for her miracle but she’s also worried she won’t have a husband at Christmas.

I told her that if I could have stayed longer, I would have.

need some counsel

As I have written previously, I had gotten involved to a degree with an online relationship and it’s a situation where she is more attached than I am and though I am trying to delicately present the situation and the truth, I am having some difficulty with this.

She’s bipolar, or that’s what she tells me and I see evidence of this periodically in our chats, especially when I either can’t talk on the phone or simply don’t want to because I have days when, after the kids are in bed, I don’t want to talk to anyone, and the wife feels the same way, understandably so.

We have some things in common, we’re both musicians and we’re pretty flirty with each other, but honestly, she is way unhappier in her situation and has a lot more time to allow her thoughts to wander into the dark, if that makes any sense.

I honestly was starting to have some feelings for her so it wasn’t dishonest of me to admit that but her insecurities are sometimes just too much to handle, especially lately with other things that have happened.

I don’t know if any of you have any thoughts besides “You were an idiot for doing this in the first place” etc. but perhaps you may have another perspective that I haven’t considered.

Thank you for your thoughts.

god’s invitation?

as many of you can probably tell from reading my blog, I’m not a particularly religious or even spiritual person, though there are people who tell me that I am spiritual and I either don’t want to admit to or aren’t aware of it.

In talking with my parents yesterday and realizing the irony of saying happy father’s day to my dad even though he may soon lose his youngest child, (soon being relative, because, with cancer, you just never know) it struck me in a strange way and I wonder, “is this God’s invitation for me to return? It was a very emotional call especially when my mom said “we have to believe that God is going to heal him, he’s going to be okay, I have to believe that because if I don’t, I’ll fall apart” and I’m crying a little even while writing this like I did on the phone. She said “he healed your cousin from cancer 40 years ago and the doctors gave him 6 months. That was testicular cancer and with my brother, it’s in his kidney, lungs, limphnodes and adrenal gland and they say it’s very aggressive.

What was it about her need to believe that struck a raw emotional chord with me, someone who, for years has said that God is just like a clock maker who wound up the universe and just let it run on its own with no intervention? Yes, I am a deist, not an atheist because I believe in something, just not an entity who cares about us individually.

I have never been antichristian though I do feel that certain aspects of religion have caused all manner of war and strife throughout history…still, I try to unravel the mystery of all this, why does the invitation, if that’s what it is, seem so very painful at this moment? The words of a therapist from my past come to mind “What are you running from”, or another therapist who asked the question “What do you need?” and my answer was “I don’t know”.

I’ve cried a little but I need to be strong for them when I go visit in a couple of weeks, though in my head, I know that crying isn’t a sign of weakness.

I had a dream last night that I wasn’t ready to go on my flight and I couldn’t get the ubar app on my phone to work so Cindy had to fix it while I rushed around packing before I got picked up, and then I realized that I didn’t have my cane with me. I felt a good bit of anxiety for most of the morning but having the kids awake to get breakfast for them was a welcomed distraction from all the gloom and it’s not even me who has the disease and yet, part of me feels like it’s not okay to feel all of this.

why do people have to love me?

I know, it sounds like a strange subject for a blog post but if you’ll remember, I found myself in a situation where I and this other person were falling for each other. People said be careful and you all were right. I feel like the biggest ass, idiot and jerk imaginable. She gets pissed when we can’t talk and says that she’s not important to me and then I feel bad for hurting someone else again.

On top of all that, a family member has stage 4 cancer and it’s spreading and, for a lot of reasons that you guys will probably understand, I don’t want to go into a lot of details about that.

The icing on the cake, and I hate cake, is that I am in a creative slump and anything I try to write, with the exception of one piece about storms, sounds like shit.

The only solace I seem to have, and it’s not for very long, is when I’m under water in my pool but that’s in 30 second intervals at the most. Yes, the pool has made the summer easier in some ways and maybe I just need to tell this girl to go away. I enjoy when we do talk though but she wants to know if I’m willing to change things so we can be together. Holy hell, that sounds like fucking high school drama and I hate that shit.

I may be going to visit my brother in Florida in July while my mother-in-law is here but I don’t know yet.

I hate myself for ever allowing things to get to this point and it’s just another entry into the “things that I regret about my miserable life” chart that seems to be growing exponentially.

Yes, a good amount of this is probably the general melancholy that has followed me around for more of my life than it hasn’t but I just feel like I need a break from everything, the noise, the internet, everything.

I imagine my disembodied spirit soaring above the planets, tumbling endlessly into the vastness of space and that vision gives me some solace, I’ve had that before in other times, even in a few dreams.

I just feel like a total wreck at this moment, my heart is racing and though it sounds like a good idea, the tears just won’t fall.

But all of this too shall pass because life just has a way of going on, whether you want to participate in it or not.

