"Don't wish it were easier, wish you were better."~Jim Rohn
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
- 6 months is just often enough to keep the visions in the forefront of my mind, should I fall to the wayside and watch sporadically versus daily.
- I can reevaluate my visions and make sure everything from 6 months ago is still a priority--I've given myself permission to add and delete as priorities tend to shift with the ongoing changes in life.
- Once I've accomplished things, I can also move Visions from the "What I Want" list to the "What I've Done" list. It's a simple gratification system that allows me to acknowledge some of the things that I feel good about having done or accomplished.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
He looked so sad. So helpless. Gray whiskers sprouted from his face where dark brown seemed to have grown just a few days ago. I held his hand as he tried to pull it up to his face. The IV line into the back of his hand made moving his arm uncomfortable. I asked if he needed something. He nodded. He opened his mouth and pointed. "Another swab?" I asked. He nodded again.Because of the tube in my father's throat he was unable to drink water. He was also unable to flush his mouth out after the mess of being intubated. Which left his mouth open and bloody and dry. I wasn't there for the event, only the aftermath, which went unnoticed for the first day and a half. Dried blood caked on his teeth and the roof of his mouth. Caked in the crevices that had started to form on his tongue from his mouth being wide open all the time.He would let me swab a little of it away at a time, but if I kept at it for more than a minute it hurt him. I knew he was done when he clamped the swab between his tongue and the roof of his mouth to release the rest of the water from the swab into his mouth. The cool medicated water felt good, and the excess of it could be spit out, along with the bits of decay that I'd broken free for him.I recalled a moment from childhood when the sight of blood on my fingertip left me with on the ground with cartoon birdies flying around my head. When I dropped to the floor I nearly cracked my head open on the porcelain sink on the way down. Blood, fresh or otherwise, had no place in my line of sight. My body was very clear on that prior to taking care of my father.I don't recall it being a conscious choice to not faint at the sight of his blood; it just sort of stopped happening after he got sick. I don't recall being afraid that I would see his blood and then pass out. And yet I know I did in fact see his blood, and not once did I so much as turn away, let alone fall to the ground for flying birdies.My soul seemed to have flipped a switch at the final turn of my father's life. I no longer thought of the pain he was in, but focused on relieving him of it. It became more important to take care of him, more important than whether or not I saw a spot of blood to make sure was as comfortable as he could possibly be. Because I knew. I understood. That these were my last opportunities to love him while he was still alive.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
I can’t quite bring myself to display it. Yet. Maybe it’s because I don’t have the right showcase for it. Maybe I just haven’t gotten around to it. Or maybe I just don’t want the daily reminder that he’s gone.
I can count the number of times my father spoke of his days in Vietnam on one hand. He joined the Navy to avoid being drafted into the Army, like many 18-22-year-old guys of the late sixties. He was rewarded by not having to serve on the front lines and suffer the way many Vietnam Vets did. At least, that’s my perception of it. As for my father’s view, he held silent the details of his experiences at sea, his experiences at war. And his silence held the details of what those years meant to him, and how they might have shaped him.
My father’s funeral brought clarity to me. But not in the way I thought it would. One Petty Officer’s actions and emotions revealed what may have very well been my father’s own emotions about serving in the United States Navy.
A Seaman Apprentice and a Petty Officer Second Class folded the flag draped over my father’s—I still have a hard time with whichever word comes next. Pine box. Casket. Coffin. Any and all of which mean he’s dead. No getting around it. The flag was draped over my father’s coffin.
The flag folding ceremony was held after Taps was played. While the notes of Taps coming from the trumpet brought tears to my eyes and I was awed at the sight of the flag being folded so meticulously and with such care, neither of those events are what stand out. It was the flag being handed to me.
The Petty Officer in pressed black dress uniform, sailor collar caped over his broad shoulders. His shiny black shoes. His crisp white gloves. The precise movements in his march towards me. The flag sandwiched between his hand on top and the other beneath. His sense of gratitude in transferring the flag from his hands to mine.
The Petty Officer said something to me as I we both held the flag in transference. My hands on the flag, I looked him in the eye, unable to hear a word he said. And then I focused on his eyes. I noticed welled up tears in them. His words became loud and clear.
"Please accept this flag in honor of your father’s great service to this country. I am truly sorry for your loss."His voice quivered slightly, and I recognized something immediately. Emotion. Unequivocal, raw emotion. And in an instant I felt closer to my father. There was an immediate understanding of the bond that had been created between this man and my father, simply by being a part of this brotherhood I had never even tried to understand. I'm not sure he could have explained it, anyway.
