Tuesday, October 21, 2003

So now, we move along.

Sofa and I discussed so many things. What a gift for the gab. And I thought I was the obnoxiously verbose one. We covered so much waterfront. His skew on things was inevitably unique. But he always couched his opinions with a genuine humility. Even when he was indubitably correct about something, he never lorded it over you.

But you all know that.

OK, I just thought of one exception.

Lots of musicians have shared how supportive and encouraging he was to them. But with me, he was brutally blunt. “Oh, dean, that is giving me a headache. Stop now.” Hey, I know I suck. So I take it as another indication of our friendship that he felt comfortable enough to freely speak his mind to me. Am I rationalizing again? ;-)

But we never discussed suicide, in any serious manner. Even though he knew I knew about his past, only one time did we talk about his institutionalization.

If you want to hear some of our 2001 holiday outtakes, there's one song called I Want A Hearse For Christmas. At the time, we laughed at the irony and the wicked humor in it. But it was his song. Makes me think he was trying to talk to me about it, afterall.

Perhaps I unconsciously gave off a strong 'don’t go there' vibe. Or maybe he was drawing a little life-sustaining energy from me. I’m not trying to be smug. In fact, if I am, it’s utterly without merit. He did ultimately check out, after all. So much for my ability to influence; to make you feel the happy happy joy joy.

It may also have been partly because, well, we all are fragile and susceptible at times. He saw some of my times. Watching me struggle with the dotcom dying. Then, even harder, struggling to figure out what came after that. I’m extremely fortunate in love, but I am also at - that tired old cliché - the midlife crossroad. I can’t help but be a cliché every now and then. We both had our good days and our bad days. Perhaps part of our bond was we both knew what it felt like to have something eating away at your insides. And the need to keep that exterior shining brightly, regardless.

When he was leaving for Hawaii, I admit to a twinge of worry. He dropped a few statements like, “I’m going to be doing a lot of hiking out there and probably won’t be answering the phone, or email.” I would answer him with a suggestion for a trail to take. So much for my sensitivity. In hindsight, it is easy to speculate his leaving for Hawaii (or leaving for California, even earlier) was the preliminary step towards his final departure. But when he got out there, or here, he found new excitement. New stimulation. Drats, foiled again.

Only, he did get it “right,” eventually.

I know it’s pitiful, pointless and wrong to continue to agonize over the what-ifs. So I won’t. I’m pretty much through that phase. Like Anne said, I know he knew we all loved him. She speaks the truth – he just didn’t love himself enough. To his defense though, I’d qualify that, a little, by saying he didn’t think all that much about this physical plane anyway. His spirituality had room for a future reincarnation. He could appreciate the concept that nothing is important. Is that self-loathing, or an enlightened sense of existence? I think the proper Zen answer to that is “Or Not.”

We’ll be going to Hilo this weekend.
Aloha - in both senses of the word.
Hello and Goodbye.

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