The Eagles Have Landed!

Glenn Frey

The loss of Glenn Frey shocked the world!

When I was very young, I rolled in to a local record store and bought ‘The Eagles Greatest Hits’ with a few bucks I saved selling secrets to the Jews.  It was a day that I remember very well, because it changed me forever.  (Formerly a chronic informer, I was changed anew when I began selling life secrets to the criminally insane.)

Anyway, the album became synonymous with my existence, shedding some light upon who I was and how I mattered in a very generic world.   Later on, Hotel California did the same for me.  Defining moments like those happen for every one us, the influences of which are either short-lived or provide the basis for us to carry on for the rest of our lifetimes.  Somewhere in between, a thread is spun, connecting us to a common ideal without us even knowing it.  Glenn Frey, as part of a very influential American rock band, became a soul-mate of mine for the rest of his life.  One day in January 2016, he left us all and a piece of my youth is gone forever with him.

Glenn Frey, the founding member of the Eagles was from Michigan, but somehow ended up in Southern California looking to make it big in the music business.  Boy, did he!  Renting a flat from Jackson Browne, Glenn learned how to write songs and eventually teamed up with a fellow from Texas by the name of Don Henley.  These two were destined to become cultural icons in the music industry for the next fifty years; making the world a better place with their memorable tunes in the process!  But when the reaper came calling for Glenn, we as fans were forced to revisit the ugly truth that a day will eventually come for us all, and we will cash in the chips that life deals us for a one way ticket into oblivion.  Sometimes even our heroes become casualties of untimely fate.

In the meantime, I sat stunned behind my desk after hearing the news of Glenn’s passing.  I took off my bunny ears and slippers, going for a lonely walk down destiny lane to think about the sudden gaping hole in my existence.  It was in this moment of self-imposed solitude, that I began to realize that certain people, by one measure of fate or another, become ‘treasures’ to mankind.  What is a ‘treasure’ to mankind?  As far as I can tell, it’s some significant contribution to humanity that causes worldwide happiness.  It certainly isn’t the opposite; a blight or pox upon everything that is good or wholesome in life, like my brother in law Odie!

I started wondering, when I finally spill my coffee for the last time, what will I leave behind besides a stain on the carpet and a very upset mater die?  The answer is: nothing.  I haven’t done anything with my life to define my legacy. Yes of course, I did run over my neighbors paper boy one summer with my car, receiving great merits of wholesale appreciation from the entire family for the deed, and yes I did thwart a robbery at gunpoint one afternoon when Nancy Sinatra tried to steal a pair of chocolate boots meant for walking from isle three, section A1.  (I tackled her right there in the aisle after thinking that her policy against Libertarians was not particularly flattering.)  Of course, I didn’t know what a Libertarian was and don’t give a tinkers damn either.  Maybe I just wanted to tackle the boots?  Anyway, these moments of accomplishment are nothing when compared to what Glenn Frey and his entourage accomplished upon the world’s stage.  It is a definite fact that millions of adoring Eagle fans refrain from flocking over to my house to pay ungodly sums of money to me for a spirited song on my lute!  Quite the opposite actually: there are times when my lute playing is akin to the lonesome wail of a Water Buffalo after a session in attendance with the Democrats!  Just last week, I tried to sing a song with it and received for my efforts, a shoe thrown at the back of my head by my cat ‘Fidel’, so too did the reverend Moses Whippleby stop by, eventually cracking the instrument over his knee, then handing me the pieces in inglorious, public testament.  No dear reader, I have not reserved any significant accolades for anything accomplished in my life, especially in music.  Hence, the difference between Glenn and I.

At the end of the day, the world has to thank Glenn Frey for his contributions to mankind, that he left us with a shimmering, sparkly legacy to remember him by.  So when our times come, what will we leave behind for others to remember us by?  Most of us just flush down the toilet the things we leave behind for mankind, which is certainly not worthy of merit at all!  So in terms of art, literature, entertainment or some other generous thing left behind for mankind to enjoy, let us think about our legacies and how they will define us once we leave it all behind.