These men had been trained in the same way. With the same standards, the same faith, the same expectations, the same humility, the same honor. If I had any ill feelings about the military, they were gone with this Petty Officer’s tears. These men were brothers, and they had never even met. There was no doubt in my mind the sincerity with which the Petty Officer’s words were spoken and tears fell. I began to understand just how human we all are. And I began to understand my father, if just a little bit more, and found comfort in the prized possession I held in my hands.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Now typically I'm not against anything...I'd rather be FOR equal rights than against discrimination...positively speaking. But since they went ahead and made all those fancy posters, let's make today's protest the largest anti-gay discrimination protest ever, and follow suit in converging peacefully across the nation.
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Journal Entry: October 28, 2006
I feel at peace with my dad's death. I can't believe it. I feel like he's in a better place, and although I miss him at times, it's not overwhelming like I expected. I wonder why it seems easier to be here without him. I don't have to feel guilty about being gay because he's not here to have the uncomfortable religion talks with me anymore. I don't have to feel guilty about not going to church with him on Easter Sunday. I don't have to see him in that hole in the wall room he rented from [Edward]. I don't have to shield myself from the way he lived. Hard to admit to anyone but this journal that I was ashamed of him sometimes. There were things about him I was ashamed of. I wish it wasn't so, but it was. The truck he drove. I told myself I just wanted him to drive a nicer truck, just wanted him to be safe, to stop getting things stolen out of it. But I was embarrassed that he drove such a crappy truck. That he didn't have the material things that impress people, that sometimes still impress me, even as I try not to let them. I don't even think—it's not the truck I was ashamed of.
I don't believe that a car tells the whole story about a person, but there is something to be taken away from it. I know he just couldn't afford a better truck. I know he wasn't a bad person because of the truck he drove. But then, he never felt like he deserved a better truck. He felt like he deserved what he had, that God handed him this life he was living. That he had no say in the events, only his actions and reactions. His life ended up being a reaction to everything going on around him.
I wonder when the last time he really lived his life was.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Robin Tyler and Diane Olson, the first plaintiff couple named in the historic lawsuit that overturned California's ban on gay marriage and the first same-sex couple married in Los Angeles County in June, wasted no time filing a new lawsuit with California’s supreme court Wednesday morning.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
The workplace has often provided me with an opportunity to broaden my social network with people I may not have willingly befriended had I simply been handed a list of their life's agenda and personal beliefs.
I understand that people have ideas about what's right and wrong, that we all have the right to our views on such things, and that there will never be 100% agreement on every issue. What one believes is right or wrong does not decipher a good or bad person. The parts only tell some of one's story. The sum of those parts tells the whole story.
If someone looked only at my teenage years, they would see drugs, theft, sex, deceit, lack of motivation to do more good than bad. If someone looked only at those years, they would see a girl in turmoil. A girl who looks like she will never recover from her choices. A girl who ought to be disregarded and deemed a liability to society.
And then comes the growth. The learning. The changes. Slowly but surely, a new person emerges. She begins therapy. She graduates high school. She holds a job. The drugs are gone. The theft is gone. The deceit dwindles to near nothing. The sex is responsible. A shift in motivation happens to do more good than bad. All this in the midst of becoming an adult and figuring out that there is more to life than just what she knows.
I believe in the good of people. I believe that the more people know, the more good they can and will do. I believe that when you offer an opportunity for someone to think and do the right thing, 9 times out of 10, they will do the right thing. If they have an open mind. We must all believe in the possibility that we are wrong. If we do not, our minds are not open. And certainly unwilling to hear the other side.
In light of my friend's comment this morning, I thought about the possibility that I am wrong in my elation of the election of the presidency. I considered the idea that I am wrong in my sorrow that Prop 8 passed. And I questioned whether or not I ought to remain friends with this person who is so openly against many things that I support. And I have made some decisions.
I am not wrong in my elation of Obama being elected our 44th president. This act proves that dreams are possible with hard work and the encouragement of open minds. Obama's landslide victory proves that the people of the United States of America are capable of change and actually believe in the diversity that we live in, versus simply talking about it.
I am not wrong in my sorrow that Prop 8 passed (all though there was a report on KTLA this morning that some 4.5 million vote by mail ballots have yet to be counted in LA County...there is still hope). My sorrow is less in the Prop 8 being (potentially) passed, and more in the Proposition even landing on the ballot. Civil rights ought not be debated, but protected at the highest level. More eloquently, Fannie says:
"...the civil rights of minority citizens should not be up for majority vote and that it is profoundly un-American to restrict people's rights in constitutional documents that are usually used to grant people's rights."
