Early Evening Thoughts ~ The One Last Ride ~

I’ve written about my suicide several times over the last few years, but one aspect that I didn’t cover was one that I really preferred to keep somewhat unknown.  It wasn’t an attempt to keep it secret (if you’ve followed this blog, you know me better than that…) as much as a problem in knowing how to handle this.  When all was said and done, the Dr. felt that I had possibly had 2-3 concussions one right after another … as a result, for several months afterward, I had a lot of difficulty with sentences, names and remembering certain things.  It was, in all honesty, one of the most terrifying times of my life.  I was afraid that I had possibly done severe brain damage (cutting off one’s oxygen supply and hacking one’s neck with an eXacto knife will have a tendency to do that sort of thing…)

At the least, I was afraid that I might have triggered Alzheimer’s and all that would entail.  Fortunately, none of that happened.  Gradually, words, memories and such returned and I seem to hold no further problems from it.

I was and am blessed with wonderful children, and friends who simply said to me – if it happens it happens and we’ll deal with it then.  In other words sir … quit borrowing trouble from the future, you’ve got enough to deal with right now …. and how right they were.

This story, which I understand like yesterday’s has been making the rounds for sometime now, made me cry.  Not only for her, but for the blessings that I have of people around me who know me and mercifully still love me! What would it be like without anyone? I really don’t care if and haven’t looked up to see if the story is true.  The story still makes me cry every time I read it …. [update: the story is true … I just looked it up]

A NYC Taxi driver writes:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next few hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired.Let’s go now’.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.

‘Nothing,’ I said

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Happy Birthday To Me ~ Early Evening Thoughts

This is my 2nd birthday I’ve celebrated on my blog! And I can certainly say, “It’s been a wild, wild year!” Who knew that I would lose almost everything (including my life) and come back with what amounts to a clean slate and a new beginning.

So, how did I celebrate my birthday this year? By giving myself permission to do absolutely NOTHING!!!

It was wonderful … I got calls from my kids and grandkids (I know, I’m just NOT old enough to have grandchildren. I had them when I was very, very young!). I also got some calls and cards from very special friends. Also, a forum that I am a part of posted birthday wishes to me!!

This weekend my daughter and son-in-law (and the two grandkids) and I are heading down to Galveston for two days of away and family time. It’s going to be wonderful, and … if all goes well, I will have my digital camera and will have pictures to show for it!!

So, Happy Birthday To Me!!! And thank heavens I’m around to celebrate it!!!

What Is Your Internal? ~ Early Evening Thoughts

Today was an interesting day. While not full of great insights, I did gain insight into some of the people I work with.

Ninety percent of who we are is internal, and only ten percent is outside of us.
— Anonymous

As often happens when I need to think through issues and complex problems, I turn to what others have written or said that links into what I’m dealing with. Hopefully, these will touch your lives as well.

Think of Honesty and Integrity as sisters. Honesty is truthful and is well respected because she lives truth in her heart and offers it to others
without compromise. Integrity believes in wholeness, goodness, and excellence, and is willing to serve as a praiseworthy example for others. Both are held in high regard. Practicing honesty and integrity is a two-fold gift. The first gift is seeing yourself as honest and having a high level of integrity. The second gift is offering your honesty and integrity to others. You become a respected person of integrity when you are unwilling to compromise your values.

I’ve done a number of posts about integrity and honesty, but these reached into where I was standing today ~ and helped to “sooth the savage beast” that seemed to want to tear up what I was thinking, believing about people and hoping about people.

To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.
–Douglas Adams

Integrity has no need of rules.
–Albert Camus

Honesty is the cornerstone of all success, without which confidence and ability to perform shall cease to exist.
–Mary Kay Ash

The greatest homage we can pay to truth is to use it.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

A life lived with integrity – even if it lacks the trappings of fame and fortune is a shining star in whose light others may follow in the years to come.
–Denis Waitley

The highest compact we can make with our fellow is, – ‘Let there be truth between us two forever more.’
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
–Thomas Jefferson

The glue that holds all relationships together — including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.
–Brian Tracy

Integrity is the first step to true greatness. Men love to praise, but are slow to practice it. To maintain it in high places costs self-denial; in all places it is liable to opposition, but its end is glorious, and the universe will yet do it homage.
–Charles Simmons

Our lives improve only when we take chances – and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.
–Walter Anderson

Integrity is not a conditional word. It doesn’t blow in the wind or change with the weather. It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look in there and see a man who won’t cheat, then you know he never will.
–John D. MacDonald

Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.
–Ayn Rand

He that loseth his honesty, has nothing else to lose.
–John Lyly

(Again, forgive the lack of images, I as still using a computer that makes it so I really can’t place images in the blog. Hopefully, Comcast will solve that problem shortly.)

–more tomorrow

Early Morning Thoughts ~ The Winter Of Discontent ~

Recently I had the opportunity to tell someone that I had been where they were…that I had experienced the moments they were dealing with. It was not an easy conversation, not an easy moment to talk about, or to relive. It pulled truth from me that I had not wanted to look at or even discuss. But, if it could make a difference in someone not making a final decision they didn’t have the privilege to make – my own mental anguish over telling my truth would be minuscule in the long run.

And actually, it helped me gain even more in my journey. It started me toward this blog, toward re-evaluating many things in and around my life.

