During the Autumn of 2001, I was working for a company that included in its health plan, visits to a psychologist should we ever feel the need. Guided by a voice I didn’t really hear, I squeezed in an appointment after a good kickboxing workout, but before I went home to get thoroughly stoned, drink lots of water, eat a pack of cookies, then go to bed.

She was a wee woman with long dark hair, the top half of which was tied back. She wore a dress and the exact same shoes I had at home:  White Mountain clogs, my favorite at the time. Her name was Kerry and as I sat there perched on the edge of the couch, I wanted to flee but knew I had to stay. I confessed to not knowing why I was there except that I seemed to keep sabotaging any relationship I had (hindsight now – they just weren’t the Right One). Kerry asked what I assumed were the usual therapist sort of questions:  What was your childhood like? What about your parents?  What were you like in school?  And bingo, like a woven tapestry of ones life, the threads we weave to make up our history become frayed, loosened. Sometimes, as a protective measure we have strung and restrung so many times over and around particular things that we don’t even see the pattern anymore. But there is always a string, always a fragment; pull it, and it’s quite possible that everything you had worked on, simply comes undone. And that’s what she made me do, with one simple tug on a historical thread.

Kerry was meant for me. I have always believed that. We spent eighteen months digging shit out of a nasty hole and filling it back up with good.  Some sessions were angry, some heartbreaking at the knowledge of fresh, uncovered details, some lighthearted, sometimes I’d sit there for fifteen/twenty minutes just staring out the window but she never, ever made me feel as if I were wasting her time. I mean, I know she was getting paid but the relationship never had the ‘clock watching’ feel.  She was intuitive, compassionate, ethical, and next to my husband, the most important person I’ve had the joy of dancing with in my life.  Her influence followed me around all the time, unseen but always there. A physical reminder, a gift from her hangs in my car, and has hung in every car I’ve owned since the day she gave it to me.

On Monday, I learned that Kerry had committed suicide.  It seemed, and not unlike the wonderful Robin Williams, that she had dedicated her life to helping others but couldn’t do anything about her own shadowy companion. She was loved by so many, as evidenced by the outpouring of emotion on her page, and it breaks all of our hearts to think that she believed this to be her only choice.

Kerry was a light-filled, beautiful spirit; spry and twinkly, quick to laugh, but also deeply committed to healing.

Goodnight, sweet lady.



In Here

In Here, sitting with indifference that sits in itself with heartache, I care little about interaction; social nuances.  In Here, my lips pull down, my face a reflection of the sadness that wells in my heart. I am wrapped in my own wings, shuddering, comforted by their softness. They feel as if to say, “It’s ok, little one, take the loss, absorb it, let it swirl around inside of you until you feel its passing. Care nothing for anything except those that you can see and touch and talk to.  Everything else is unnecessary.” So I curl up inside, buffeted by grief that slammed into me unannounced. It came from a direction I would never have thought possible, and by means I cannot comprehend. From a point along my journey so long ago that reaches every day into the life I live.

In Here, it’s just sorrow.


Namaste Dave

Rarely do I have sea-time without having to keep an eye on the kids.  Miraculously, they all decided they were hungry at once and traipsed back up the beach to my poor, tired husband to eat.  I remained in the ocean, blissed out and floating, treading water lightly, or reclining fully to feel the weight of the sun on my face. It was glorious. I wasn’t consciously trying to be in the moment, or attempting to grasp a fleeting feeling of gratitude, things I often try to do when I take a few precious seconds to marvel at the horizon. It was enough to just be caressed by the swells, gently pushed this way and that.namastesaying

Not far from me a gentleman also bobbed around, on a small boogie board. We grinned at each other and he said, “It’s lovely out here, isn’t it?” to which I replied, “It really is.  And it’s easy just…to be.” He smiled wide and I knew that he knew what I meant. He had an immense, colorful tattoo on his back, about which I enquired.  He explained that he had been to Japan a few times and loved to meditate in their gardens, so over time he’d had a similar scene engraved on his body: soothing waterfalls, Japanese maples, ponds, trees…everything he would wish for in a place for meditation.  I remarked that it was like having his inside on the outside, and he liked the comparison. We chatted for some time, not realizing that we had drifted far from our meeting point, and past the red flag near the rocks, so we laughed and paddled back to where we started, and continued chatting. About yoga, and hotels, and family, and work, until we discovered we’d drifted again. We parted ways at that point; I had to swim back to the sightline for my husband and he had to go find his family. I asked his name; he said it was Dave.  I told him mine and as naturally as can be, I said “Namaste”.  He put his hands together and Namaste’d in return.

The next day, I was driving with the windows open in the car because it was cool enough outside.  Strands of my hair whipped this way and that, and I had tosurreal-art people squint a lot to protect my eyes from both wind and hair. It reminded me of the forces of nature; the ocean, at once giving you enough grace to hold yourself afloat but at the same time, moving you far where you thought you were. The wind, giving you the power to hold yourself steady, yet able to push you around at the same time. The forces of fate; meeting people, kindred souls, not so kindred souls, whoever, wherever, whenever, and for undetermined (or is it pre-determined?) lengths of time.

I met Dave for maybe ten minutes, and unless there are plans previously established before our lives on Earth, it’s unlikely that I’ll see him again. But I won’t ever forget him. Just as I will never forget the elderly lady at the grocery store two months ago who happily informed me of the differences between jams, jellies and preserves (Truth be told, I already knew, but wanted to connect with her because I was feeling particularly friendly that day). I won’t forget the woman with the white hat at table 15, years ago; who was so angry about waiting for her lunch that she insulted me, and thought her salad was puny. Or the waistcoated gentleman at table 13, who on our opening night scored a free meal because he was under the (mistaken) impression that his risotto had wild rice in it instead of Arborio. I will remember the father many weeks ago, showing his teenage daughter how to pump gas. She thought it was funny; he was trying to impress on her the importance of the task.  We made eye contact and in a split second, I understood his frustration and showed him that I empathized.

We shouldn’t forget the boyfriends, the old friends, the neighbors, or the random people. It would behoove us to remember not just the people who showed care and respect for us, but also the people who treated us terribly, who were rude, or hurtful, or broke our hearts.

Or is it just me? Am I the only one who thinks about this stuff? What capacity we have to hold all these memories! In some way, some small or big way, every one of these people created a spark, a connection. And in some way, it taught us something, showed us something, or maybe just helped to keep us buoyed during a day. I honor all of them.

(Of course, this also applies to people online whom I shall probably never meet in person.)

Namaste, All.


Friday Fictioneers : Model Playmate


Photo courtesy – Bjorn Rudberg

Model Playmate

Word Count:  102

Oh my god, she did it again! Milton breathe-slumped and rolled his eyes. He didn’t mind Penny playing in the basement, but how many times did he have to tell her not to touch the model?  Too many, he thought, tweezing the house back into its rightful location. And why did it always appear in this spot? Milton shrugged; eight year olds.

Upstairs, Milton’s wife felt ready to purge their daughter’s room of her belongings. It had been a difficult year but the time for grief was over.  She worried about Milton though; he seemed convinced that Penny still existed.