The Memories are Thick Today

It’s only fitting that you would be on my mind this weekend.  There’s a HUGE movie premiere today – Star Wars: The Force Awakens – so it makes sense… Movies were, after all, the thing that brought us together, as we bonded over shared favorites and new recommendations during work at a video store.  As a matter of fact, the first several times we went anywhere outside of work revolved around movies.  Even years after we split up and went our separate ways, movies were a shared interest that would forever keep us friends.

So today, like so many other times over the past two years, a single thought keeps going through my head:  It isn’t fair that you aren’t here now.

That thought revisits often and some days it’s particularly difficult to swallow…  You would have been one of the first people I know to buy tickets for the new Star Wars film.  I felt like I should have been at the front of the line for the first showing at the best theater in town out of loyalty to your memory.   The first gift you ever gave me was your box set of the original Star Wars trilogy in “letterbox”, because I only had episode one.  We stood and had a heated discussion about the difference in widescreen ratios and which episode was the best, so it was a nerd connection from the beginning. I can still remember, in fact, standing in line years later each time the original three movies were re-released in the theaters (1997?), hoping to get the right seats in the audio “sweet spot“.   We did that for most big blockbuster releases for years, if possible, and had the process down to a science.  A huge portion of my movie memories involve you in some way, and I can’t walk into many theaters without smiling as I hear the phrase “buttery toots” run through my mind.  haha!

josh massey pensive copy

 

There are too many things you didn’t get to do before you were gone.  Too many new movies, like The Forces Awakens, that you didn’t get to see.  Moments you didn’t get to share.  Carter just got married, you know.. and you really should be around to celebrate.  Jen changed her Facebook profile picture to an older shot of the two of you in Hawaii recently and it’s lovely…  Speaking of Facebook, Kim posts new pictures of Alex every couple of weeks and you wouldn’t believe how much she’s grown!!  She’s so beautiful!  She misses you, I’m sure…  They all do.  They deserve you around.   And it makes me so angry sometimes that you’re not here.  One of those moments in life that seems so unjust.  So unfair.

It’s only fitting, I suppose, that you would be on my mind this weekend due to the premiere.  How was I to know, however, that you would also come to mind because I discovered your grandfather passed away yesterday… He was such a unique and wonderful person and one of your best friends.  I heard the news this morning and my heart broke a little because I always considered him family.  He was not the same when I saw him at your funeral and I’m glad that’s not the memory that comes to mind when I think of him.  Instead, I see him laughing at a joke the two of you are sharing over a family meal at your mother’s house.  I see him animated and engaged discussing a story or memory he is sharing.  I see the two of you hugging each other before making plans for your next get together.   He’s headed your way now, so I hope you’ve got a chessboard set up and ready to play…

What part of Ninja didn't you understand?

I don’t talk about you much anymore – our lives took different paths before you were gone and most  people I see didn’t know you well enough to chat about  memories of you.  You’re still on my mind, however, at random moments or when some odd thing reminds me of you.  Like a Danny Elfman song on any soundtrack new or old.  Or when a movie or video game comes out I know you would flip over.  Sometimes I’ll be looking at t-shirts and see an image or joke that is exactly your brand of humor… or hear a song that you used to repeat over and over just to  get it stuck in my head (“doo-doo, doo doo doo doo, mahna mahna”).   Thank you for those memories.  For those moments that are now more dear simply because they were so finite in nature.  Those things still occasionally have the power to make me sad, but mostly they make me smile.  Smile because I was so blessed to know you.  Smile because I know you lived every moment of every day to the fullest with no regrets.  Smile because you were one of the best friends I’ve ever had…

It will probably be a bit bittersweet waiting to file into the theater to see the new Star Wars movie, but I know I’ll be smiling when the phrase “buttery toots” go through my mind.   Thank you for that…  🙂
in memory of Josh and his wonderful GPa, Jimmie

 

~h

 

 

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Choose Kindness & Compassion This Season

Don't Confuse Bad Days for Weakness

Pain has a language all its own.  Pain and suffering mark time differently. Pain is voracious and consuming.  Pain comes in many shapes and forms.

