Archive for the ‘sadness’ Tag

Losing Christmas….   2 comments

rainydaycentralpark

Its raining outside, and somewhere my family is looking up at sunny skies, sharing smiles and eating a delicious breakfast. I won’t be with them anytime soon.

I’ve lost Chrstmas.

I don’t know how much people know about the stilted lives of those who aren’t American living in the U.S, but let’s just say, its not always pleasant. Details of why I’m forced to remain in lovely ol’ DC for the rest of the year are irrelevant.
I’ve lost this time with my family and a few friends, but I feel I lost Christmas a long time ago.
Tomorrow will be the fourth year anniversary of my Grandfather’s death. I can’t even believe it, it still feels like yesterday, like the way I feel when I forget my keys as I’m stepping out of the house, or the way I feel when I have something to do that’s on the tip of my tongue. It feels close, as if it’s a breath away, an arm’s length. But its not. Four whole years have passed since I visited the quiet hospital room with its green, ugly walls, where everyday I would greet my Grandfather with a smile and hug, feeling his bones press into my skin because he had lost so much weight. The staff loved him—he’s just that kind of guy—and I followed suit. Even though he was at the last stages of being eaten by cancer, he never showed much pain or anger. He would always entertain conversation if he could manage it. He was always laughing with the staff and telling me: “Mr. Marcus, good to see you.”
I only had two weeks to spend with him, and there were nights that I was falling asleep after spending the day there with him, and he would tell me to go out and have fun.
It’s hard watching someone with one lung breathe. The day before he died, one of his lungs collapsed, and watching him was heartbreaking. When you have one lung you are forced to exert all your efforts into breathing. Sucking in life-giving air is no longer something you do effortlessly awake or asleep, it becomes frightfully real. I watched him heave awkwardly for hours on end, while nurses stood by, their faces dark brown masks of death.
On the day he died, we were all standing around him, most of his immediate family, and we were there to see him go. His last words with his arms outstretched were “Sing for me”. Sing we did. His pastor was there, singing a quiet hymnal, and we stood by, our eyes filled with tears and our hearts in our mouths. As soon as he said those words, he wilted, and we knew he was gone. My mother grabbed us and rushed us beside him. “Tell him goodbye.” She said between breaths.

Tell him goodbye.

That was four years ago, and tomorrow a gathering will take place at my Grandmother’s house in Jamaica. People will play dominoes, eat Christmas cake and drink Sorrel (a yearly drink we brew) and talk about good times. I will be here in DC, watching rain pour from the sky like tears from my eyes four years ago.

In a way, I lost Christmas then.

A year later, I was in love. The worst kind you can be in, the unrequited kind. That Christmas I was unable to sleep, and I lost my appetite. The days went by in a blur, and all I could think of was a person I couldn’t see or touch. I couldn’t hear her voice or smell her hair, but at least, I had my family. I had the kind, consoling words of my Grandmother. She with her powerful hugs and sweet kisses. She calls me Marks. Then there were the outings with my father, the endless stream of Heinekens and staying out at bars until the sky becomes a purplish blue. I get to hear my father say, “This is my big son. Marcus.” To numerous people I’ve never met. Then there are the idle conversations with my sisters; joking about esoteric things you learn over twenty odd years of living with each other. The jokes that only you will ever find funny, the ones that pop up from the recesses of your memory in the same way your name does when a stranger asks you what your name is. You immediately go back in time, and you are ten and she is five, and you are both sitting with skinny arms and legs, calmly watching a Disney movie on the brand new VCR. I didn’t have love, but at least I had that. I had those memories around me to stymie the effects of my loss.

The next year, I lost a friend.

This also changed Christmas. No longer would I run to his house and laugh and recap the year, or traipse about Kingston, laughing at how well we were dressed, or more esoteric jokes. No more would we reminisce about riding through the hills during the summertime on our bikes; no more playing video games and crashing on couches. These memories were gone, wilted away like the moment my Grandfather left this Earth. We might think life is mundane and often empty; that the little things around us are the things we dislike the most. The little things family and friends might say to annoy us, the meals we used to hate, the little trips we didn’t like taking. But when those are gone, we are left with nothing but silence, a cavernous raging silence that we can’t escape. It stares at us from the heavens, drowning us in its malevolent laughter.