As for my friendship with this person who feels less free today, I can say that my mind is open. She is a good person and I respect her opinions. I also respectfully (and strongly) disagree with her on some of those opinions. That being said, I cannot look at just the parts, but must sum up her parts to see her whole. She is passionate and humane. I believe she is misguided in certain aspects of her opinions, but overall she means well and has a healthy, kind, giving heart. The fact that we are friends at all gives me hope that one day she will open her mind just a little more and see more of what I see—more of what millions of Americans who voted for Obama see: hope. And change. And the possibility—the probability—that there is more to this life than we can even imagine.
Friday, October 31, 2008
...crap. I just realized I never called my dad on Christmas day. He must feel like I'm slipping further and further away from him. I don't know how to relate to him much anymore. I see the relationship [my girlfriend] has with her dad, and for the first time in a long time, I'm envious. My dad is a loving and caring man, but he's rigid in his religion. And even though he doesn't say much in the way of how he believes I've "chosen" to live my life, I can see it in the way that he looks at me...like he's losing me...like the older he gets and the closer he gets to dying, the closer he gets to the last time he'll ever see me because I didn't live my life "good enough" to get to his afterlife. And it makes me sad that he thinks this way.
My dad's so tired lately. Can't get up for even short periods of time without becoming out of breath quickly. Has to rest between getting dressed and putting his shoes on and walking out the door to the car when I take him anywhere. Sometimes he still talks about recovering and being able to work, but I think he's fighting a losing battle with himself. I think the part of him that hopes he'll recover is slowly fading away. The part of him that knew he was going to recover has already died. And the part that's taking over is the part with the cancer. The part that tells him his life is over and he better just sit back and relax, wait to die.
I'm sad. I’m mad. I'm frustrated. I have this aching in my soul to just be normal again. To just find normal and stick with it for a while. To stop finding these places in my life that are so uncomfortable and painful. I don't care how much I’m going to learn from this whole experience; I just want it to be over. I don't want to learn anymore, I just want my dad to be well again. I wish I could believe that God will come and save him from this pain, take away this cancer and let him live 50 more years. But I can't. I don't. I won't.Researching a memoir isn't like researching a novel or any other random article. I'm not reading about someone else, I'm reading about me. What's odd about that is that sometimes I feel like I'm reading about someone else. Both of these spaces feel so so far away from me now. Sure, it's 4 and 5 years ago (could it be? no....), and while I can vaguely recollect feeling those things, the fact that life is so different now makes it feel like I'm reading from someone else's journals.
Makes me think about how much things change in a year, how much people change, and how much I've changed. One year to the next it's hard to see, but only if we don't look.
june 29, 2005
i have moments of untrust. even with myself. especially with myself. trying to find things about myself that i like again. not just things in my life, but about myself, my being, my whole. i'm like my mom. sometimes that's good, sometimes it's bad. good when i'm funny and intuitive, bad when i'm paranoid and judgmental. balance, balance i keep telling myself. i'm more good than all the bad i've picked up along the way. more good than bad, i am. it's not even about that though. what is it, what is it? this self evaluation is killing me. the 30 the debt the love the work the life the relationship the mom. yoga. can it really be the answer? part of it maybe. take better care of yourself, dian. why must i keep reminding myself? more music. more baseball. more tennis. more yoga. more breathing. stop holding your breath, dian. nothing bad is going to happen. i will protect you. you can breathe you can breathe. no really you can breathe. back to good will hunting. i know it's not my fault. some things are though. not my mom. not steven. not grandpa. not tricia. not mike. not being gay. being in debt though. that's my fault. buying that stupid car i never really wanted anyway. that's my fault. get over blaming yourself, it's no good. can you change it? then do it and quit crying about it. just fucking do something about it if you can. and if you can't then shut the fuck up about it already. don't be so hard on yourself. don't yell at yourself. don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to vickie. to jenifer. that you wouldn't want them to say to you. be kind. share yourself. remember to breathe. look into that yoga thing. that's what you should spend your money on before therapy. help yourself. grow yourself. try it on your own. if you need guidance it's ok, just try it on your own. be kind, be kind. trust yourself, your intuition. you've never been wrong when you listen to yourself. and the battle wages on inside my mind. toy soldiers. i hate that song. will i ever be able to end the war? happy thoughts. find your happy place. find a happy place even if it isn't yours. eat breakfast. stretch. love yourself. listen to more music. go to the bowl. take someone. enjoy their company. take care of your cats. life is good. hard but good. why me? why do i have to deal with all of this? because the strong ones are the only ones who can get through this crap. i am one of the strong ones. accept that. struggle struggle why must everything be a struggle? right now. just right now it's a struggle. don't generalize everything. ha. everything. be real. where are you? what makes you? what breaks you? separate. divide and conquer. know what your battle is before fighting it. breathe. why is it so hard to remember to breathe?