In closing, and to further illustrate the many cultural gifts that Glenn left us, I record now for the sake of prosperity, a conversation that I had with Mr. Frey one night some time ago.  It is a very poignant appraisal of the man; a glimpse into his personal side that few are ever privileged to experience.

“Glenn, why did you fire Randy Meisner?”

“Because I got tired of his whining.  The fans wanted to hear him sing ‘Take It to the Limit’, and he refused.  Don and I begged him!  But he wouldn’t do it.  Pissed me off!”

“That’s all?  Just because he refused to sing a song?”

“Yup.  He didn’t think he could hit the high note at the end and flat out refused to do the encore.  Like I said, I begged him and he gave me and the rest of the band the proverbial finger.  So I said, ‘Screw this!  You’re fired!’, then went on-stage and did it myself.”

“Seems pretty harsh, Glenn.”

“Nah.  This had been going on for a long time.  It just reached a point where there was no going back.  Anyway, Don knew a guy named Timothy B. Schmidt.  The rest is history.”

“What about your relationship with Don Felder?”

“What is this, an interview?”


“Oh, well what about it?”

“Well you have to admit, he is one helluva guitar player, especially when he and Joe get together.  I think they make guitar solo heaven.  Why would you fire a guy like that?”

“Because he was never happy with his role in the band.  Never satisfied.  Everyone else seemed to be.  Not him.  One night he pushed me right off of a ledge, I think.  Seemed destined to happen.  I’m over it.”

“Yeah, but the band suffered for his loss.”

“It did?  Could have fooled me.”

“Glenn, that last album, ‘Long Road out of Eden?’, it was missing something.  An edge, I think.  Don Felder and Joe Walsh gave the band teeth, man.  That album was missing teeth!”

“It’s one of the best selling albums of all time!”

“Still missing teeth.  I think the album is one of the biggest selling albums of all time because it says, ‘Eagles’ on it.  You know, I’ve listened to it a few times and there are some real dogs on that album.”

“Yeah?  Well, you’re fired.”


“You’re fired.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean you need to leave.  I will not tolerate you criticizing ‘Long Road’.”

“But I was just…”

“Nope.  You’re fired.”

“But you don’t employ me!”

“Doesn’t matter.  Once you get fired by Glenn Frey, it’s over.  Now leave before I get Don over here and we beat you up.”

“But this is a phone interview!”

“No matter.  We’ll just reach right on through the phone, wrap our fingers around your neck and squeeze until the juices come out of your eyes.”

“Glenn, really I…”

“You’re fired.”

Dear reader, and so it goes, I was fired by Glenn Frey.  How many of you can say that you were fired by Glenn Frey?  I can now.  Perhaps that is the legacy that I will leave behind?

Now that he’s gone, I’ll still miss him.


Cecil Gets the Shaft.

Cecil Gets the Shaft

Walter Palmer is a coward.  He hunts wild, unsuspecting animals, killing them as trophies so that he might suggest to the world that he is somehow bigger than nature.  He endeavors to prove his enormity by mounting the heads of his kills on a wall inside his den so that he can gloat over them to his peers, ‘Look how big I am!’  Why is the very notion of this so overly barbaric now more than ever?

His money gives him the power to kill, to pay individuals exorbitant fees so that he might hunt in exotic places all around the globe is his fancy.  These trophy hunts are proclaimed to be legitimate, but when facts are examined, we find this man to be an exploiter of the law, a manipulator of decency and nature.

His weapon of choice is a bow and shaft.  He pierces his victims from afar, wounding them so that he can ruthlessly track them down and kill them with a rifle.  How macho is that? Why is this inhumanity to animals allowed?  Is this cruelty toward nature something that mankind feels he is entitled to?  Do we consider ourselves as human beings so much better than animals, to use this so-called past-time as justification for the entitlement?  Look at our history people.  By nature, we are incorrigible savages.  Just ask Cecil.

