Category: TC and Me

Moving forward

He isn’t alive
anymore but he

lives through me.
I had a few tears on

the four year
anniversary of
the death of my

Dad. Sometimes, I
have these compartments
of feelings where I

can imagine that
he has been with me
and able to see

who I got to become
this whole time. I
imagine he was

there on the day
my husband and I
met. On our wedding
day. I can imagine

that he has stood
in all of the
yoga classes I

have taught and he is
just off in the
distance when I
write my book and

sign canvases. He is
in the kitchen when I
bake a spectacular
pie and cook a steak

to a perfect medium.

The thoughts
stop my breath.
I’m relieved

it’ll never be
August 21st, 2013
ever again. In his

life and his death,
my Dad made me a
better person. I

am so grateful that
for the most part,
that

is the dominate
feeling
I am here

with.

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Best Day

Taylor Swift
released her
whole music

catalog to
spotify at
midnight last
night.

I’ve been re
living the
tame parts

of my 20s all
morning.

It came from
nowhere, a long
forgotten

song that once
I wrote the lyrics
to in a card

to my Dad. I
made him listen

to the song
with me, driving
down the
freeway.

I can wait another
six years to
hear it again.

I wonder every day
what my Dad is now.
Where he went because

all thats left are
the moments that got
immortalized when I
wasn’t

paying attention
until the attention
is all suddenly

thrown back into
those lost seconds.

Sometimes I’m just
caught in between
the pulse to normalize
it all until I can’t

feel the memory or
wish I could lose
the memory again so

that when it returns
nothing
but feeling

could be as
clear.

Cake & Balloons

I was never
grown up enough
to ask you what

your favorite
birthday was.

I didn’t know to
ask questions
like that

while you were
still here to
ask.

March 10th. The
perfect beginning
of spring with some
frost still.

Your Mom would
make you the
same cake every

year until my
Mom did.

Warm chocolate
cake white
buttercream icing.

In a bowl
of milk at
midnight.

You told me once
when you were five,
your Grandpa Dutch

showed up with a
brand new shining
red tricycle

for you. You
told me how
you remember him

taking it out
of the car, and
how in the memory

the red was still
so bright and the
sun reflected off

of the new shine
perfectly. I miss
those memories but
now they’re only

mine and I am
grateful for all
that you shared and I
was able to remember.

When I was 7 I
remember waking you
up at 6 a.m on your

birthday. I had
covered a pan of
vanilla wafers in
Reddi Whip, stuck in
and lit

35 candles.
You woke up
yelling at me

that I was going
to burn the house
down, but felt bad

and sat in bed
eating the cookies.
You let me go to

school late that
day. When you were
50, we pulled off a

surprise 50th birthday
party for you. I
snapped this photo

of your soul, holding
balloons. It’s one of
my top 3 favorite

of you.

Birthdays
are a
big deal, now
and especially

after.

I sang “Happy Birthday”
in all of my
painful and disheveled

yoga postures that
day. I’ve been

taking class every
day and it gets to

the point that my
body feels like a
potato bag of crystal

splinters. I
didn’t make a
cake yet but I

will. When the
mood is better,

and I feel lucky
that I even had you

long enough
to know

what I’m
missing.

Starlight

I still
drive on
every freeway

in the middle
of the night

for very little
reason.

Eating a whole
bar of foreign
chocolate

listening to
Van Halen at
max volume

just because
it helps me
feel.

Sometimes I
have nowhere
to go but

my head
gives me the
impression

that I do.

I signed and
epoxied another
canvas today.

I named her
“The Sage”

because of the
iridescent shell
I was holding

with a sage
smudge in it.

I woke up at
7 and started
applying for a

job in an art
supply store.

My husband
said “no”

He said
“Just do
what you love
and

take care of
yourself and
the rest

will follow.”

I’ve been in
therapy for a
long time now

but the best
therapist I’ve
ever had is

the desert
freeway late
at night and

old classic
rock that
sounds like

my Dads record
collection and a

Ford Mustang
with the windows
down in this

dark
hollow

place.

Skatie

“I found you
skates. Only
Seven dollars.

But I
left them
on the

thrift store
shelf.”

Two days
later he returns.

A pair of blue
and gray roller
blades. They
say

“Chicago” on
the fabric,

look brand new.

My Husband tells
me all of the
stories about

being mad enough
to free skate
through London

for miles at rush
hour for decades
of his old wild

life. I tell him how
my Dads favorite

memory of me is
of when I would
rollerblade, age

9, on the 4th of
July with a bunch of
colored sparklers

in each hand. Tonight
we skated together
for the first time.

“I know.. my Dad..
sent those.. skates..”

I say, out of
breath, more stepping
in the skates than
skating at

this point.

Under a street
light, we kiss.

He doesn’t
let me

fall.

Spell Cast

It was frigid in Chicago. I hugged my father goodbye and left for work. Sun. Snow. Traffic. Chapped lips. Waitress shift. Worn out shoes for crews, black polyester pants frayed on the bottom. False smile. Wine key. Stress for nothing that was all over something at the time. I knew them a lifetime ago. “What is your life up to?”

Sidework and plans for the night. Same shit every night with a different name. Staring out the fogged window in a packed brick dive bar. Smashed in the clothes I worked in all day, that I’ll sleep in, that I’ll go back to work in tomorrow wondering

Why do I feel so stuck?

Life as a server in a suburban chain restaurant. I know about break ups, pain and the drink specials at very bar for every night of the week.