I doubt that there is anyone who hasn’t reached a winter of life. In my case, it became more than just a winter – it became a dark night of the soul.
I felt as a tree stranded in the middle of absolutely nothing. As if there were no leaves of any part of my life left.
That I was
faced only with the glares of
my failures. That was all
that was left of what might have
been, could have been. I was
ready to actually make it Final.

But, just as in this picture, something
stirred within me. I didn’t realize it at
the time, but it was as a child’s swing on my tree. Awaiting a new ride and rider. At that time, I began to replant my garden of tomorrow and the garden of possibility!

I am grateful for this picture from my friend Chris in Pennsylvania. He had no idea what I had in mind for it, but graciously gave me permission to use it as I saw fit. It may NOT be used without his permission. While he is by far one of the sweetest internet friends I have,
he certainly could be provoked.

One kind word can warm three winter months.
– Japanese proverb

I read a large number of blog postings each day (I’m not going to tell you how many, or you’ll think I have no life what-so-ever!). And I am continually reminded just how important we as people – and even more so – as gay people are to each other. We get so caught up in the “gayness” of our lives, that sometimes we forget the “humanness” of it. When that happens we start to lose leaves off our tree, and the bareness begins to show through. And searching for something to fill that void, we begin to frantically search for anything that will cover it up, create a distraction or numb it for a time.

Green thoughts emerge from some deep source of stillness which the very fact of winter has released.
– Mirabel Osler

This has been a fairly long journey for me. Having lost almost all, to begin to gain things back. But, having been to the point of almost losing everything (and I do mean everything – including life-!) I value now what I am finding/creating inside. And no, there is nothing perfect as it goes along. I’m still an – how did that one blog put it? Oh yes, “elderly frights” (older man – thanks Troll At Sea). But having been “there” and back, I also know the value of being able to wrap my arms around someone (or have them do it to me) and say “It will be ok” in a way that the words carry the meaning they are supposed to.

In a way Winter is the real Spring – the time when the inner things happen, the resurgence of nature.
– Edna O’Brien

So – using the nursery rhyme – Oh Mary, Mary. Quite the fairy – how does YOUR garden grow?

More on this for another post….

Early Morning Thoughts ~ what about love?

In the wonderful musical “Oliver” there is an amazing tune: “Where is Love?” Where indeed. As I mentioned yesterday in early morning thoughts, I too am waiting. At my (.. ahem ..) age, being alone is sometimes not the best in the world. However, I have learned that it is better to be alone for the right reasons, than to be with someone for the wrong reasons. Will I know? How will I know love?

Does it fall from skies above?
Is it underneath the willow tree
That I’ve been dream of?

Will I ever know the sweet “hello”
That’s only meant for me?

Must I travel far and wide?
‘Til I am bedside the someone who
I can mean something to …

Several years ago I wrote the following. The story of how it came to me is not as important tonight as what I felt, and what resonated within me. I have shared this poem very rarely however, with tonight’s/today’s thoughts I felt it links to all that is here this morning.

You Looked

You looked at me and smiled.
I was unprepared.
You looked at me and spoke.
I was unprepared.
You looked at me and touched me.
I was unprepared.
And, for a moment, only a moment,
Unable to speak,
Unable to smile,
Unable to touch.
Then, I looked and smiled.
I looked and spoke.
I looked and touched.
In that moment,
that moment of happening,
I knew. I knew what I was worth.
I knew who I was.
I knew what I was.
And I was grateful.

Copyright wd

I Held a Jewel in My Fingers

I held a jewel in my fingers
And went to sleep
The day was warm, and winds were prosy
I said, “Twill keep”

I woke – and chide my honest fingers,
The Gem was gone
And now, an Amethyst remembrance
Is all I own.

Emily Dickinson

The Rainbow

. . . she saw the dun atmosphere over the blackened hills opposite, the dark blotches of houses, slate roofed and amorphous, the old church-tower standing up in hideous obsoleteness above raw new houses on the crest of the hill, the amorphous, brittle, hard edged new houses advancing from Beldover to meet the corrupt new houses from Lethley, the houses of Lethley advancing to mix with the houses of Hainor, a dry, brittle, terrible corruption spreading over the face of the land, and she was sick with nausea so deep that she perished as she sat.

And then, in the blowing clouds, she saw a band of faint iridescence colouring in faint colours a portion of the hill. And forgetting startled, she looked for the hovering colour and saw a rainbow forming itself. In one place it gleamed fiercely, and, her heart anguished with hope, she sought the shadow of iris where the bow should be.

Steadily the colour gathered, mysteriously, from nowhere, it took presence upon itself, there was a faint, vast rainbow. The arc bended and strengthened itself till it arched indomitable, making great architecture of light and colour and the space of heaven, its pedestals luminous in the corruption of new houses on the low hill, its arch the top of heaven.

And the rainbow stood on the earth. She knew that the sordid people who crept hard-scaled and separate on the face of the world’s corruption were living still, that the rainbow was arched in their blood and would quiver to life in their spirit, that they would cast off their horny covering of disintegration, that new, clean, naked bodies would issue to a new germination, to a new growth, rising to the light and the wind and the clean rain of heaven.

She saw in the rainbow the earth’s new architecture, the old, brittle corruption of houses and factories swept away, the world built up in a living fabric of Truth, fitting to the over-arching heaven.

D. H. Lawrence