Perhaps Palmer is compensating for something else a little more discreet?  You might ask, ‘Why must this man exploit these animals?  What is he trying to prove?’  Obviously Dr. Palmer is quite wealthy.  His wealth gives him the ability to indulge his desires where others less fortunate cannot.  Is he really trying to justify his inhumane exploits as his preference of sport?  News flash Mr. Palmer, killing should not be a sport!  Killing an animal for food is the only justifiable measure that I can think of, but last I checked, you didn’t eat Cecil.  You just cut his head off and skinned him after letting him suffer for forty hours, allowing his raped carcass to fester underneath a heartless African sun.

Killing for sport is immoral, even as Mr. Palmer pays so much for the privilege.  In fact, the money makes the process even that more deplorable. People kill each other for dozens of reasons.  We prey upon our own, kill for pleasure, for business, as a means to amuse our sadistic selves.  In most cases, animals kill to sustain themselves, which is the necessary obligatory evil.  So why are we so entitled to think that we are better than the animals we hunt? Obviously Palmer is trying to compensate for something.  By ruthlessly killing a beautiful animal like Cecil, is he somehow proving himself a man amongst men?  Or is he trying to convince himself of something else?  Here’s a theory, maybe this Palmer man has a very small dick and killing animals helps him improve self image?  Maybe by ruthlessly hunting magnificent creatures for sport he is saying, ‘Look how big I am!’  Well, sorry to have to tell you, Mr. Palmer, but self proclaimed testament is weak, and wealth does not entitle you to an exception.

Let me suggest the following scenario; If Mr. Palmer feels so strongly that he has to prove and display his manliness, why not make it a fair fight?  On common ground, face the animal that you want to kill and kill it with your bare hands!  Do not apprise yourself of weapons more than what the animal has to defend itself.  If the animal has huge fangs and flesh ripping claws like Cecil, then you are allowed a dagger to even the field of chance.  Face him down like the savage you are and kill him.

‘But that’s not a fair fight!  A Lion has ten times the strength of a man!”

Well, who’s hunting who, Mr. Palmer?  Did Cecil covertly enter your neighborhood to hunt you when you were unaware?  Objection overruled!

Here it is on a platter:  taking Cecil unsuspecting from afar with a bow is just cowardly and unfair.  Think of it this way Mr. Palmer, ‘Perhaps you are walking to your car one night after a glorious dinner.  Your car awaits you in a dark parking lot, but as you arrive, you are suddenly assaulted by a desperate criminal.  He hides in the shadows until you are the most vulnerable, then jumps out and takes you when you least expect it.  Using stealth and surprise, he seeks to put you at a disadvantage, improving his leverage against you so that his chances of successfully robbing you are greater than your chances of escape.  He will kill you without a second thought if you don’t hand over your wallet.  Hands in the air and pleading for your life, you give him what he wants.  You know that as a victim, your survival depends upon your compliance with his demands.  If you do not cooperate, you may be killed.  Did Cecil have the opportunity to cooperate with you as you ruthlessly baited and stalked him from afar?  No.  You just wounded him with a shaft when he was unsuspecting, letting him suffer for almost two days before you finally shot him dead.  That is an unfair fight Mr. Palmer, proving that you are not as much a man as you think you are.  Maybe it’s that small dick of yours again.

In the worst case scenario, your assailant attacks you unsuspecting, puts a bullet in your head and leaves you dying on the ground without your wallet.  Some will say, ‘I never had the chance!’  Well, neither did Cecil.  What’s the difference?

God created animals for the enjoyment of man.  They are magnificent and interesting.  They teach us how to swim, how to fly, how to live in communities, and sometimes they even teach us how to love.  Given this, why would anyone want to kill such beauty for no other reason but to exaggerate a form of impure self indulgence?  If the difference is mankind’s capacity of brain, then I say it is also a detriment. We’re smart enough to make bombs and kill in mass vast populations of innocent people, we’re also smart enough to go to the moon, but wicked enough to mistreat women, the elderly, children and animals too.  If our brain’s truly separate us from the common animal, then it is also a detriment because in life, real happiness is achieved not by monetary status and self indulgence, but by giving and by loving and by having a spiritual connection with God.  In that sense, there truly is a difference between us and the animals, but that sense should be the factor that drives us to respect them and to admire their majesty.