I hugged my father goodbye.

Trucker glasses low down baseball cap. The Killers “Smile like you mean it.” Cross country drive. No idea why. Vague idea to do yoga and not be a waitress. Palm trees and pools. I bought a sequined bikini because I thought it would make me feel like a person that wasn’t scared.

I wanted to be free. I got to Las Vegas. Alone in the valley. Rice and avocado only for three months I was so broke. I was in a house with no power.  The degradation of society is unapologetic and clear here in the summer heat. Its all I see. Homelessness skin sheen – too tan leathery faces.

I’m not scared and I’m still dumb enough not to know that I

should be.

“Going for dinner” was a milkshake and a carton of Marlboro Lights.  I almost relapsed on 9/11. I just wanted to not feel but instead I went to a meeting. It was in a kids classroom.

NA was a cult to me and everybody was crazy, but not my kind of crazy. In that room that day it didn’t feel that way. I stayed.

She invited me to her house because I  freaked and told her I had no food. We cooked spaghetti. There were pictures on the walls and she had a lot of kitchen stuff. I liked all of the wooden spoons. Her house felt like a home where I felt welcome.

105 heat 40% humidity. I die on the floor. I’m the victim take care of me – listen to me forever but don’t touch me. I don’t know how or why.

Talk too much don’t feel enough. Anxiety and high priced dinners to serve. Telling thousands of people about vegetables a week can be your fate if you’re strong enough to suffer.

A phone call at 3 am on a Tuesday. My mother. She found my Dad. She said he passed away. Shes whimpering. What I’m hearing can’t be. I pace around the one bedroom apartment until 6 a.m. Spend the rest of the day trying to figure out what it means to buy dog food so I can fly to Chicago. Bif picks me up in the mini coop wordlessly. Takes the dogs and drops me at the airport.

A sea of planning and sobbing ensues. My daughter walking up to the viewing in a puffy black ball gown with her parents, as my family standing behind me that never met her looks on. My fathers body to the left. I lived that moment I can live em all. Slow motion absolute.

I hugged my father goodbye. Kissed him on the lips.

He couldn’t hug me back but I felt him there, telling me to just keep going.

Thailand. Mui Tai rings and motor boats. Food not in wrappers. Choppy water – wild puppies on an abandoned beach. Meeting the whole world in paradise and yoga like I had never felt it before. The jungle. Sea lice. I need to sit on facebook and eat M&Ms to feel ok.

Certified yoga teacher – not doing shit with that because it is terrifying. But, a job. In a rehab. First day. Terrified. Three years later I teach five a week. I teach art. I’m not a

waitress and I never was. The art is bigger. More dynamic. It isn’t about what it turns into it is within who I get to be in the midst of getting it out of me. All of the birth I will never feel.

A hike to Red Rock with a friend and a stranger. Mismatched neon socks and mustard yellow adidas. Beautiful face, gorgeous accent, brilliant, reads everything and is traveling the world. Last day in the states see you in another life. I watched the air traffic a lot the next afternoon.

Terrified of him, of sounding dumb, of not being enough. Later he says I was cool like Ali Sheedy, and probably had a French boyfriend. We talk every once and a while on whatsapp until one day

“If you were here, I would keep you up all night, telling you how much I missed you.”

Six months later I’m standing in an airport, waiting for a flight form Perth. Him on an escalator, in blue fishing linen pants and a black t shirt.

None of the past matters.

Still with the yoga classes. Inconsistent but going.

Vipassana. Ten days of silence in Joshua Tree. Lifes largest metamorphosis so far. Sobbing into the phone when he answers. All he says is “I know.”

Lose the job. Get another one. I have an office and an 8-4 schedule. My Dads photo on my desk. The job folds.

I paint. I start a private practice. I start to propose my art to be purchased nationally by hospitals.

I go to her house for spaghetti. It is six years later. I know where everything in the kitchen is and make it myself. We watch family fued together and yell at the screen. Everything changes but this hasn’t.

I still write.
I still miss my Dad.
I still work a program.
I meditate.
I do yoga.

and in tiny little pockets of recognized moments, sometimes

I’m as free as I always

imagined.

 

 

 

Yellow Z

It is still weird to
sit down in a kitchen
that I live in, with

food that I made
for dinner on the
weekend

without him.

He should be there.
Asking if I like the
spinach. Saying that
the beans didn’t burn

this time. Asking if
everything was ok. His
way of fishing for

validation, for love,
for appreciation.

He found so much comfort
in grocery stores. Places
where he could buy

things that represented
what he knew about me.
Where he could come to
me and say

“I got you frosted flakes,
your favorite.” I would

always roll my eyes and
say thank you. What I
wouldn’t give for another

one of those moments. To
know what it would be
someday when they were
no longer.

“Every fucking weekend
my Dad would cook these
huge dinners. Every time

I sat down, he would say
to me, on que – “Smurf –
can you please go cut
the bread?” And I’d huff,
and sigh,

and go cut the bread. My
Sister, as soon as she
sat down he’d say

“Fred – go get the napkins.”

We were Fred and Smurf.
I’m not sure why.” I

brought up my Dad so
many times this weekend.

So much of early adult
life is about highlighting
what your parents

didn’t do for you
until one day they
vanish and

all thats left is the
good parts of them
that stayed with

what you are. The
understanding that
they did

everything
good
that they could
have

for me.

Lifetimes spent
around food
in familiar

kitchens
just sitting
together for

dinner.

I miss you
so much.