Always chasing rainbows

“I’m always chasing rainbows, Watching clouds drifting by, My schemes are just like all my dreams, Ending in the sky. Some fellows look and find the sunshine; I always look and find the rain. Some fellows make a winning sometime, I never even make a gain, believe me, I’m always chasing rainbows, I’m watching for a little bluebird in vain.” Judy Garland

I keep thinking that one day it will all make sense. There has to be an equation, right? Some divine code, decipherable through the gathering of life experiences. One day I’ll be able to add up all the numbers, multiple all the sunrises, subtract all the sorrows, divide by all the joys and come up with either a positive or negative number. A blimp on graph. A baseline that makes complete sense.

No. I’m still at 0. Is that even a number? It’s more an inert integer where no matter how you manipulate it, the value remains untouched.

I wanna touch zero. I wanna add days to it, to prolong it’s life. I wanna rip it up into shreds and stomp all over the confetti of zeros at my feet. I wanna shove all the zeros down my throat until I choke on numerical madness and then feed the regurgitated remains to the pigeons. I wanna spread around zeros like an infectious disease until the epidemic puts people into a panic, demanding billions of dollars to develop a cure. The antivirus for keno-zero-phobia stocked on every pharmacy shelf.

I wanna hate zero. Blame the causality for every horrible, despicable, heart wrenching thing that ever happened on its inability to mean anything. I’d like to cast zero back into its dark abyss. Etch words on the box I opened warning others to beware of the curse that comes from playing with zero.

Oh what I’d give to be wrapped in the arms of 1. Cocooned in the embrace of 2. Play hide and go seek, laughter echoing through the trees, with 3. Swim laps in a pool of 4s. Skate down the street as rays of sun bounce off 5. But I can’t.

I can’t seem to escape zero. No matter where I bunker down, I look over and there zero is looking at me. Shadowing my footsteps, splashing in puddles, as we walk through the rain.

You start to wonder if zero is following you. Or are you chasing zero?


Say a Prayer for Me Tonight

“Say a prayer for me tonight. I’ll need every prayer that you can spare to get me by. Oh, say a prayer for me this evening. Bow your head and please, Stay on your knees tonight”—Gigi (sung by Betty Wand)

I have a scavenger’s personality: I’m all about the search, discover, and seize. I trophy my wall with conquests of things desired. Lately, instead of a quest of want, I’m on a quest of need.

There’s a distinct urgency to my prowl; an awareness that I’m wallowing in alack without limit. Eyes shift from face to face looking for traces of what I’m missing. I’m lost in the mist of my chase. The way I use to chase men who couldn’t love me, I now chase the ghost of the brother who left me. Was taken from me.

It’s weird to hear laughter, remembering the echo of my brother’s chuckle; I sprint toward the fading sound. I find myself longing to be hugged the way only my brother could, strong arms that wrapped around me, then a brace of his knees as he lifted me in the sky. I suffers substitutes for strong arms, sniffing for a similar scent, someone to joke with about a receding hairline, who’s hat collection never ceased to surprise me.

Because I can’t seem to discern these feelings, I spend a lot of time alone. Or working. Or both. I don’t know what I’m thinking about half the time, then all of a sudden the realness of death hits me, permeates, blasts of cold air engulf me in a bubble all my own. A realization that death is permanent and things will never go back to normal.

There is no normal, just a newly developed consistency. Foreign territory, foreign language, I have to make sense of this new land where I was deposited.

At every corner a reminder, a memory I never want to forget. It’s so easy as time passes to lose the moments you hold dear. Maybe that’s why I’m not sleeping; sleep defining a lapse of time, and elusive understanding that each time I lay down my head or close my eyes I grow farther from his death. Yet my dreams won’t let me forget. I relive the news, revisit the funeral home, reinvent the last goodbye.

I only hear brief sound bites of his voice. I only see snapshot images of his face. I hate how easy it is to let slip, yet how hard it is to stop the hurting.

His death shocked my system, tilted the axis of comprehension for my whole family. To say I’m grieving him is an understatement.

Wish you were here

“How I wish, how I wish you were here. We’re just two lost souls, Swimming in a fish bowl, Year after year, Running over the same old ground. And how we found, the same old fears. Wish you were here.”

I heard of another death this morning; blinking scripts announcing the passing of another too soon. Seems like the world is ailed by a personalized vendetta against life, a virus that keeps on affecting its environment.

Wonder how much a person can handle before the caulked cracks become permanent fissures.

Three things happen when you’re faced with death:

1. You ask the why and the how (constantly)—as if it will help you understand

I don’t think the brain is programmed to comprehend the magnitude of death. You start playing 20 questions with the ones closest to you; at the same time throwing 20 accusations at your Maker for disturbing your equilibrium. There’s never a solid answer. No firm footing. No solution. You’re continually left off-balance.

The Ping-Pong of phrases with question mark ends leave you more confused than when you first learned the news.

2. You’re called to action

When I learned of my brother’s hospitalization I immediately went to work. Making plans, making arrangements, making calls, making busy work to keep me moving. When Daddy told me of his death an hour later, the movement kept me from crying. Action keeps the grief at bay because you focus on what needs your immediate attention.

You can’t stop the moments of debilitation as a memory flashes through your fog of work. The breathless sensations as you tell someone else that death has visited your doorstep. The reminder that every upcoming holiday, event, celebration is tinged with sorrow, overshadowed by grief, intermingled with the ache of missing because that person who is supposed to be here… isn’t.

It takes you to a dark place as you have to rewrite the images of your future because it’s no longer how you have dreamed it.

3. You become reckless (or maybe it’s just me)

The realization that no matter how controlled, good, dutiful, prayerful of a life you live, something so earth shatteringly bad can creep in and disrupt your balance… you start not caring.

Grounded by rules and boundaries of what’s right, what’s pleasing, compounded by the greater good… Frankly I don’t give two flying hockey sticks about superintending my actions.

I border between a careless discord and adding more regulatory minutiae to my life. There’s no balance. Not sure if it’s a type of fear, but the idea that something so valuable and longstanding can be taken within finger snaps agitates an inner maniac.

Prison doors with the keys in the lock, silent cries turned into deafening shouts of “let loose”, “break free”. I don’t think being irresponsible of your personal welfare is part of the 7 stages of grief. Despair, loneliness, reflection… yes I understand these steps. A brash and foolhardy existence? Not so much… but it is a path I’m heading down, no blinders or speed bumps or road shoulders , just a slickly greased slope of rash behavior.

Readers: Have you ever experienced something in your life (death or otherwise) that has shaken your core? Can you identify with any of the three trapeze acts outlined above? Feel free to overshare in the comments.

Previous Older Entries