We should not kill animals.  Not even for food if we can help it.  Dr. Palmer, as a result of poaching poor Cecil the Lion, is living now in the refuge of shadows.  He knows that he has infuriated masses around the globe, who are just now becoming aware of his infamous exploits, whose corresponding rage, if he isn’t very careful, might become a factor in causing his own demise. The lesson that you must learn, Dr. Palmer, is that you must not kill animals again for pleasure.  Move to the coast and go surfing instead, or sailing.  Find some yarn and a darning needle and knit yourself a sweater for when the seasons turn cold.  When you go outside and breathe fresh the air of a sweet morning, listen to the birds singing in trees.  Appreciate life.  Everyone, even the animals are entitled to live it.  It is nature.  A gift from God.  We must enjoy and praise it, not kill it.


Monster Quest

Bigfoot Trucking

Monsters.  Everybody loves ’em!  Everybody wants to have an unexplainable experience!  Gets you on the news.  Makes you a celebrity.   People will go to great lengths to insist that they have experienced something never before seen, even at the expense of their own credibility.

The sobering thing about Monster sightings is that conjuring up the fantastically impossible becomes reality over time to the teller.  Simply put, a story told long enough and with great conviction eventually creates reality from myth.  People can be very sincere in the process.  This is why we must be so careful with Monster stories.  They’re so fascinating.  You just want them to exist, and the better the story, the greater yearning you have for the belief in their existence.

A&E developed a television series called ‘Monster Quest’, which basically took two seasons of tall tales, evoked sketchy science as a collaborative and reached for reality despite an obvious overwhelming premise of episodic fantasy.  All to stroke the fires of those desperate for answers to the mysterious.  Thanks, A&E!  Anything for a paycheck from the network, right?

Do I believe that there are unknown creatures existing in the world as yet undiscovered?  The answer is yes.  For instance, it does not go outside the realm of reason to believe in Giant Squid.  Just ask battle scarred Sperm Whales who dive deep into the abyss to wage epic wars with such multi-tentacled creatures.  Battle scars on the head and body of Sperm Whales are pretty good evidence that something big is down there.  There is nothing mysterious about Giant Squid.  They’ve existed forever and will continue to do so until mankind pollutes the deep oceans badly enough to kill everything in ’em all.

Bigfoot.  Does Bigfoot, the infamous ape-man of Indian legend exist?  Sad to say but no, I don’t think so.  To say that there is a huge bi-pedal primate in various mountainous regions yet undiscovered is complete outlandish fantasy.  To think that no solid evidence of one ever discovered after all of the hard work to uncover them is proof that they do not exist.  If they did exist, you would think that someone would have stumbled upon the remains of a dead one by now.  They do die don’t they?  But no.  These things are figments of our fanciful imaginations, Indian incarnations steeped in ceremonial peyote induced event.  We all want them to be real…but they just aren’t.

The Megalodon.  Jaws times ten.  There is proof that this giant prehistoric, deep sea predator existed at one time, but that was long ago and if there was truly a live one in the elements today, we would have already had the grave misfortune of discovering it by now.  Such Monsters of the deep existed and we have the fossil evidence to prove it.  Fast forward to today.  No more live Megalodon’s, thank God.

What about the Plesiosaur?  Lake Champlain in the United States and Nessie of Lock Ness in Scotland are two of the most famous places on earth for tall tales told of these Monsters.  But under scientific scrutiny and mass researching, these mythological beasts have turned out to be prime-time no-shows.  Nonetheless, great effort has been exhausted to prove their existence always to disappointed failure.  Somewhere along the line, a fanciful tale was conjured up by a good story teller, and it took off with such feverish repute that the perpetuated myth had no choice but to live on.  In the meantime, fanciful tales of Plesiosaurs in Lakes and Lochs around the globe have instead, become good revenue generators.  In itself, the money is enough reason to carry on the fallacy, at least until the public get tired of the conspiracy.  Truthfully spoken, I was very disappointed that these prehistoric creatures do not exist.  I want them to, giving them the benefit of my doubt every time in hopeful yearning.  But years roll on and there is still no proof of their existence.  It just isn’t happening folks.

