Goodbyes

My brother, Grant

The night that our father died, I watched my brother Grant sit on the couch next to our dad’s hospice bed and pull our stepmother over to him. He held her while she sat there, her head resting on him, exhausted and too numb still for the grieve to fully sink in. It was one of the most tender acts I’ve ever seen Grant perform and, given the history of the Garcia family to my stepmother, it was a stunning gesture that I’ve never forgotten.

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Marked Series

Marked — 2

A year before the house with the animated inanimate objects, I’m on the jet-way in Orlando, excitedly nervous for my first flight. It’s summertime, the plane is stuffy, and despite the adventure of flying, I’m fighting tears. The stewardess checks on me, bringing an unnecessary blanket, as I stare out the tiny window towards the terminal at the hazy silhouette of my father waving a white handkerchief. He has made arrangements for me to stay with an aunt on the island. For my own safety, he is sending me away.

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Marked Series

Marked — 1

The first time the toilet flushes on its own, I dismiss it as an issue with the plumbing in the new-to-us house. I have other things on my mind:  navigating our newly integrated family, figuring out what to call the woman who is not yet legally my mother but who doesn’t get hung up on such technicalities as she lays down rules and seems to be aware of my every move. I’m leery not only because I don’t want to lose my freedom but also because some of the rules — such as being in the house by sunset — are contrary to my survival instincts. 

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Goodbyes

My Mom, Frances

For me, she was the first person with the title of “mother” that ever made me feel as if I actually had one, had a mother. We had a long, complicated, and often difficult journey together and for the past year and a half, we have not been in each other’s lives for a variety of reasons. But I’ve never forgotten that she made me feel loveable and wanted and as if I deserved to be alive at a time when things could have gone very very wrong for me.

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Daily Write

A Super Ticklish Live Wire

I’ve known that anxiety was a foreign feeling to my wife for quite some time. I remember the incredulity I felt when she first told me. It was as if hearing that some people can hold their breath without dying or that there are people that never feel sad during the holidays. When the pandemic changed her experience with anxiety, my response was a confusing mixture of sadness that she was going through it, concern about how she would learn to cope with it, and the slightest bit of relief that perhaps now she would be more understanding of what I live with. I’m not proud of that last bit but who doesn’t want to be understood better?

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Longer Write

Day One of The After Times

Gwen and I walk into a bar. Wait behind the taped-off area for the bartender to be free. He greets us. By that point, my mask has started to feel like I’m sucking air through a sauna and I’ve grown nervous about being out in the world again. We order drinks and then I very smartly ask: Do you have menus? Bartender, on his way to grab said menus: No, we’re one of those restaurants…

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Daily Write

Awe and Wonder

Awe and wonder. The way that hearing birds chirping first thing in the morning feels like a thread connecting me to every ancestor I’ve never known but whose DNA is in my body. They knew birds, I’m certain of it.

And leaves. And rain and sunshine. Some of them knew love and what it was like to give life and to keep that life going long enough to grow into their own being with the next generation of us.

When I want to know the quiet of time before too much technology and too many people, nature lets me tap into that deep history.

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Daily Write

Finding My Way

In the book God in All Worlds, Lucinda Vardey writes “I believe we begin our search for meaning with doubt, pain, and a lot of questions” (3). In Buddhism, many of the teachings are about how to move beyond suffering. The people I grew up with turn to the Christian God when they are in pain, scared, confused.  For myself, the least authentic approach to Spirit is the path of pain and suffering. Prayer becomes…

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