july 18, 2005
…bad breakfast. after driving around for 30 minutes trying to find a place that was open. driving around after our hard-to-find bad breakfast and terrible waitress. trying to find a quiet place to be leisurely while waiting for the dealership to call back saying her car was ready. already feeling angsty, ready for a fight. palms clammy, heart pounding, mind racing, looking for something to grab onto, something to lash out at. slowly turning around a corner to a side street, contemplating whether or not this was the right place. slowly, a look to the right. an impatient SUV behind me honking and speeding around me. me speeding up trying to not let him pass and screaming out the window: "FUUUUUUUUCK YOOOOOOOOUUUUU!!" [______] looked at me. astonished. scared. calmly, quietly she reached for the wheel and said "baby, pull over." i did. without turning the car off, head in my hands, sobbing. tears streaming down my face, unable to control themselves. audible sobbing. first time in over a year allowing myself to cry like this. first time in almost 10 years allowing myself to be this way in plain view of a civilian. it's been like a military operation, this crying business. i sat and sobbed for what seemed like an eternity…
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Journal Entry: December 28, 2005Phone therapy session with [Dana] this morning. I can't even remember what we talked about. Dad. Hospice. [Edward]. Don't even think [Edward] knows my father's terminal. So now I have to tell him. I don't even know if I should. Not really my place. Guess if I can sign DNR forms and decide when to pull the plug, I can't tell [Edward] why my father won't be paying rent anymore. DNR. Is this for real? Consent forms signed. Power of Attorney. Hospice intake. Something about a nurse coming daily to wash him. Didn't look too thrilled about that. Is it wrong that I want him to die? It's not for me, it's for him. And still, it's for me. I don't know how much longer I can take this. I don't know how much longer I can see him like this. In this defeat, in this constant state of weakness, of not being able to tie his own shoe without getting short of breath. I just don't think I'm cut out for all this pain. Again. And God, I know it's not about me, I know, I know. But still. That's my argument. Make it stop, God, for both of us. I just can't take it anymore.Shortly after this therapy session and journal entry, [Reese] and I went for a walk in the woods behind her parents' house. Out the back door, we walked past the swimming pool and up the rolling hill that [Reese] had grown up playing on. Past the garden on the left, we walked towards the top of the hill on the right, where a small trail began. The path led in several directions: up this hill, down that one, around another. It was wide enough for a horse and buggy in some places, and narrowed down to just enough space for a small child to squeeze either through or under the brush and branches. Downpours during the week prior left most of the trees waterlogged and damaged, and in some areas the branches drooped so low they bent and were broken beyond repair.There were wet fall leaves in the trees—brown and orange and yellow, even some purple (although [Reese] swears I was just seeing things that day). Green bushes, dense and full of plump red berries, lined our paths most of the way. Squirrels, lizards, and the likes, hidden in the bushes scampered away from our footsteps as we passed, while birds above flew from this tree to that, seeming to enjoy the crisp afternoon air and the fact that it wasn’t raining. (Why do I assume animals experience our emotions?)[Reese] and I didn’t talk much. I kept my head down and hardly said a word. Thoughts of my session with [Dana] earlier in the morning, along with my father sitting at home waiting for his new hospice care nurse, swirled in my head and led me down roads of “What If” that I didn’t care to venture down.What if I can't handle this? What if I need [Dana] and she doesn’t get my message? What if there’s another storm and I can’t get out of here? What if I can’t get home for weeks? What if my father has fallen? What if he dies and I’m not with him? What if I never see him alive again? What if he doesn’t know I love him?I heard [Reese] talking at least twice, and even though I wanted to respond, I found neither the words nor the will to speak. I pretended not to hear her, and fell behind—far enough that I couldn’t hear her speak, but close enough that she wouldn’t slow down for me. I knew the trees, the bushes, the dirt, the entirety of the nature that surrounded us was her home. I would not allow myself to disturb her home with my depression.