(Truly, I cannot believe it’s been Twenty Years!)
There are things that are good to remember; things bad to remember; and things important to remember.
The crummy part of all this is sometimes my brain is not too good at discerning which is which, or what goes with what.
My character (being flawed and neurotic as it is) has a tendency to default to the bad.
A shrink, I’m certain, would say it’s all about low self esteem, negative messages from childhood, etc. The reasons don’t matter.
Twenty years ago, today was the accident in which our daughter Molly was killed.
I was driving – this makes me ultimately responsible, as I was The Dad. The Protector. The fact the other driver ran the red light while speeding is of no consequence.
I carry a sidearm. I’ve done so for 41 years. Long before I even met Molly’s mother, I chose to do whatever I could to protect myself and my family and friends. It’s a roll I haven’t taken lightly.
And I took my assignment as Protector even more seriously when I became a father. It’s what father’s are supposed to do!
We were making a left turn from 44th Street, East onto Thomas Road. A little after 1 PM. Going to Monkey Wards after an earlier visit to Famous Footwear @ 20th St. and Camelback. Saturday’s with 12 year old daughters meant shopping! The signal didn’t have a left turn arrow back then. It was just like in the movies – in the midst of completing the turn, I sensed something was wrong. Based on the estimated speed of the other car, we were pushed across the intersection in about one-tenth of a second.
And many lives changed forever.
I’ve no memory regarding what happened next. Nothing to recall on the witness stand months later. I was told I regained consciousness enough to give my estranged wife’s phone number to the ambulance guy, when I was asked if there was anyone he could call.
I had early drugged hospital memories of being on board a ship(!) Not enough consciousness to ask why I was on a ship. Turned out, with one (now re-inflated) collapsed lung and the other half filled with fluid, County Hospital had me on a pneumatic bed which kept hissing and rolling, to keep fluids from settling in my damaged lungs. Ribs pushed into a lung. Broken collar bone. Broken arm. Tube up the nose, and IV morphine/ativan drip.
My sister, wife and friends were there, being supportive and keeping loving watch as much as they could. Not wanting to answer the obvious question: Where was Molly?
In my few awake moments, I remember asking about the funeral, desperately wanting to be well enough to attend.
My wife was told Sunday morning there had not been any brain activity, and had the courage to disconnect life support. Had our roles been reversed, I don’t think I would have had the bravery. I am forever grateful to her for this. A number of folks benefited from her decision.
The funeral was that following Tuesday. I was largely unconscious in ICU at County for another two weeks.
Ultimately, after being moved to Good Sam, being given Tylenol in lieu of the morphine/ativan drip (!) and weeks in the regular hospital and rehab, I was able to walk and breathe again.
I was deeply depressed and pretty much just counting the days.
Until I could pay my respects.
That came weeks later.
I’ll say it again, as long as I take breath – Tell your family and friends you love them, right now!
Because you may never get another chance.
AND be an organ donor.
I try to remember the good times. The IMPORTANT ONES. It’s what has kept me alive for the past twenty years.
My thanks to all of you, family and friends, for holding me up, until I could stand on my own.
(Commentary has been turned off – I know how you all feel. Thanks, again.)
Most of you know, my Father was sports addict, and as a result (because of my inability to play after the onset of my disability at age 12), I was a sports orphan.
And the culmination of all this for me is I don’t have a passion for most sports. Watching, playing, appreciating. Because I can’t play, and because I was saturated with it as a child.
(If YOU love your sports, enjoy! It’s no problem for me. But, like religion, please leave it outside my door!)
I oft wondered about the American fetish for the love of team sports – especially baseball, football and basketball. It’s been explained to me that it has to do with civic pride. And, of course, friendly bets around the water cooler.
Or the bookie.
Marx says religion is the opiate of the masses. In this country, the opiate is also sports! I guess it stops folks from discussing religion and politics(?)
MY passion is the ability to live free. To make my own choices. To not be compelled to give to others through the power and force of government. If I choose to do so, that’s one thing. At the point of a gun, that’s another.
And, of course, my passion for the love a good woman.
Currently absent. :-(
But that’s for another post…
…and it’s only TUESDAY!
Personal stuff aside (higher humidity making havoc of my arthritis, for example) there’s Robin Williams gone.
And tonight, the news about Lauren Bacall…
She was the one woman who could tame Humphrey Bogart, and did so, giving him two children and a number of films together. She was sultry, and had a sexy voice that sizzled off the 40’s movie screen.
And didn’t take any s*** from anyone, all while showing class today’s young actresses could only dream about.
Betty, if you need anything, please follow your own instructions!
A few years back Superman (2011 in DC Comics) announced he was renouncing his U.S. citizenship! Now, I’ve not been a comic book reader/consumer since I was 10-11 years old, but I was always a big Superman fan.
I found this action repulsive. One – that the beloved character would do such a thing, and Two – that in so doing such a children’s fictional comic would make the national news. After all, they ARE just comic books.
Fast-forward to NOW. It was announced a couple of months ago (and made the national news again recently) that beloved perennially-in-high-school everyteen comic book character Archie Andrews would die in the comic book. This was NOT due to his having been in high school 78 years.