Here is an example of outlandish story-telling.  The following tale is proof of an outrageously overbearing Monster sighting, making prolifically clear why some people think they see Monsterous phenomenon when rational explanations are at the same time, effectively clear.

It was the summer of ’79 in Mono Lake, California.  Gerber Wolfenstein and family were enjoying an extended vacation at the lake to ‘let off some steam after the stress of an ugly Mother-In-Law’s visit.’  One morning lakeside, Mr. Wolfenstein saw something that would trouble him in nightmares forever.  Shortly after the sighting, he stormed into the local Sheriff’s station in rather profound hysterics.  After Deputy Owen Figge settled the frazzled man down with a polo mallet, Wolfenstein was given a moment to explain his hysteria.  The story goes as follows;

‘I was sharing a tuna sandwich with my son on the beach around 12:00 noon.  All was very regular.  It was a clear blue sky save for the thunder clouds and lightening, and after a long swim in the lake, I felt entitled to the sandwich, so after threatening the boy to give up the lunch cooler (he was sitting on it) with a piece of broken driftwood, I delved in and retrieved said lunch with sinister aplomb.  A short time later, my son asked for a bite.  Obviously I took offense at this and slapped him on the back of the head with a travelers magazine, but he persisted and I was forced to relent.

‘About ten minutes later, an abomination of nature suddenly emerged from behind a rock up the beach, striding toward the water’s edge.  My mouth dropped open!  It was huge and hairy, walking upright and headed straight for the water where my wife and daughter were playing.  Absorbed in their frolicking, they had not yet noticed the creature, but I did and froze like my brother-in-laws bank accounts.  I still can’t believe I saw what I saw!  Thinking quickly, I realized that my wife packed a polaroid camera in her bag, so I snatched it out and took the following successive pictures.  Thankfully for my wife and daughter, the beast found no interest in them and headed off down the beach without further event.’

Wolfenstein handed the polaroid’s over to Deputy Figge.  Perusing the polaroids for a moment, the Deputy appeared perplexed saying, “Mr. Wolfenstein, I don’t see a Monster in these pictures.”

“Whaddya mean?  It’s right there!  You some kind of nut or something???”

“Yeah?” humored Figge.  Fanning the polaroids out across the table top where they were sitting, the Deputy patiently asked, “Show me.  Where is your Monster?”

“Can’t you see it?” replied an adamant Wolfenstein. “God man, it’s so obvious and gross!”

Examining the polaroid’s carefully, Deputy Figge could see nothing besides Fat Boy Olaf Noodleman striding across the beach, his swollen belly hanging low and ample man boobs bouncing with each long stride.  The photograph was hard to stomach, but there was nothing else in the photos to suggest evidence of a Monster sighting.

“These are just pictures of Olaf Noodleman!” replied the Deputy. Olaf was a community regular in Mono Lake, whose escapades at the fast food drive in’s throughout town merited historic reference.  “Olaf is just fat!  He’s not a Monster, Mr. Wolfenstein!”

Gerber perused the photograph’s carefully, sweat rolling nervously down from his brow.  After a moment he said with a slightly less hysterical voice, “Well, as good taste goes, the fat boy is monstrous at epic proportions!”

Wolfenstein was then shown the door and outside onto the curb head first.

Still, there are other stories more mysterious.

