Ming was at the benefit for Gail. He went early to help set up, then tabled and ate some foods and enjoyed the music. He said it was well-attended. Here’s our friend R performing.
It’s a windy night–the windchimes are jangling like there’s no tomorrow. My right eye is hurting and sometimes itchy, hopefully just allergies. I considered going to the doctor this morning–then it felt better–now it’s not so good again.
Maybe the wind is blowing around a ton of fall pollen? Ming said someone else was having eye issues at the soupline yesterday.
Ming always tells me to gently push on each eye to see if they feel the same. I think he’s afraid of glaucoma.
I lost weight in the hospital early this year when I almost died. It’s the Almost Died Diet. Predictably, as my health and appetite return, so do those pounds. But I realized I could wear some clothes that had been too small, and it was good to wear them, and now there’s getting too small again–this teal teeshirt I’m wearing, the color is vibrant, but my tummy needs a little more room than this. I have short legs and a long torso.
Seeing all this happen, smiling at my body and thanking it for helping me live on Earth and move around, thanking my senses and organs and systems all working together to keep me a living human. I even get to walk and sing and live with very little pain. I feel very fortunate. And grateful to everyone who kept me alive, earlier this year–Ming, my mom, all the hospital visitors, the nurses.
Sometimes I wish I was more brave and could tell people more what’s on my mind in person. Sometimes writing doesn’t really cut it. We went to lunch with friends, the other day. Afterward I was telling my friend how years ago, when we were young, it was Ming’s birthday, and I baked a cake.
I invited this friend to come over for cake, and he called and left me a voicemail saying he was sorry–he got too tired and couldn’t make it. That was back when he worked as a window washer.
I saved his voicemail, and sometimes I would listen to it. He said he loved me and Ming and would make it up to us. I had that voicemail on my phone for years–I never could delete it. I listened to it, sometimes. Then that phone died, and I switched to a free android from my new cellphone provider.
Outside the restaurant, I was telling my friend the story of this sweet voicemail from six years ago he of course had forgotten he ever left. His eyes were filled with tears. Maybe it was just allergies, but maybe he was filled with emotion at the good he’d done and his own kindness and how loved he is.
Earlier, Ming was crying in the car. He was reading that blogpost I wrote about the homeless people being treated like trash. I never know what to think when he cries, reading something I wrote, if I should feel bad or what. I hugged him, and he said it was beautiful. He seems cold at times, with his pragmatic detachment, but he’s really full of compassion. He’s working to help people all the time.
So many people, I would like to hold their shoulders, look into their eyes, and tell them how beautiful and good they are. It can be hard to do. Do I make people uncomfortable? I thank people, but I know–it usually doesn’t go into their hearts the way I feel it. They say “sure” and want to move on with their day. I’m like, no, you don’t understand.
Yesterday was the three year anniversary of my dad’s death. I feel no regrets about all that, for the most part–I did an ok job being his kid, considering the circumstances.
I had a voicemail from him on my phone for a long time too. The year I turned 40, Ming and I decided to go to Zion for a couple nights and then celebrate with the local Catholic Workers, and my bestie came to visit also.
My dad was unhappy we weren’t coming to visit him and my mom in California for my birthday like usual–I’m guessing he was advocating for Mom, that she was upset about it. He tried to get me to change my mind.
I remember when I called him back, telling him that we already made the reservation. “Well, you can cancel it,” he said. I can’t remember why it was important to me to be in Las Vegas for that birthday.
Then he was gone, a month later. I still remember his voice and how beautifully he’d whistle, lots of things about him. A hat he wore, the way he walked, the last few years. A time I tried to give him some candy when he just woke up, and he yelled at me. Many years of Dad memories.
I feel the hardest part of grieving can be the first year, then the second year also, and now I’ve graduated a bit. I used to dream about him–it’s been a while. Maybe I should ask for another dream.
My good friend in England sends me a lot of selfies, so sometimes I take selfies to send back to him. Lately I don’t like my selfies. I feel like they don’t look like me.
What is me, really. I feel like a sun shining brilliant rays that give life–too bright, but pure generous luminosity. I feel like a glowing ember of truth, a caterpillar made of light that walks along on tons of feet–small, strange, doing my slow, sacred Glowing Work. I feel like a writer–here are my typing hands and the forearms that help them.
I feel like an observer and thinker, that the way I look is not really important–I’m pure perspective. What is important. But people need something to visualize and someone to hug.
I’m doubting that’s how I really look, but you can have an idea of what color my shirt is.