16 September 2011

When one is in the midst of Randori

It might look something like this.

11 September 2011


Ten years ago today, when the first plane flew into the towers, I was at a viewing, yes the pre-funeral one for a dear friend's dad. I remember driving back to work and feeling as if something wasn't right but it wasn't until I got to work and saw CNN.com that I knew what had transpired. I was sent home because I live within 35 miles of NYC and the nearby military facility was being set up to receive injured folks that never came. I remember being at the chiropractor that evening and her husband at the time worked in the WTC but didn't make it in to work because he was attending a funeral.

I remember as the names of those murdered started to trickle in, I started to see familiar ones, a friend from grammar school and high school, some firemen I knew from karate class. And friends of some of my kid friends whose dads or moms just never were able to come home.

Just unthinkable, nearly unbearable to be adjacent to that much carnage and pain. Still raw 10 years later. But I learned to believe in hope, love and energy. And to be grateful for the lessons the universe brings me. Chief among them being, there is right now, and that's it.

06 December 2010


Bardo is a Tibetan word, it means transition and often refers to the 49 day period between when dies and is reborn. October 18th was 49 days ago and my dad had a seizure while in mid sentence about 6pm, a code was called, an ambulance was called and at 6:54pm he was declared dead by the ER doc. At about 645 I was outside the ER treatment room where I heard someone say that was the third round of epi and he's been down 45 minutes. I've seen enough ER and Grey's Anatomy in my day to suspect a 4th round of epi would be administered. But before that discussion took place a security agent took me to the 'family room' where my sister and my mom were waiting to find out what was happening. By 7pm the doc on duty had told us that my dad had passed and by 730p we had called the out of town siblings to let them know and we were back at the house looking for wills and papers and a pizza. So for the first bunch of time I was numb as hell, and it's how I got through the viewing and funeral, or maybe I don't know how I got through any of it. But I did.

What Buddhist folks believe is this - 49 days after someone leaves this life, they're reborn. And one can undertake certain rituals to ease a loved ones transition and while I'm not really well versed on how to undertake this stuff officially, I go with what I understand. I know that the universe strives for balance, that's what karma is about and that by certain deeds one can throw the balance out of whack so that one's karma is eased. At least, that's how my accountant brain gets this. So for the past 49 days (and the 11 days before that when Rupe got) sick, I've liberated various sentient beings (108 crickets and 1000 worms) to ease their suffering. Chanted medicine Buddha mantras and when that didn't work out how I was hoping, I chanted 100 syllable Vajrasattva mantras for purification of karma.

So Rupe, welcome back, be safe and be happy. We still miss the hell out of you.

16 November 2010

Stages of Grief

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross spoke of 5 stages of grief. My experience so far has been 1 and it's none of the ones Kubler-Ross spoke of, it is and remains, what the fuck?

31 October 2010

Don't know quite what I expected

but this is so not any kind of linear experience. It was at first, Rupe got sick, he seemed to be getting better, didn't get better and died, we did the ritual stuff. That all was linear but the feelings aren't, they're more roller coastery then all that. And that's all I've got to say about that day.

On another note, today is Halloween, I gave out prunes. Individually wrapped prunes, until I ran out and had to give a kid an envelope of tuna. Not sure if it was cat tuna or people tuna. Got some more prunes and haven't had a trick or treater since.

30 October 2010

So perhaps I've mentioned

That October 18 was life changing for me in ways, I'd thought I'd considered. And as I am occasionally a thoughtful person I'd considered them across a breadth of emotions that I'd likely encounter as my parents, siblings, friends and assorted loved ones, acquaintances and family members aged. So breadth I was somewhat prepared for, depth I had no idea. At first I was just sad and numb, and I welcomed the numbness because it made it way easier to get through the public mourning events my people are inclined to do. But now when the mourning is done largely at home with the cat life and in the car, it's with a full bodied sadness, that I will confess is new to me.

As I described it in talking with one friend it's a hot mess of suck. And it will suck for an epic long time, but please do know that you care enough to try and take some of that away makes it suck a little less. And makes it suck a little less life and humor out of me. Which is about all I'm hoping for today.

29 October 2010

Hmm where the hell have I been

Sprained a wrist shopping back in May. Bought a 40lb kettlebell, dropped it, grabbed it with the last 2 fingers on the left hand and some ligament action said what the fuck? At the time I was training to test for first kyu in Aikido. So that had to be postponed because I had to rest me wrist. Which I did for about two weeks then wrapped it up and hopped back on the mat. The process of training was interesting because I started recognizing some but not all nuance. Which is, I suppose the story of my life. In the meantime, the siblings and I were planning what has become known as Anniversapalooza in celebration of the parental types 50th wedding anniversary. The week before which I tested for 1st kyu. Which went well, because the teacher I have trains us in such a way that you will do well. Then Anniversapalooza. Dinner at the sisters Friday, family portrait Saturday morning, out to dinner Saturday night. Wonderful stuff. So then we come to Thursday October 7. I get a frantic phone call from the mothership (who does not do frantic - ever) telling me to get to the ER, something was wrong with my father and it doesn't look good. And get ahold of the siblings. Thank God for blue tooth. The situation with my father after a battery of tests was something called hypokalemia. Not enough potassium in the blood. But there was also a whole bunch of atrial fibrillation that seemed to be better managed once the potassium situation got straightened out. At least for a while, like 11 days awhile. On October 18th at about 615pm in mid-sentence, Rupe stopped. Breathing,and talking and apparently living in the body he was occupying at the time. The called a code, and emts and took him up to the ER. And knowing entirely too much about what goes on at a code, you don't necessarily want to be outside the treatment room and hear the folks say, he's been down for 45 minutes and this is the third round of epi. Because there wasn't going to be a 4th round. I was then shown by a very nice security dude to the 'family room' in the ER where I found the mothership and the sister. Shortly after that, we had to sign some computer screens for the emts, and then the doc came in to tell us that Rupe had passed. From all accounts I'm thinking he was gone when his head hit his chest.