Treasure the moments.

A year after this one, I made sure to make Christmas what it should be. I relished the moment, hungrily went to all the parties, I went to all the dinners and I laughed at all the jokes. Losing love, family and friends makes you do that. It turns you into a leech for good emotion. Dammit, if I have three weeks out of a sad year to feel good, I will use them like an addict’s last hit of coke before rehab.
Today, that’s changed.

There is no love twittering about in my heart, no painful memories of someone nearby. There is no friend to call and laugh about esoteric jokes. There is no family nearby to hug and giggle with, no sisters around to laugh about old Disney movies and catfights when we were kids. All I have is the rain around me, the humming of my space heater to keep me company, and my thoughts.
It is said that we die alone, that when we exit this Earth, we do so the same way we came. I think this is true, but I also think we live alone. We may occasionally see people and go to places were others dwell, but in our minds we are forever by ourselves. We never completely open up to those around us, and our reality is uniquely our own. Time might pass and we might love and lose it, get married or have children, but in some way, people never truly know us. We spend most of our lives being trained not to tell people about ourselves, and then worry as we get older and experience states of undesirable disconnect. Thus, if we die alone, and we live alone, is dying like living? Are they one and the same?
I don’t know. But as I head out into another rainy evening and the wet drops soften my hair, mix with the salt on my skin and burn my eyes, I might have my answer.

Life 4 Inches at a Time [PreBday Thawts]   Leave a comment

Today is Wednesday, March 19, 2008.
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Last year on this very day, I was in Barcelona, probably sipping on a cafe con leche. I spent my 25th birthday in Europe, far away from almost everything and everyone I knew.
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Today, I’m sitting in my room, staring blankly at my computer screen. Naturally, this leads one to reflect. I’m not sure what to speak about honestly, but I feel like with any blog a person needs to say something before they usher themselves into another age bracket?Maybe I could talk about love, growth, the economy or probably Global Warming. Who knows. I have no poignant thoughts on the brain of late.
Maybe I’ll blog about nothing in particular, and write a little poem that reflects my state of mind.
One thing I realize about this blog thing, its pretty challenging at times. This thing is supposed to be a sort of online diary, a forum where anyone can hop onto your page and read what you’ve been up to. Much of what I’ve been up to, I don’t want to say.Maybe I’m too shy, or a little too reserved when I think of who might be reading these blogs. Does it really matter if I say whatever is on my mind? The most hits i’ve received in a day are 120. Can my life really be affected if an extra 120 people know a few tidbits about someone they will probably never meet?

Who knows.

I’ve toyed with the idea of writing another blog, the one were I can REALLY speak my mind. Rant if you will. Talk about my life’s frustrations, things that are approaching that sometimes keep me awake, disturbing adult behavior, unrequited love, the works.

But who knows. These aren’t things someone really has to focus on are they? We are in the age where people can find out almost anything if they search hard enough. I’m just doing people a favor, and putting it out there before the masses come calling.

I can say without reservation that in my life so far I have seen some pretty ugly things. The dark side of human nature, people and events. I try to ignore these things, but I realize that when some really f-ed up stuff happens to you, it can really sit with you for a LONG time. This sometimes makes me desire to be “normal”. But what is normal anyway? I don’t think anyone is normal. Half of my relationships are destroyed by the hangups my exes have over their former boyfriends. Do the wrong thing, you become that guy, and you are gone. Caput.

Everyone has their frame centralized based on what happened to them in their life, good or bad. Who is normal? The chick with the eating disorder because she hates herself or the guy who does lines to forget about his friend that killed himself? What is normal?

Each time I hear about people dying on the news I feel nothing. Worse, when people close to me have died and I don’t know how to react. How can I? We are in this weird, desensitized world where no one generally thinks past how far they can tolerate discomfort.

