November 19

Year and a Day

It’s been a year and a day since my ex-wife Cynthia Lee passed away from colon cancer.

It has been an eventful year. Our child is now fifteen. The situation with them is complex and I won’t go deeply into details here.
I spent just over three months in rehab after we found out I had cracked my tibia and lost a lot of the cartilage in my left knee. Went from being stuck in my recliner to being able to transfer to my wheelchair and get out of our apartment.

An apartment, by the way, that is not the one I left from when I went to rehab. While I was there, my lovely wife moved us, lock, stock, and barrel to a nice new place. I can get into the kitchen more easily, and even leave the building when I need to!

It’s been a bit more than a week after the election. Being on Medicare, being disabled, and having a non-binary teen made the results not just disappointing, but frightening to our family. The eldest wants to leave the country, and I don’t blame them as I have watched the train wreck that is the Trump administration take shape.

I shouldn’t get to deep on an update post, so I won’t.

Our bunny is happy and healthy, our vehicle is functional, my wife will celebrate her eleventh year at her work soon. Things are okay for the most part. Will post something more detailed soon.

February 21

On the passing of Umberto Eco

Author Umberto Eco passed away two days ago at the age of 84. Although not an author I read on a regular basis, he was an amazing writer, whose work was rich, like Godiva chocolate or hundred year old balsamic vinegar, the kind one can sip like wine. I can read most books in a week or two, but Foucault’s Pendulum took me well over a month, and I would be able to glean more upon a second or third reading.

Death is a sad affair, with the world losing a person whose influence could mean a lot to it. In Mr. Eco’s case, his work had wide reaching appeal, and powerful impact, and it will endure for a long time, though his name may not be as recognized by as wide an audience as some. He has well earned the peace he is now at.

I hope some day to write half as well as he.

January 22

Shifting the Narrative, and my diet

Anyone who has debated with me online knows that it takes a lot to push me to use personal insults. In fact, very few people have seen me resort to such tactics at all in quite some time. I see a lot of people from every side who use such tactics in debate, and it saddens me that people who really do have a valid argument are still drawn in by the temptation of using insults.

Even though I do not resort to such methods, I have been targeted by some rather horrendous insults. I will not repeat them here, let’s just say that they would fall under “fight words” if used in person.

I find that patience and an even disposition serves me much better in debate. There are some who can’t handle it, and blow up at me before blocking me. However, more are taken aback at my lack of insults, and are more open to listening. This is my goal. Sure, it might be fun to go flaming across Twitter abusing all of the groups I disagree with, but the end result would be pointless. So, I try hard not to personally insult people.

This does NOT mean I will not insult ideas, or “non-people” (Those who are dead, fictional, or of unknown existence). In addition, I may refer to well known people by their behavior (Such as calling Zakir Naik a charlatan, or Trump an amoral opportunist)

On a slightly different note, I am in week three of my second attempt at vegetarianism. With the help of my wonderful wife, I have been able to switch my diet from a few meats (chicken, and turkey) to nearly none at all. I say nearly, because I lapsed twice so far. I am still trying hard to maintain it, even though I crave omnivorousness.

My reason for doing so is to reduce inflammation causing foods, as well as lose a bit of weight. Morally, however, I am also trying to avoid unnecessary suffering of animals. I think I can exist without requiring another being with a nervous system experiencing pain. My goal is to eventually be free from my meat cravings. We shall see!

It is a personal choice, and I am not going to go on a crusade to change anyone else, not even within my own home. The eldest wishes to be a pescatarian, and my wife is still a happy omnivore.

However, I am up for sharing recipes!

November 19

To my child on the one week anniversary of the death of your mother

To my child,

A week ago tonight, you lost your mother.

Your eyes are going to run dry many times in the coming days, weeks, months for crying. I’m sorry I can’t fix that. All I can do is be there to wipe your eyes, and sometimes cry with you.

You will never stop loving her. You will hear her voice guiding you when things are at their worst, and feel her smile when things are at their best. She will be with you, in your heart and mind, from now on. The pain you are experiencing now will go from numbness to terrible until it fades into the background again, but the memories of her will remain.

I know she is constantly on your mind now, but she will pop up from time to time as you get older, hiding behind the laugh lines beside your eyes (you will laugh again, and you may hear a little of her voice in your laugh), maybe in the way you hold your coffee cup or the way you scold your child if you have one. It may be in your art, or your music. It may only be in fond memories.

Regardless of where your mother is within you, she will never entirely disappear. You may be dreading it now, but in time you will come to welcome these momentary glimpses of her within you.

How do I know this?

Because, my wonderful child, it is one of the many things that I love about you, that I see bits of her in you from time to time. Every so often in the coming years, I may hug you for no reason, and I may hold you a little tighter than normal. Know that it is because I caught a glimpse of her, and I am letting her know she is loved. It will also never let you forget that you are loved.

