Eulogy

When I’ve drawn my final breath

And my body, laid to rest

What will they say of my time spent here?

What will I have given

to leave a lasting impression?

Will there be pain in their laughter?

Joy in their tears?

 

And so it is this I ask of you, dear children:

Do not mourn the life I lived,

but rather rejoice in all of the love I had to give.

I assure you it will remain

forever with you,

wherever you go;

Even once you grow old and

your souls summon you home.

In that home I shall also be.

It is a place not built of walls, but rather

space for us to be free–

Apart, yet joined by eternity.

 

Remember, also, another thing:

You are the stars,

the moon,

the world to me;

You are even everything between

the spaces of the spaces.

All I know of love I learned from you,

my darling dears;

Have no fear.

Your love has carried me through this life,

as it will continue to carry me to

all the places I am meant for.

 

Close your eyes,

feel my hand warm against yours,

as though I never left.

Think of my love when you’re feeling bereft;

For it is alive and well

And it calls upon you to live your life

as though you might also die;

One day at a time,

Forgive through the pain,

Love through the strife.

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Return of the Moronic

“Youth and beauty are not accomplishments.  They’re the temporary happy byproducts of time and/or DNA.  Don’t hold your breath for either.”

Carrie Fisher, otherwise known as Princess Leia, once inspired countless fantasies for Star Wars fans and non-fans alike.  At the time, she was in her mid-twenties and from what I’ve gathered in my 34 years of socialization, women in their twenties are just more… appealing to the masses.  To say that a woman looks good for her age implies that she has maintained some of that youthfulness she once possessed.  Because getting older isn’t pretty.  At least, not in the eyes of a camera.

Cameras have been used to capture important events and splendid sights.  We hope that by taking a photo we can somehow make that moment last forever and remember the exquisiteness found there.  But time is fleeting, just as youth and beauty are transient worldly notions… nothing lasts forever.

Change is the only constant and yet we resist it with such brute force.  We use words like: fat, ugly, old and gray, wrinkly, decrepit to express our disapproval of the aging process.  In fact, it is words such as these that Ms. Fisher was responding to in the quote above.  The general assumption seems to be that what you have contributed to the world, as a woman, doesn’t matter unless you looked good doing it.  And if you are no longer found to be sexually appealing, according to the masses, you have nothing more to offer.  News flash: Leia is a fucking Jedi.  Back the fuck off.

Oh, and I’m sorry… did Carrie Fisher critics miss seeing the comeback of 73-year old Harrison Ford on the screen?!  He’s 14 years her senior and yet somehow he has managed to be found exempt from accusations of being OLD (gasp!) or from receiving any negative slurs that tend to surround the inevitable.

Other accomplished starlets have remarked on the pandemic of ageism/sexism permeating Hollywood, like Maggie Gyllenhaal who, at 37, was told last spring that she was too old to play a 55-year old woman.  Movies where the leading actor is twice the age of the actress playing his love interest is not uncommon; the same cannot be said of leading actresses.  “[Men are] fuckable forever. They could be 100 with nothing but white spiders coming out [of their dick], but they’re fuckable.” —Last F–kable Day sketch from “Inside Amy Schumer”

If we continue to look to the camera to tell us what is alluring, enticing, captivating, we are certainly missing out on the bigger picture.  No wonder men, as they age, continue to be sexually attracted to women old enough to be their daughters.  They’ve not learned to notice the beauty and grace worn by the faces and bodies of aged women (read: women their own age!)  They’ve been taught that they can grow old and still remain “fuckable”.  But women, we must forever maintain that youthful glow, with soft taut skin and tight bodies, round lips and supple breasts if we are to be considered desirable .

The attention that women continually seek from the camera seems to have given men the impression that it is within their right to  act like morons.  Most of Carrie Fisher’s recent critics were guys of all ages.  With so many young and beautiful women vying for public approval, men carry on as though they have the authority to criticize models and actresses for any little blemish that might tarnish their “perfection”.  We have become obsessed, as a society, with this notion of perfection just as we are preoccupied with juvenescence.  Alas, we are in an age that is afraid to age.

Women: What will you cling to when your youth and beauty fade?  What contributions will you have made?  Fear not the loss of admiration for things beyond your control for “fear is the path to the dark side.”

Busy Bodies

I hang up the phone after being told that she left this world peacefully about an hour ago.  Meanwhile, in my hands, are the gifts I meant to bring her, the cards I meant to send her.  She called a few weeks ago to tell me: no gifts, no cards this year.  I never returned her phone call.  In her message, she said a phone call would be better than a card.  I thought about calling her on Christmas.  I thought of her several times throughout the day.  But I knew I would have a hard time admitting to her (to anyone) that I was spending Christmas day alone.  And then I just got too busy… as usual.