It was because he would dive in front of an assailant attacking his friend with a gun, and his taking a bullet for him! Archie’s GAY friend!
What do I make of this?
Political correctness aside, I like to believe I would have done the same thing for any good childhood friend. My best friend from third grade through college was a legitimately brilliant. IQ off the charts. Socially, less skilled. But, except for his studies and church, my constant companion. He was the geek I aspired to be, even though I didn’t have the mental acuity.
After his own father disowned him when he came out of the closet as a college freshman, and my own father lampooned his gayness, I had to stand up for Carl. Fortunately, no one shot him. And I, myself, had to overcome childhood indoctrination regarding gayness, and what that means. After all, sexual preference aside, he remained my friend!
I’m not yet certain how I feel about comic books being tools for political correctness. Of course, even Peanuts eventually had a Black character. I suppose comic books must change with the times, as well. I don’t know how the Archie friend’s character’s gayness is shown to the comic book audience. Obviously kids are more aware of such things than I was 50-60 years ago.
But, I know one thing.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13 (ASV)
If we can teach this to the self-absorbed-faces-glued-to-their-cell-phone adolescents, then all is not lost. If only adults read comic books.
My Father taught me that not only was Memorial Day to honor those who gave their life in service to this Nation, but also to take a moment to remember those who have gone before who were dear to us. He and I visited the grave of my Mother Charlotte on Memorial Day 1977. She passed when I was in the Second Grade.
He knew he wouldn’t survive past August that year. I didn’t know.
Being disabled, when my conditions allow, I spend time doing research on the Internet. It’s amazing what information is ‘out there’ if we only bother to look.
And, sometimes information is absent, even if we do.
Below. a photo of my friend Everett, who served in the Army in Europe in the 70’s.. He was a big man, both tall and wide, had a deep booming voice and a great sense of humor. He paid his way through college hustling pool. Another blogger whom I don’t know was his friend in his last years, and said he was the most ethical man he ever knew. I believe him.
Marla was a woman I dated after my marriage broke up. She was funny, quirky, sexy and loved her children. Sadly, not only do I not have any personal photos, but neither does the Internet. I’d lost contact with her after she moved on with her life, and was attempting to reestablish a friendship when I found out she had passed. I’ve no information as to how. She was in her 50’s.
PLEASE take the time to remember those who served and those you love, because you never know…
I STILL look askance at those people/businesses who say ‘Happy’ Memorial Day. I choose to reflect and remember these folks, and not to be morose.
My life was better for having known these people.
My roommate has almost always had multiple dogs and/or cats. And especially chihuahuas.
I’ve never been a big fan of tiny dogs, but her dogs have been great! Sadly, we lost Crosby at age 19 a few months ago.
Roomie has been shopping for ‘someone’ to replace her spot in the pack. Yesterday afternoon, we got a rescue dog –
She’s hysterical! Non-stop prancing and dancing and playing! And wanting to play with the dog in the mirror. The other girl dog is a little jealous; the cat wary (she wants to play with the cat, who usually hisses in response!). But the lummox boy dog loves her!
And so do we!
Yesterday was the anniversary of the accident.
Had she lived, she would be 31. Instead, she is permanently 12.
She was a terrific kid, blossoming into a terrific young woman. Smart, funny, aware, and a good citizen.
I love you and miss you Molly.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
IF YOU TAKE NOTHING ELSE FROM TODAY’S POST, GO AND HUG AND KISS THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE, AND TELL THEM YOU LOVE THEM.
BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW…
(and no place for comments today – you’ve all been kind enough, thank you! - Guffaw)
My good friend Old NFO discussed this most recent of ‘infamous’ drug deaths. I was reminded of the PBS Series on JAZZ. They’d mention some historic jazz figure, and then, more often than not came this line:
…and then, they died of an overdose…
Is it the artistic personality, fame, fortune or humanity which binds all these folks together? Are we all, at our core, addicts of some sort? (Wikipedia – List of Drug/Alcohol related deaths)
I come rife with an addictive personality. I have excess weight, due to compulsive overeating. I’m neurotic, but not particularly artistic. My real mother died when I was in grade school as a direct result of her cigarette addiction. She had emphysema. ( I remember her turning off the oxygen tank and lighting up!) My father was an alcoholic, ate too much and smoked cigars. I come by my addictions honestly. Even though I’m getting ‘help’ for my addictions, in all seriousness, I don’t expect to see 85, like my maternal grandfather did. My fraternal grandfather made it to 68. My own father to 61.
Today is my daughter’s birthday. She would have been 31. Auto accident, age 12.
At least it wasn’t drugs or alcohol. :-(
Tonight is New Year’s Eve! (for those who just crawled out from under a rock where there was no Wi-Fi.)
The traditional celebration of the passing of the previous year, and the birth of the new. Along with fond remembrance of times past. This usually involves food and sometimes libations.
Please be careful out there, and if you drink, don’t drive (or text or phone!) And watch out for those who have.
And take a moment to remember those who are no longer with you. And love those who remain.
Because you never know…