You can keep her alive by not forgetting to live, by loving, and by experiencing everything you can.

And never, ever, ever, forgetting to laugh.

Your Papa

November 14

Cynthia Elizabeth Lee

It is just past two in the morning on November 14th, 2015. My child is slumbering about fifteen feet away on the couch. About thirty hours ago, they watched their mother pass away.

It took me a while to collect my thoughts enough to pen this tribute to Cynthia, my first wife. Our history together is so far beyond complex that it is hard to condense it into a book, let alone a single blog post. We went from strangers to passion, from passion to joy, from joy to elation, from elation to suffering, from suffering to loneliness, and from loneliness into a long detente tinged with echos of the past.

We met at a restaurant in 1998, when a mutual friend was introducing me to his social group in anticipation of entering a roommate situation with me. I had just returned to Indianapolis from Seattle, had started dating someone in Michigan but was captivated by her charm and personality.

Within two months. we had both thrown caution to the wind and started seeing each other. Our relationship caused waves around us from the get go. Some people got hurt by it, others were jealous. Some people decided to act out of anger, which ended up driving us even more firmly together. By August, we were engaged.

We had our ups and downs, as any couple does. But, we had passion. We were young and in love, after all. I was twenty, and she was twenty seven. Hard to believe I am eleven years older now than she was then.

Our wedding was wonderful, with friends coming together to celebrate with us. We had a two week honeymoon at Pensic. When we came home, we seemed to be leading a charmed life. Sure, we had difficulties, but it just seemed to be getting better. We found out she was pregnant on her birthday in 2001. By that point, I had been working at a great job for several months. She was working as a store manager. We were doing well, had moved into a decent house, and were doing pretty well on all fronts.

I won’t go deeply into what went wrong and where; such discussions are moot now. We both did and said regrettable things. In the end, Addison was just over a year old when we separated. We divorced in 2004.

It can be said that anger is born out of either compassion or frustration. For us, it was a bit of both. I still loved her, but the pain of the situation made it difficult to deal with. If it hadn’t been for Addison, I would have cut ties with her, to let wounds heal and let my love be passive and distant. As it was, I had to learn to move on while having Cynthia as part of my life due to being a part of Addison’s life. Not easy, but I am very glad I did.

Over time, we were able to come to peace with each other and move on. I had another child, and got remarried. Cynthia found love relationships of her own. I remained her friend, and not a possessive ex-husband, letting  the negativity fade.

I was able to tell her goodbye before she went, and do so without anger, malice, or negativity. Whatever is beyond, if anything, I hope she is happy, comfortable, and has found everything she was looking for.

May you rest easy, Cynthia. The world has lost some of its light with your passing.

November 12

On the Final Word

Cynthia Lee, my first wife and mother of my eldest child, Addison, has slipped into a coma due to her battle with cancer. She may or may not make it through the night.

I have had deaths close to me before, but none this close. I was able to say my final goodbye, and to apologize, and to tell her I love her.

It is one of the many reasons I have not been blogging lately. I’ll be back at some point, but I need to go Internet silent for a while to collect my thoughts.

I tried to find a good picture of her, but when I saw this, I felt it showed her as the wonderful mother she was. This is Addison and Cynthia in 2002.

August 7

Fighting Invisible Demons

Those who know me know that I try very hard to be funny, upbeat, and generally in a good mood. Those closest to me know that, behind this, is a complex structure of coping mechanisms. Depression, rage, fear, all are also parts of me.

Those people closest to me struggle with similar demons. Many of them are blessed and cursed with the ability to understand the larger patterns, to see the story. It is a dance along the cliff between sanity and insanity, and it takes phenomenally strong people to dance this line without falling off.

It has been said that ignorance is bliss. On the inverse, knowledge is power. Both have their dangers. Is one a sheep, to be led willingly to slaughter, or is one a wolf, to be hunted by the fearful?

Neither. One is human, and to ignore the responsibility that comes with that is to sacrifice our one and only valuable birthright; sentience.

So, the only way I stay sane is through learning, logic, and force of will. And the occasional joke.

May 30

Meltdown

I have now been in the hospital for about three and a half weeks.

I am really, really tired of being in the hospital. The people are nice, don’t get me wrong, but I want to go home. At the moment, I may end up at another rehab facility, but I would much rather be with my wife in my own space.

Unfortunately, getting in the apartment is a problem, as I am not walking yet. I hope I am by Wednesday.

The bigger problem is that tempers are short and I keep getting drawn into drama that I really should not be involved with while in the hospital. So, I’m going radio dark for a while. I’m shutting down my connection to Facebook, email, even shutting off my phone. I need a break, I need space to recover and start walking.

If you need to reach me, leave a message. I’ll get back to you, eventually.