It wasn’t until I got the message that it was time to say our last good-byes that I was willing to drop everything to go and be with her.  What if I had done that sooner?  She talked so often of having me and my kids over.  But either she would fall ill or I would forget because I was too damn… busy.

It isn’t right.  No one should keep themselves so busy that they can’t make time for friends and loved ones.  Time is precious and how much of it we have is completely unknown.  It’s like having a bank account that you continue to withdraw funds from, yet you have no idea when the money is going to run out.  In that situation, it seems obvious that we would spend it slowly, carefully, and with a conscious effort.  But we all rush around so fast, pretending our lives are going to last forever and that those we love and cherish will always be with us.  We waste so much time on things that simply do. not. matter.  Because nothing matters more than the people who give us a reason to live.

Pick up the phone.  Tell someone you love them.  When you see them, be sure to squeeze them tight.

Our bodies are but vessels for the pure being inside.  Without it, those now surrounding us feel far removed from us.  They are no longer confined to this world; they can travel the depths of space and time.

My intentions were good and my love for her runs deep.  I hope she feels that because these gifts in my hand are of no use to her now.

live beautifully

in the face of loss, we don’t ponder those shoes we want to buy, the hair we wish we had, the skin we feel must be painted on in order to conceal the deepest, darkest part of ourselves which clings to the possibility that someone may not desire us, that our flaws by nature would scare people away.  no, those thoughts vanish the very instant we lose someone we love and cherish it shakes us to our core.   when someone near and dear to us leaves this world, we wonder at the place our beloved has left us for; we think about the traces of their lives they’ve left behind and how we are forever changed by them.

hey pretty girl, doesn’t it make you think?  that image you try so hard to maintain; those smiles you fake so well; the eyes you bat at the camera begging for it to lure admirers your way?  …you can’t take those with you.  even in this lifetime, looks sometimes quickly change and fade.  those hours you stand in front of a mirror or a lens …you can’t get those back.  so what then really is the function of your vanity?  to deny death is to deny the very life you’re not living.  the insecurities in you awaken insecurities in others, which invites not beauty but pain into the world.

live your life beautifully.  a face can be buried and forgotten, but never love.  never love.

 

Living By The Lists

When I was a kid I had lists for everything. I retained them in my head and I’d review them over and over until I could recite them perfectly. Whether it was some game which I would not allow myself to play until I mentally reviewed the instructions and object of the game precisely, or the lay out of a house in which I would not feel comfortable until I examined and approved every tiny detail. If I thought something looked off, I’d try to adjust it so that my mind could make sense of my surroundings. This was freakishly weird! (I thought at the time.) I assumed something was wrong with me and that I was the only one to ever suffer from the same obsessive mental madness. Years later, when I would go on to take various psychology and sociology courses, I realized that while still weird perhaps, there are actually people out there with similar Obsessive Compulsive Disorders …and there was a name for it! Of course, by then I no longer carried the lists around with me. At least, not to the same extreme.

However, now as an adult I find that the lists, while different in content and intensity, still define my life. And I have so many lists: things to do, things to buy, places to go, people to call and email, projects to complete… The lists are never ending.  Yet I write them with the anticipation of being able to cross things off, one accomplishment at a time, as if to prove that I am doing something with my life.  And as though there will soon come a day when I won’t have anything left to scratch off.  But then what?  Because I also realize that the day there isn’t anything left for me to do–no errand to run, no groceries to pick up, no person to get in touch with–is the day I will draw my last breath.

There will always be things to do.  And there will always be chaos. Making lists has just always been my way of bringing order to my life; of feeling in control. I suspect that even as I was growing up, when things around me didn’t make sense, this too was the purpose of my wacky lists.  I can’t see myself ever fully functioning without writing things down; my lists are little reminders of all that there is to do.  (And as a single mother of two, there is always lots to do.)  I just can’t help but feel sometimes that by living by the lists, I am also dying by them one check mark at a time. 

Stroll

This morning I drove past an elderly couple, all bundled up, out taking their morning walk. And it touched me. I then thought about all the couples out there, making it into their golden years, all that time, hand in hand, strolling through life together. I thought about their joy. I thought about their misery. I thought about me. Will I ever get there? Will I ever find someone to hold my hand along all the rough patches, willing to take a detour every now and then? My parents walk together. My parents don’t hold hands.

And then I wondered whether having someone there at all is better than being alone. Even if every step reminds you of every hidden truth. Even if your inner most thoughts could never be brought to the surface. Even if you are but an empty shell on two feet wishing once and for all you could free yourself from it. So much goes on between two strangers. So much no one else could ever know. It is these deep dark secrets casting a shadow upon the pavement. It is this unknowing of love I would much rather do without.