Mr. Ralphy Scupperman and family were enjoying time together after his ten year stint at the Happy Acres Sanitarium in Brussels.  They were on vacation together at the edge of the famous Loch Ness in Scotland camping.  Asleep, Mr. Scupperman was wakened one night by a very strange sound coming from the water’s edge.  Carefully coming out of his tent with his trusty flash light, he crossed the camp site clad only in bunny shoes and bikini briefs.  Poised there at the edge of the water in the twilight, Mr. Scupperman scanned the lake with his flash light, but saw nothing out of the ordinary (with the exception of two large lake gulls singing ‘I Never Promised you a Rose Garden’ about fifty yards from shore.)  Just about the time when he was ready to retreat back to his tent, a commotion in the weeds down the beach snapped him to attention.  There was a rustling behind a large rock and as he stealthily approached, he realized that his subscription to Real People Magazine had expired.  Casting his troubles aside, he pointed his flashlight in the direction of the rock.  As the beam divided darkness and shadow, he suddenly gasped at the sight of something huge doing battle with a small shell-duck in the reeds just beyond the rock.

‘The thrashing and snarling, one can never forget such sounds.’ recanted Scupperman later. ‘It sounded like Republicans, really.  Anyway, the shell-duck had the large long-necked beast in a head lock and was giving it a noogie when my light exposed the entire scene.  They paused in the glare and it was then that I had a good look at the creature.  It had a small head, long neck and huge reptilian body, much like my brother Izzy.  I cowered when I realized what I was looking at.  Seemingly embarrassed, the two battle doers separated, whistling like nothing out of the ordinary was happening.  The shell-duck slipped ashore into some reeds, but the unknown beast turned back into the black Loch and quickly disappeared beneath shimmering moonlit waters.  Needless to say, I went back to my tent, but sleep I would not find for the rest of the night.’

Some time later, Scupperman was re-admitted into the sanitarium for pretending to be relevant, like the Fonz, doggedly refusing to recant his story at Loch Ness.  However, upon deeper investigation, it was realized that Scupperman had dreamt the entire episode, that he had never even been to Loch Ness and his family was a series of small Oreo cookies that he had stolen from the cafeteria ward earlier that day.  Apparently Oreo cookies without milk at too late an hour were too much for Mr. Scupperman’s delicate digestive constitution.

“I like Oreo cookies,” he explained later when cross-examined by authorities.  Desperate for a story however, the authorities published his account in a local news tabloid anyway and the tale went viral, causing world wide hysteria.

“It’s good to be a famous for something,” recanted Publishing Author Meeps Grable.  “It was a slow week, so sue me.”




Sometimes  it takes a long time to figure out that something is wrong with you.  The comprehension of things said by people very close finally dawn definitively clear one day and you realize something about yourself.  Attachment disorder is a social disorder.  You won’t be alone if you don’t know what it is.  I’ll try to explain how it happens.

A person with attachment disorder wants to be close to the people that mean the most to him/her.  Any rational, non-psychopath desires to love and be loved.  There is no secret there.  It’s a sobering thing to finally realize, but when the comprehension becomes distinct, the person with attachment disorder is forced to face something about himself/herself that may be ugly.  To those brave enough to seek entry into his/her circle, hazard is poised and ready to pounce at the door.

It has something to do with the fear of loss; if another individual gets too close, the fear is that person may abandon you.  Not consciously willing to take the risk, those with attachment disorder defend themselves against loss by allowing only certain access before pushing back away; an autonomous defense mechanism designed to protect against hurt.  Not until just recently was it realized how this disorder affected people, and only because of those closest to such individuals might they even be aware of it.  What might be the cause of such wholesale dysfunction?

My Story:

I was about to turn five.  My family and I were on vacation in Lake Tahoe.  We went to the beach to spend the day and little did I know then that said day was going to mark me for the rest of my life.

Mom was up the beach sunning herself.  I don’t remember where Dad or my brothers were.  ‘Duke’, our full breed German Shepard and the object of my mother’s great fancy were together up the beach.  Trying to play with her as she reclined, he must have jumped on her.  I didn’t see it happen.  When I turned to look back, a group of strangers were hovering over my mother on the sand.  It seems that she couldn’t catch her breath.  Lifeguards came and shortly thereafter called the ambulance.  A little while later they brought a stretcher onto the sand and lifted my mother onto it.  My Dad went with the ambulance as they rushed her to the local hospital.  Meanwhile, the three of us boys had to remain behind with a nice couple who promised to follow shortly.   Suffice it to say for a little boy of almost five years the entire episode was a blur.  I didn’t know what was happening.  I  didn’t understand.

