Friday, September 09, 2011

My Dad has Cancer

You never want to find yourself saying -- or in this case writing -- this, but many of us find it inevitable that someone we love will become sick, and sometimes the ominous "c" word comes up.

Yesterday, I found out that my father has cancer, and today it was made clear that his cancer is in stage 4. That basically means it has expanded beyond where it started, and is running amuck throughout his body. This also means there is a long road ahead to minimize the damage, and maximize his lifespan.

I never really thought about this, that some day my parents won't be around any longer. How silly that sounds, because it's so obvious. But hell... my dad's mom is still around (granted, she's 99, and the mere fact she's around is a miracle) but I've never considered how this would feel... knowing that I'll (most likely) outlive my parents, and will have to get along without them.

I've never really suffered a loss or grieved before. I'm not sure I know how. But I think, however it's done, the process has already started, and that alone makes me feel a little guilty. I mean... I'm supposed to be strong, thinking positively, keeping my chin up. It's not all about me, after all. It's not like I want any pity or sympathy. But I turn inward, and can't help feeling like I'm about to lose someone who has meant so much to me, the world will not be the same afterward.

I want Dad to be at my wedding (I've recently become engaged to a wonderful woman). I want him to be around when Colton gets married, and eventually has kids. I want him to see all that stuff in the future, and for us to be able to laugh and talk about all the things we talk about. I don't want him to go.

One thing I have to learn is acceptance. I have to learn that there are realities you can't change by wishful thinking. But that's so against my nature, I have to catch myself, and evaluate what's going through my head, and that takes a huge amount of energy. Sometimes, all I want to do is stop thinking about anything.

So I play video games. Or do sudoku puzzles. Whatever distracts the mind is good. Work stuff is good for that. Good thing my work-life is thriving right now. It provides ample distraction. But distraction isn't good if it shuts you down so much that you find you're shutting everyone else out of your life.

I made that mistake last week... Tami kept asking me how I was, and I was always "okay" which was obviously me putting on a happy face. The truth is, I didn't really know how I was. I had shut off so much that I couldn't make myself feel much of anything. That's such a weird feeling, or weird in that there is no feeling. Being numb.

Then last night I started a group therapy session that meets weekly. Interestingly enough, it was one of those coincidences, where the therapy wasn't supposed to be about what it ended up being about, but thank gawd it was there. Now I'm amazed at a few things I learned. First of all, what we're learning in therapy has a lot to do with crisis management, and dealing with intense emotions/urges/impulses. It turns out that often it's best to not "dive deeply" into your hurting emotions right away... they tend to feed on themselves and amplify. A lot of the folks in our group, though I'm not supposed to talk about anything specific, are struggling with issues that make them want to hurt themselves... so curbing emotional extremes is important.

I happen to be quite good at many of the techniques discussed in the group therapy session. For example, I'm very good at distraction. When you can distract the mind, it gets "a break" from the intense emotion, and can regulate a bit better, rather than go down the rat hole. I've found that I already do this. Puzzles are great, and I love online Texas Hold 'em poker (with fake money, of course... though if it was real money, I could probably retire by now, ha ha). Another technique is comparing/contrasting... or put another way, "counting blessings" -- and I've learned to do this since meeting Tami. Just hearing the other folks' stories who were sitting in the room was enough for me to see that my world wasn't the only one with a lot of clouds and rain.

So, that's me... I'm still here, and as far as I know, I'm still healthy. My Dad is sick, but right now he sounds and acts as healthy as ever. And I can hear the storm rolling in from the distance. It's time to be strong. But it's also time to prepare for the storm, and what it will do to me.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Keeping it Real

If there's one thing I hate, it's when people say (or write) a whole lot, but don't have much to say. It's as if all they need to do is take up space in the universe, without contributing anything worthwhile or valuable to others.

Well, I think that's what I'm going to do here. So reader beware -- this blog isn't for you, it's for me. It's taking up space on the Internet, and it's going to consist of a whole lot of nothing special.

Okay, so now that I've explained my motivation... well, actually I haven't explained anything at all, except, in general terms, reading this won't be very interesting to you unless you want to pick inside the inner workings of my head. Because that is what I intend to do with it.

