A curve with two endpoints

…and I thought about how sometimes I go to such pains in my writing. If I have made any promise at all to myself, it is that I will not live an unexamined life; I will not stumble blindly from event to event, from year to year. Even then, with that promise in hand, I find myself more often than not standing toe-to-toe with truths I don't always like—and more often than not, I'm the one to back down. It's easier to choose humor over honesty. It's easier to let my sarcasm, my oh-so-black sense of irony and humor, find ways to laugh at the painful parts of life, than it is to blankly acknowledge it as the painful, sometimes inscrutable, often inexplicable thing it is.
- November 20, 2002 - 'Zero to fifty-nine'

On the way to the airport, I realized that the cherry trees had begun flowering. I have apparently been completely immune to all the precursors of blooming, and it was only by accident that I happened to look up this afternoon and realized that the trees were in full flower.On the way to the airport, the sun shone down on me with an intensity I haven't felt in several months. Spring is coming, really and truly coming, and in some ways is already here. The daffodils and the crocuses always speak first, followed by the rosemary and the tulips, and life - slowly - re-emerges.

A lot's been on my mind today. I met with the new trainer - trainer #3, Val - today, and we talked a lot about me. My history. My goals. Why I had a trainer, my reasons for starting workouts now, what I hoped to achieve. Somewhere along the way, my father came up. I said it with elaborate casualness - "my father died two years ago today of pancreatic cancer." Left it at that.

Two years. In two years, even the most grievous of wounds begin to scab up and heal. Present life becomes memory, and the sifting weight of days passed tamp down and smooth out even the most painful of edges.

Press down hard enough, though, and any edge, no matter how carefully blunted, can cut.

Mom is here. We don't talk about why she's here, with the exception of a single sideswipe at dinner tonight, but she knows and we know. She'll be here until Monday, and in the meantime, I will try to make sure that her hours are busy and pleasant. On this, of all days, she deserves that much.

With friends, this week, I've talked a lot about forgiveness. Not just of others, but of myself. I've made no secret of the fact that my father and I had a rocky relationship; one of the most difficult decisions I made while he was ill was the choice not to confront him about the various maladies inherent in our relationship. It was wrong of me to demand explanations from a man who was dying of cancer literally before my eyes, so I gave up what I knew was my only chance for answers.

Just because it was the right choice doesn't mean it's been an easy choice to live with.

Death means no more second chances. No more opportunities to revisit a relationship that never quite worked out the way any of us planned. It is, in my case, a curve with two endpoints and twenty-five years in between.

The sad truth is that I don't know how to talk to my mother. The sadder truth is that I don't try very hard. I could try to justify it, to explain it, but it is what it is.

The voice on the other end of the phone last night reminded me that, without effort on my part, I might have yet another relationship to regret. I think it unlikely that I'll ever be truly close to any of my immediate family members again - physical distance plus extreme differences in personality and interests are likely to guarantee that. On this day of all days, I have to look back, look closely, and realize the truth: I still have one living parent.

With life comes opportunity, and the possibility of change.

No guarantees. But also, no endpoint. Not this curve. Not yet, anyway.


Yet another thing I've waited and wanted for you. These are not the easy things you are thinking and doing but they are the good things, the right things. I love you. Good luck.