We waited in the hospital for hours.  Doctors assigned to my mother’s case determined that she was suffering from an acute gall bladder attack.  Immediate surgery was recommended and agreed to.  In 1967, such surgery was a major thing.  Not like it is today.  Today they go in arthroscopically and you walk out the next day.  Back in ’67, they cut you wide open and you’re laid up for weeks.  Understandably so, such evasive surgery requires massive amounts of transfused blood.  In the aftermath of this case, the doctors proclaimed the operation a success.  Stitching her up like a football, they wheeled her into a recovery room.  Meanwhile, my two brothers and I continued to wait.

Unfortunately Mom didn’t seem to be getting better.  It was about a week after the surgery, so concerned doctors decided to take her back into the operating room, to open her up to see what was causing her complications.  Once they did, they quickly closed her up again.  Her internal organs had died.  They were gangrene.

What happened???  Was it some kind of weird infection that caused her internal organs to die?  Was it the transfused blood?  Had the hospital errantly given her the wrong type of blood causing internal organ rejection?  It didn’t matter anymore.  They gave her one week to live.  But they didn’t know my Mother.  She was a fighter.  She didn’t want to go.  She had three young boys.  How could she leave them behind?  She was only thirty two years old!

A nurse came to get me one day.  I was in the waiting room.  She took me by the hand and led me down a long corridor.  I remember that the corridor was white, generic looking.  The faces passing by were strangers, the smiles kind but counterfeit.  Everything was so anonymous, so blanched.  When she led me into the room at the far end of the hallway, there were a new set of faces all around, this time familiar.  My grandparents.  My brothers.  My father.  They divided before me as I was led in still clutching the nurses hand.  Everyone was crying or had already cried out.  No more tears left.  No sound, just the shuffle of little feet against blanched floor tiles.

The bed seemed so high, the top of it came up to about my chest.  Mom was laying atop it riddled with hoses and probes.  Lines were in her nose and coming out of her mouth, IV’s attached to her arms lay at her side.  Her eyes were closed.  She looked like she had been in a fight against impossible odds and was losing.

My grandmother eased me up beside the bed.  When I looked up, her eyes were red and blood-shot, filled with dreaded inevitability.  I didn’t understand.  What was happening to my Mother?  Why was Grandma looking so sad?

‘Say something to your mother,’ she urged while those surrounding quietly wept.  But I didn’t know what to say.  What does a little boy say to his mother when she is in such a dire way?  The only thing that I knew for certain was everything in my little world was wrong, that I did not understand it.  My life was changing.  Something was being taken away from me that would leave a wound in my soul for the rest of my life, that would never, ever heal.

My Mother’s eyes cracked open.  She must have sensed that I was there.  She didn’t turn her head to look at me.  She couldn’t, but I saw her eyes.  They moved to look at me and I saw a tear well up at the corner of her eye.  I was her baby.  She didn’t want to go.  Not knowing what else to do, I smiled like a moron and said, ‘Hi, mom.’

There were so many hoses down her throat, even if she wanted to reply, she couldn’t.  She lifted her arm with wires trailing behind, gesturing with a feeble flip of wrist, ‘Take him away,’  It was a simple gesture, not meant to be cruel.  It was more like facing the brutality of the situation, that she was dying and there was no hope left for her to remain with her boys.  Furthermore, I know now that she didn’t want me to remember her like that.  She couldn’t talk to me.  What else could she do?

Taken softly by the shoulders, I was led away, back to the waiting room.  I never saw my Mother again.  Not even in death.  I guess my family didn’t want to damage me with the sight of her laid out in a cold coffin.  They were right to protect me from that vision because I would never have understood the corresponding nightmares.