Last night I heard a voice. It said "write." Well it wasn't literally a voice, but I was definitely getting pushed in the direction of writing. This comes at a time when, like other times in my life when I've felt like writing, things are not going so great. But I honestly don't know how much of what's going on in my life I want to openly discuss here. So, maybe I'll keep it all vague and ambiguous. Then when I read these posts in 15 years, I'll ask myself, "what the f--- did that mean?" and then, hopefully, get a good laugh.

I doubt it though.

... I have to leave ... so be continued ...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Keeping the blog alive

I just wanted to say yes, I'm still here... and wanted to make sure this blog stays alive until I decide to start writing again. I'm sure that day will come, but not for a while.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Honoring a friend

I lost a friend this week for the 2nd time.
It's hard when you find out that someone close to you is gone forever. But it's even harder when it is someone you lost due to a falling-out that was so many years back it doesn't really matter anymore. Such is the case with my friend Matt.

Why is it that we take for granted people we care about until they're gone, and only then we regret we didn't try harder to be a better friend, father, son, daughter, or companion?

Matt died on Tuesday, after suffering a massive heart attack, I was told. This news came as a result of a mutual friend, whom I had lost contact with years back. Over the years, I've idly searched for Matt, but he's not the sort to leave a digital footprint like some of us, so eventually I gave up. I tried emailing some people we both knew in our youth, but people either did not reply, or said they too had lost touch with him. So, when this email came, through LinkedIn I was surprised to say the least. And so a double-shock was to come.

Along with the email, telling me Matt was near death, was the double-whammy. Matt had been living just a few miles away from me for the past few years! Neither of us apparently were aware of this. And now, one of us would never know.

For many years Matt was my "best friend" in every sense of the word. We were inseparable, like brothers, during the formative years of our youth (the ages of 12 - 16). We had a sort of adversarial friendship. It was like sparring. You would argue a point sometimes just for the sake of tuning your own debating skill. For us, the many deep conversations we had of this type resulted in looking at life more deeply. Of course, we liked to have fun, like most kids do, and we got into our share of mischief. Matt was the direct in-your-face type, who was quick to make friends. I was the shy creative type who was more comfortable living in my own shell.

Often, my biggest obstacle was myself, and Matt had a way of getting to the bottom of things, and making me see what was wrong, and facing it head-on. At that age, the problem was usually shyness around girls. I guess his rushing-bull approach to situations was tempered by my slow methodical one.

Matt was quick to admit his own flaws and insecurities too. He knew he was no saint, but nobody was, and if they let on that they were, they were only faking it, which was worse.

Then we drifted apart somewhat in the later days of high school, and then had a falling-out in early adulthood, which I think we both regret not patching up later. He apparently spent time in New York, and somehow settled most recently in Texas, as I said, just miles away from me.

His departure has left me wishing I had tried harder to find him. But the realization that he actually is gone has me, in the present moment, thinking about those who are still here.

Do we do enough to let the people who matter to us know that we love them? Maybe we should.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Spirit in the sand? -- back by popular demand

I think I found Jesus again.
But could you please explain for me why he's hanging out in a Peruvian sand dune?

A new beginning or another false start?

It is safe to say that I've given up regular blogging.  However, I will, once in a while, come to the surface, look around, write a quick post, and then swim back to my nest undersea.

Actually, I've been waiting for inspiration, and a new direction.  Having experimented here for a long time, posting my thoughts and rants about life, religion, and politics, I reached a point where I had to stop.

I've been considering starting again.  I think the appropriate time to do this would be January 20th.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Right or Left?

No, this isn't about politics, it's about brains!

The two halves of our brain function in distinctly different ways.

A fascinating speech given by brain scientist Jill Taylor perfectly illustrates this, and also sends a uniquely motivating message about enjoying the present moments of our lives.

Set aside 20 minutes and watch this. You won't be disappointed.

New Day

Today is a new day, like every day.

But now things are different. Now it appears that with change comes new opportunities, and hope for the future again.

I think it's time to start expressing my thoughts here now -- I have a fresh perspective on wisdom and on idiocy, so it might be interesting. Actually, it might be incredibly boring.

Regardless, I'm sure glad to be back. Sorry I was gone for so long.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

This Blog under MASSIVE reconstruction

In other words... it's totally gone.
Well... except for the ONE post I thought worth hanging on to below.