I’ve also seen some amazing things. I’ve traveled, I’ve met beautiful people I care and love. I’ve seen one of the better sides of humanity, the value of family, good friendships, and priceless moments. I’ve sat on a beach in Hawaii, staring at the sunset, realizing how big the world is. I’ve heard my father tell me he loves me, looked a hurricane directly in the eye and dodged a few near death incidents. I’ve had broken bones, and a broken heart. Christ, I still have a broken heart. I’ve lived eh?

Even though i’m sitting in my room, alone and in my underwear typing this, I have to be thankful.

Yesterday I was walking home. I was feeling like a huge cloud was over my head. This happens to everyone in a major city if you don’t have that many people to interact with. Its almost like everyone is a mannequin, and you are walking by everyone in slow motion. You don’t hear any voices because you have your headphones on, drowning out the world. You don’t see any smiles, or looking into anyone’s eyes. You walk straigth ahead, like society’s runway model, unaware of anything in the periphery, all you see is that walkway that leads to the photographers.

I was feeling like this. I had just returned from walking around aimlessly for a few hours. About fifty feet in front of me, I saw a man struggling to push his wheelchair up a small ramp that lead to the sidewalk. A passerby helped him and when the man regained control of his chair, I walked past. This man–I have no idea what ailment he had–could only push the wheelchair forwards a few inches at a time. His head rested awkwardly on his chest, and he was twitching. Even so, his eyes seeemed much brighter than mine. I, the person in full control of my faculties had darker eyes.

Immediately I felt ashamed of myself. I felt the need to cry surge within me as I wondered about what I was truly thankful for. What is wrong with you? I said to myself. Even if there isn’t much going on right now, you can walk, you can talk, if you get lucky, you can get laid. You aren’t living life four inches at a time.

This emotional charge has probably lead me in a spiral of thinking about the past. I’ve been in a few car accidents, and I’ve suffered some major injuries in my lifetime. These leave me in a fluctuating state of pain, which I find annoying, but i’m not crippled. Even though I tend to limp every now and then, I can still run if I need to, and walk a few miles every other day or so.

Whoever reads this, I might dismiss this as meaningless in a day or so. Regardless of that fact, it is all i can think about right now. The time your inner voice in the loudest, is when you have nothing to say, and no one to say anything to you. Add a Spring Break time period to that, and you have a regular existential birth about to happen.

Who knows what life means. So what if I was in Barcelona last year, and this year i’ll probably be sitting in some Cafe in DC somewhere. I’m not unhappy to be alive. I don’t really have that much to complain about. I’ve realized as I get older that a few things happen:

(a) you see the bad side of people you love, and you can choose to hate them, or get over it.
(b) you will experience the death of someone close to you, sooner or later. No one escapes.
(c) you will fail a few times at things you believe you could NEVER lose at. Life teaches all.
(d) you will have at least one or two major regrets. Things you can never change. Ever.
(e) you will have the choice to call someone to say hello, or tell them you love them, but you won’t.
(f) you will either decide to focus on your career as the focus of your life, or take your own steps towards what your life will be. Either way, its fueled by the notion of death at the end of the road.
(g) you will have lots of fun if you so choose.
(h) you will realize your own meaning of life and death, sooner or later.
(i) you will be challenged to change a bad habit you have, or you will lose people very precious to you if you don’t.
(j) you will realize the words of your peers when you were a child make perfect sense.
(k) you will fear having children of your own someday.
(l) you will have a moment where you can completely change your life, or stay where you are, knowing it will keep you trapped for years to come.
(m) next year, you’ll realize these things all over again. :p

Okay that’s not some comprehensive list, but its MY list… and you are reading MY blog…so there! :p

Anyways, lately I’ve been like “screw it”. I’ll tell my thoughts within reason. I’ve been hesitant at times to write because I think certain people might read my blog, but hey, I’m not that important. I get comments from random people in different countries. The people closest to me refuse to read my blog, so I’m safe. I’m still trying to get my sister to read one of my 76 posts.

So ladies and gents, so ends the rant. Maybe there wasn’t much point to this. Tomorrow i’ll go back to my usual witty re-telling of whatever I do on my birthday. Hopefully it will involve women, drugs and alcohol.

Peace

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