Do you ever struggle with pain?  Not just the physical kind – although that can definitely stop you in your tracks!  I mean “pain” in general. Physical, mental, emotional… Each type is equally draining in a way.  Equally clarifying to an extent.  And each takes a toll on the person wearing it around day after day.

I’ve been thinking about suffering quite a bit today.  Marveling at the way it is able to barge in and command the attention of the most seasoned warrior.  Considering the capability it has to lay waste to all things bright and shining in a person’s life.  In any of its forms and afflictions, pain can potentially devour the stoutest heart…

The past few days have been an arduous test of inner strength and coping for me.  My pain scale is out of whack compared to the norm, I think, so I won’t try to assign it a number.  Let’s just say it has been ‘up there’.  It’s nothing new and certainly something I’m usually adept at dealing with, but now and then it manages to make me want to stop in my tracks and curl up on the floor.  That is typically the case when I’m in pain AND my empathy meter is in the red as I watch someone I care about suffering in their own private misery.

Having what is considered an “invisible illness“, I’m used to looking one way on the outside and feeling the complete opposite within.  It’s actually a challenge I accept daily to put on a brave face and downplay my pain or symptom flares.  Wearing that mask may not always be the best choice as it makes it more difficult for people to understand when the cracks start showing… They thought everything was fine – I seemed like I felt okay!  It also increases the ‘invisibility’ sometimes.

 

don't look sick

 

People are fearlessly and tirelessly inconsiderate when lacking in proper information and understanding.  There are a lot things that chronically ill people don’t want to hear – believe me, I’ve heard them all – but when you mask pain all the time, I guess it goes without saying that sometimes others won’t know anything at all about the private war being waged inside.

I’ve been in a lot of pain lately… although most people probably haven’t noticed anything amiss.  I prefer to keep it that way, for the most part, but I can’t help but want to reach out healing hands to all the other people I know in similar situations even when I know they’re trying to hide behind a carefully constructed façade of “FINE”.  I have loved ones struggling daily with physical ailments, psychological anguish, mental illness… They each go through bouts of misery and torment and I would offer them all a restorative potion if I could.  This post isn’t about that, however. It’s about something much smaller in the grand scheme of things.

This post is about the responsibility we each have to offer support and healing to those around us.

There is so much negativity and hate in the world.  Everyone you see is dealing with some sort of struggle that has probably taken root in the center of their lives – consuming, ravaging them from the inside out.  Just because you can’t see someone’s anguish does not mean that it is not there.  Just because you have struggles and trials of your own does not absolve you from being considerate of others marching along in their own grief and pain.

I’m not here to judge.  But please remember that not all disabilities are visible to the naked eye.  Not all pain is readily ascertained on a scale of 1 to 10…. And, unfortunately, not all hurts are healed with a kiss and a Band-Aid.  Although that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

My challenge to you, during this most festive and generous season of the year, is to reach out to someone who might need a friend.  Someone that might need a shoulder to cry on, a companion to sit with, a confidante to vent to, or a caring hand to carry their groceries to the car.  Take time to assess your own needs and care for yourself, absolutely!  But bless yourself further by taking a moment to be the light in someone else’s day, as well.  What may seem a small gift to you could be the greatest present of all in their eyes, and just because you are not aware of the impact of your actions doesn’t mean you shouldn’t choose them with care and compassion each day.

And if *you* are the one that has been beaten down to the point of lying curled up on the floor, please remember that people love you.  People care.  There are those that would give whatever they have to bring you joy and relief.  But most of all, remember that YOU are stronger than you give yourself credit for.  I don’t have to know you to say that I believe in you… and I hope you won’t give up the fight.

i can do it

 

~h