My Poppy

It’s Veteran’s Day. It’s also my dad’s birthday. He’s not been with us to celebrate for seven years now. It’s not a birthday you easily forget.

My dad had a myriad of health problems throughout his life. One, in particular, was his eyesight in his later years.

At this time, he was around 80 years old and had to have medical and eye tests done to keep driving.

At his eye appointment, the doctor said there was a strange dark mass behind his eye and he recommended my father to a specialist.

Even hearing this news caused me a great deal of worry. It’s not something anyone needs to hear, let alone live with.

I remember when the date of the specialist’s appointment arrived. I was worried sick all day. I had to wait several hours before calling him due to the time change.

When I finally called, my dad, in a very grave voice said, ‘I have some really bad news’. Seriously? My blood froze and I stopped breathing. For those few seconds, I imagined all of ‘worst case scenarios’ coming true.

What is it, Dad? I was almost too frightened to hear the answer.

‘He took my driver’s license away’

It took me a second or two, then I  laughed a bit out of sheer relief.

‘He’s a bastard’! he screamed down the phone.

It’s all about perspective. Cancer might have been bad news but losing the license was a loss of his freedom and independence. He lived in an apartment building with other seniors and he was reigning ‘cool guy with a car’.

I suggested perhaps if he was to have eye treatments that driving wasn’t likely the best idea but he wasn’t hearing any of it.

He ended up having laser treatments and did get his license back for a few more years. I often think about that, the ways we reacted to the same situation.

In the words of Louie Prima, ‘Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.

 

My parents on their way to a movie date.  Enjoying themselves.

 

Mom and Dad

 

 

It’s Not You, It’s Me

 

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It’s been really windy here, windy enough to break a couple of favourite planters on my balcony. I was rather sad to see them break, one I’d had for almost 20 years, like old friends.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

We’ve said, we’ve heard it, it’s cliche and trite but it’s true.

People come into our lives and leave our lives and sometimes it’s painful and sometimes it’s a relief and sometimes we barely notice and sometimes the loss and hole they leave is insurmountable. That’s life. It’s not them. It’s us.

I’ve taken notice of such things, I am someone who likes to try, I keep in touch, sometimes to the point of down right annoyance and verging on stalker. So when people leave me, I notice.

I remember people leaving my life when I left my home, town, bigger losses when I applied for college and moved to a larger city, farther away.

Big losses happened when I quit smoking, which I didn’t expect but completely understood. It was needed and welcome. People seemed to feel like I’d let them down. It’s an odd thing, to go from smoker to non-smoker and I assume the same drinkers and drug users, once the user buddy is gone, the user needs to find more of the same, likewise, for the new non-user.
Moving out of province to Vancouver was another break, harder to keep in touch, new experiences, new adventures, new people come in and leave again.
Toronto, same. Shifting, incoming. Outgoing. Keep moving, keep shifting, keep spinning. I was there for seventeen years, barely a notch on the belt for it, a small handful of friends. But it’s fine. It’s not you, it’s me.
When Jango and I moved to The Dominican, there was another big shift. It started before I left. I mentioned to a few people that I was leaving and no one really had anything nice to say to me about it. Their response was usually, oh, wow, good for you… But. But this is why I don’t like it.
There’s this weird feeling that comes over people, they somehow need to take it away from you, make it unappealing. So I stopped telling people.
I told a few more, later, same results. One of my ‘friends’ asked me about the facebook invite she got for my going away party. ‘Is that still on?’ She screamed. Incredulous is the best way to describe her response. As if it couldn’t be happening because I wasn’t fucking banging on about it everyday, doing some asshole countdown on my Facebook.

As I approach my fourth Christmas here, this past year has seen the numbers drop. Someone in the early part of the year just stopped talking to me. They are in Canada and I was just beginning this shit year I’m in but I guess they need to be the saddest person in the friendship.

Then within a few weeks, two people, I felt, had been less than kind to me. They handled a situation that I felt could have been better. One of them just removed me from their life. Blocked, like I no longer exist. maybe I don’t. It’s not them, it’s me.

Then it happened again, this time when I mentioned the situation could have been handled better, they basically told me their pain was bigger than mine, and then imposed conditions on the friendship. But, really, they had been there all along. As long as I don’t cross the line, we can be friends. They get to decide that. They are the more important one, they are in charge and decided if the relationship can remain or dissolve.

I don’t agree to that. I was never asked. So, no. I don’t agree to your friendship conditions. It’s not you, it’s me.

It’s been a shit year for me, and this time of year isn’t helping. I’m severely at a loss how to move forward and get out of this. I’ve reached out and asked for help, but people just say no. I don’t really blame them, why should they. I got myself into it, I can just bloody well get myself out of it.

But no one follows up. No one asks me if it worked out, or if I’m okay.

No. It hasn’t and No. I’m not.

I think about killing myself. A lot. And not in a ‘woe is me, goodbye cruel world’ kind of way. Just as a realistic, viable way to get out of the mess I’m in.

I’m rather level headed about it, quite resigned to it all. I’ve had a good life, lots of adventure, I’ve loved and been loved, had my heart broken, saw Elton John and Rod Stewart in the same summer! It’s been a good life.

I even think about how, how to do it. Sometimes eight or ten times a day.

That’s what makes me cry. Because who the fuck lives like that? It’s really hard.

But I don’t really want to die, not the physical, finality of it all, I just want out of my mess.

I want to kill the self you no longer like, I guess I don’t like her anymore, either.

The friend with the conditions said they were in mourning. Well, I’m in mourning, too. The woman who was. She was your friend and you no longer want her and that’s hard for me to take.

It’s not you, it’s me.

So, death to the old, shedding the old bullshit and friends, such as they were.

So, thank you to the ones who love me for me, without conditions. And thank you to those who don’t.

It’s not you, it’s me.

You’re fucking right it’s me.

 

Big Worries In Little Town

We all worry and stress over things in our lives that, quite frankly, mostly turn out fine and then are soon forgotten.

Mine have been financial of late, as are many people’s. Most people, whether they have money or not, worry about it. Even when I had it I worried about it, so I guess it’s just something I do.

In fact I was stressing so hard about all this crap I made myself sick. So sick I just had to come out the other side of it all. The problem hasn’t gone away, but I refuse to let it consume me any longer.  I’ve reached out, and some are reaching back.

Some have offered advice, which just kills me. How arrogant that they know my situation better than I. I know they mean well, but come on!

Anyhow, yesterday as I was doing a lap through my Facebook feed, this popped up.

Sign

I can’t even tell you how much pleasure this gave me. A family member posted it, it’s a new three-way (make your own joke) sign in my home town. The population might be around 1000. Or 67, I don’t know. The picture caused quite the discussion, around 40 comments last time I checked.

Puts things into perspective, doesn’t it? As you see from the surrounding area it was likely put up just in time, all that traffic confusion and near mayhem.

I’m not being disparaging, if they think it’s important, it is. Just like my shit storm of the day. I have to say this cheered me greatly and it’s always nice to get a glimpse of home.