Even if I haven’t written with much regularity, and though I’ve said this a number of times, thank you for being there.

Need some counsel

I have a friend who is in a pretty bad place right now, she thinks she’s worthless, that she’s no good to anyone and she practices a bit of self-harm when she’s stressed. I’m wondering if any of you might have some advice or links that I can point her to? Coming from experiences of mild depression, I understand that everyone has to find their own way and come to hope in their own way and in their own time but I want to try to help if I can.

Maybe there isn’t anything I can say but I’ll never know until I ask.

am I resigned to my fate?

someone made that statement to me a few minutes ago and I wonder if it’s a mirror, reflecting something that I haven’t been wanting to see about myself? I have a head full of junk and I’m trying to make sense of all of it and I’m not doing so well right now.

Am I really so willing to be unhappy and not try to find something bright in my life? I mean, I have that with my music and with friends but, still, there is something missing.

A few memories come to mind about times in my life when I didn’t feel that things were quite right and yet, I couldn’t tell anyone why they were wrong, it was just a feeling that I’ve had.

Typically when you go into therapy, the therapist will ask you why you’re there. Obviously that is a valid and necessary question but what if you’re not sure of the answer? That happened to me a long time ago and when I would tell my mother that something was wrong but I wasn’t quite sure what it was she’d say “you just need God in your life”. My first thought is “that’s too pat, too glib” and the typical response from someone who believes in such things, sure, it’s well intended but a part of me says that can’t be the answer. Yet a softer voice asks “can it be?”

I found out maybe a month or 6 weeks ago that my brother has kidney cancer so he was looking into surgery, and then I get a text from my mother a few days ago that he’s got a blood issue but they don’t have any information on what that is, only that they had to take him off of his blood thinners.

A friend of mine is leaving in a few days for California and we had a party for her on Saturday. It was a fun time for all of us and there were a lot of kids in the pool and it made the wife’s heart happy that everyone was having such a good time, especially the kids.

I just got sidetracked by having to get some stuff done around the house which I’m still not done with but I need to try to make sense out of things.

Who remembers the story of Walter mitty? The guy who had an almost unbearable life but he escaped into a fantasy world? My life certainly isn’t unbearable, I’m not in a war torn country, I have a home, clothes, enough to eat and the luxury to make my music whenever I feel the inspiration and yet, there’s that voice saying “something’s missing” something probably more obvious to my readers than myself.

I have never been an assertive person, even from when I was a kid. People have said to me throughout my life “why can’t you stand up for yourself, or “will you be able to stand up to this person or that one”? which brings me back to the question of this post.

It’s only a question I can answer but like with the question of depression, it’s never as easy as “snap out of it” or “Just get over it”.

I have a new album not released, that I wrote, my most honest yet, here are the track titles which tell a story and then the notes on the album. It’s called “Lost on a Road in the Woods”

1 – the magnolias bloomed, bringing with their scent the hope of a new life and love

2 – The Persistence of Shadows in the Dark Created an Empty Shell where no Joy or hope could Reside

3 – Attempts to drive Away the Chaos are Futile

4 – Visions of Sugarplums and Fairies were in diminished supply as additional children Came into Existence

5 – There Was an Undeniable Presence of Evil in the room as the baby was being rocked to sleep

6 – Consistent Conflict Results in Emotional and Mental Disintegration

7 – Thoughts of how his absence would devastate the children are overtaken by the need to escape into a deep dark abyss

8 – they Wept, not for Their Loss but Because he didn’t recognize his inherent significance

The tracks for this album were composed in May of 2016 for broadcast on http://stillstream.fm for the May 13th edition of the program.

This is my most personal album to date and since the titles tell a story that is, in a lot of ways, quite autobiographical, the ending is from my worst imaginings, hence, something that I was very hesitant to release for a long time.

However, the objective of any artistic creation is to speak and lay bare the inner reality of the artist, no matter how difficult that reality may be for some to understand or even identify with.

the difficulties that I have encountered being a parent are probably commonplace for many but living in a culture of hair trigger reactions and the unwillingness for people to discern or hear the whole story before coming to an abrupt and inaccurate judgement make personal stories like this unpopular. People like to believe the myths of warm fuzzy feelings that accompany the birth of a child and the excitement of new adventures that await them on the journey ahead thanks to popular mainstream media and the like, and though there is truth to all of that, there is a darker side to the parental journey that you only hear about in extreme cases from the media. What if there was a grey area though, more melancholy than happy but not so dark that it culminated in abuse or murder? Who tells the stories of these people who fall between the cracks of the myths so readily believed by the general public and the actions of a few people who, when heard about, give rise to great and understandable repulsion by the very same public who are all too willing to embrace the misleading narrative of what parenthood is really all about?

Here is such a story, one that took me great courage and vulnerability to share so it is my hope that you will listen with an open and courageous mind and consider the struggle from a different not talked about perspective.