My older brothers went to the funeral.  I didn’t.  I stayed with friends while it all went down.  Even after it was over and the wounds subconsciously received, I didn’t know what had happened to her, nor did I know what had happened to me.

My mother was the rudder that set the course for our little family.  Without her we were destined to drift and fall apart.  In such a crisis, other families might pull together, but ours didn’t.  The fractures were far more than what we were capable to handle.

My grandmother challenged Dad for custody of us boys after Mom was gone.  There was a court battle, the outcome of which eventually saw our father let us go.  I’m not sure if he had the heart to fight on for his boys.  With my Mother gone, he was broken and lost.  He was not a fighter like Mom.  He eventually moved away and I didn’t hear or see from him again for fifteen years.  For whatever reason, I resent him for abandoning us.  It was a pathetic, weak thing to do.  He had his reasons that can fill an entirely different story, but none were worth the weight of a thimble when it came to letting his boys go.  Ultimately he had nothing to do with the years of our youth, betraying us to circumstances for which he allowed his angst to overcome him.  Still, I feel sorry for him.  At least the years have given me that.  Anyway, a father is someone you should look up to, not be ashamed of.  Forgiveness?  I forgive him.  Reality is that he probably made the right decision for us, but the damages were already done.

My oldest brother was a brother to me up until the day my grandmother died.  Once she was gone, it gave him license to become himself.  Instead of a brother, he became a cold, heartless person under the assumption of being entitled by some ridiculous rite of first born.  He was controlling and cruel.  Sometimes I think that had I kowtowed to his every whim, that I might have gained his tolerance, that he might have accepted me as his footstool.  But it was not in my nature to be his footstool and I think he resented me for it; was jealous of my accomplishments made without him.  I didn’t ask to be at odds with him.  Truly without my mother’s influence, we were destined to become lost, obscure people.  Strangers.  Worse than strangers.  Had my mother been alive, she would have never allowed him to treat me the way he did.  Still, I tried to reconcile with him, but there was no going against his nature.  Crash and burn.

My other brother became an island unto himself.  Of us all, I think the damages for my mother’s loss were inflicted upon him the worst.  He was never married.  Never had a family of his own.  Never learned what it was like to be tolerant for somebody else’s short-comings.  He nurtured self-righteous indignation against more than me, but seemingly against the rest of humanity and everything that he became.  He eats bitterness sprinkled with self-righteous indignation for breakfast every morning; relating more to his dog than another person.  His tongue spears you…wounds you in unforgiving ways.  Selfishness and impatience rule him and he might not even know it.  There is a reason why he is alone to this date.  I am afraid that he might be that way until the end.  In the end, I can’t be close to him.  I’ve tried.  He is an island surrounded by waters that cannot be navigated, a victim of tragic loss just as myself, but perhaps he has bled the most.

I never wanted to be so isolated, but I know that I am, especially as the years advance.  A man should be close to his family, to his wife and children, to his brothers.  I’m not.  It’s not the way I want it.  I suspect the wounds inflicted upon me by the loss of so much have played a part in my being a castaway of sorts.  When I look in the mirror, I see a stranger looking back at me.  I don’t recognize the face, but I do recognize the faults, for which I bare many.  I’m not sure if I can fix them.

I try not to fail my children, but often do.  My wife is a good person inside and out, but I routinely seem to fail her.  I try not to damage everything that is close to me.

If Mom was alive, I might cringe at the thought of her knowing what we as her children have become.  I think that she would be very broken-hearted if she knew how badly we as her family crashed and burned.

Attachment disorder comes from the going away of many things in a person’s life.  The loss of a mother at a very impressionable, young age.  You can’t lose more than that.  The older I get, the more I understand it.  The loss of my father and brothers.  These things are so painful.  I can’t keep things too close for fear of losing again.

What would life have been like if my mother had been around to guide and nurture all of us?  Would we be less lost?  Probably.

Strong individuals survive.  In this world damages are inevitable.  But how do we manage the wounds?  What we do to manage them becomes our legacy. Sometimes the art of love takes a lifetime to learn.

No Merit Badges Awarded for any of us.