Uncategorized

NOVEMBER 20, 2018


NOVEMBER 20, 2018

My brother, Michael Andrew Horowitz would have been 48 this year as I remember his life on this exact day he died 23 years ago. In two more years he will be gone the same amount of time he lived for. This is the strange thing about death and anniversaries, you start doing all kinds of weird math. Like the times when a client comes into my business and when asked their birthday, they give me the day along with the year. 1970, they say. I look up expecting to see a familiar face, but realize quickly that their face is someone who has had the luxury of aging. My brother’s face is still 25. I don’t know what he would have looked like if he was standing before me at 48.

The day my brother died 23 years ago today, my father had called me to let me know. It was early in the morning and I sobbed all day deciding a good use of tears would be to put together a photo album. Creation is a perfect task for grief. Writing, art, being in nature, all of this helps the grief come out of those dark crevices releasing it to move through and out. Out is relative, out is small drips from the kitchen faucet because you forgot to turn the handle off completely. Initially grief pours out uncontrollably like a tsunami, chaotic, screaming, disbelieving even though you knew it was coming. The pain is intense and in your face that first day, that first week, that first of all firsts. Birthdays, holidays, watching college graduations and marriages and births of babies. Knowing that life goes on, but just not for Michael. Not this lifetime anyway.

I occasionally see his friends and this is always a mixed bag of happiness and sadness. I love knowing people who knew him, who remembered him, it is a connection I both cherish and grieve. Often when I see a friend of his, a tear comes to my eye unexpectedly. I have learned to allow its presence in my eye, and its movement down my cheek with no worry that I am causing feelings of worry in the person staring back at me. After all, my brother died so many years ago. Enough with the crying already, I can hear my stoic grandmother saying to me a few months after he died. I will never stop crying for his loss in my life. This I know. This is what makes me human. This is what makes me remember his life so that my son knows of him, so that my little cousins know they had another cousin who is not here. Loss of someone who has aged in the normal progression of life is sad enough. I miss my father who despite the fact that he died too young, he died a life he loved living. Not everyone can say this. I miss my grandmother every day and she lived a full rich life dying at almost 93. Look at my grandfather who just turned 101. I will cry like a little baby when he finally goes. Sometimes a rich full life means a boatload of memories and this can make grief even more intense.

There is no time limit on grief. This I know for sure. Maybe it gets less intense over time, maybe the sobs turn into whimpers and the whimpers turn into sniffles, but they are always there. Frankly, I welcome them. I like their reminders because it connects my soul to my brother’s soul even for just a brief moment. I like to feel his presence around me and my tender heart. I know he can feel mine. Till we meet again, my dear brother. I miss you every day.




Uncategorized

DISHES IN THE SINK

DISHES IN THE SINK

After spending over a week writing a eulogy for an old family friend, then reading the eulogy at her very sad funeral filled with my past life like the movie, The Big Chill, I woke up yesterday feeling like I was hit by a mack truck. The part about eulogy writing is that it is a great distraction from the loss itself. I write and rewrite and add and subtract and read and reread. Then I do it all over again and read it aloud so I can be sure to know the piece enough to look up and look at the important people sitting in front of me with their grief in their laps. Eulogy writing is something that channels itself through me so much so that its calling usually wakes me up out of bed at three am to begin its unraveling down the winding writing path.

When I woke up yesterday, I just knew that I couldn’t work; I was drained, sad, emotional and exhausted. As my business is like a living breathing organism always there when I need it, it turned out to be an unusually slow day. So I asked my illustrious team of superchick employees if I could play hookie and they could take the helm. Because they are who they are, they said a resounding yes without a blink of an eye and I made my way back to my house to gather some beach items so I could spend a quiet day in mourning in my private sanctuary and alter called The Beach.

When I got to my house at seven am after spending the evening in Newport with Michael C after the funeral, I was surprised to see Quality Roofing in my driveway. I have been trying to get Kevin, roof Master with a capital M, to fix my roof since I first spotted the three leaks in my ceiling a few months ago. I was surely not going to send him away so after we bantered back and forth for a few moments, the literal roof started to come off, almost a cliché to the way I felt.

There are no coincidences, at least in my neat little world and sense of order of things, not that I necessarily believe the tagline so freely thrown around to solve everyone else’s problems, Everything Happens For A Reason. Fuck that. I can’t stand when people say these things to other people. I mean Fine. If you choose to believe this for yourself and the rambling road you find yourself on, believe away. My personal belief for me and my own personal life experience is that Everything Happens in the Divine Right Order. For some reason, this mantra always grounds and centers me in the worst of times and the best of times giving me prayer like peace and humility. However, I try not to smear and whitewash this personal belief system on others now that I sit in the seat on the other side of two close cancer calls. I am sure I was in the boxing ring of throwing out these one liners BC (before cancer) and I almost cringe at the comments and stupid cards I sent out not having a clue of what to say. Now, though, that I am the winner of the boxing match, I know better. As a matter of fact, I know better about a lot of reflections and life coming at me moments and this is the beautiful side of the aging process.

The other beautiful magical side of the aging process is the freedom of leaving dishes in the sink. I was as pretty much every woman I know programmed from an early age right along with making your bed in the morning not to leave dirty dishes in the sink. I am a bit of a rule breaker so I am not from the school of intense rule following that I never leave dishes in the sink. I actually do this, but my own neat little rule is not to leave so many that they can be seen when I walk into my kitchen. Thanks to the previous homeowners, I have one of those fabulous deep farmhouse stainless steel sinks so hiding the dishes is an easy feat for this busy chick. I don’t do it often, but when I do it usually means one of two things, I am just too chock filled with over booking myself and I literally don’t have the extra time, which is not too often but it does happen. The other reason is because I am in emotional overload and the permission I give myself to just leave the dishes in the sink, piled up like some college age kid is pure freedom. At least temporarily because the fact of the matter is that the dishes at some point need to get done and the longer they sit, the worse they get. Kind of like negative thoughts and sadness. There is the resting period, the need to sit on the couch and wallow, the need to blow off an otherwise planned day and grieve the loss and just feel sad, the soaking period, but at some point, the rolling up your sleeves and getting the scrub brush out has to take place. If it doesn’t the caked on, stuck on greasy mess you left is worse then it was the day before surely. For us women who are the resilient types, the get shit done women, we get this and we eventually sooner than later get off the couch and grab the SOS pads and start scrubbing. Sometimes we do this sooner than we should. Sometimes we need to allow the soaking for just one more day, just giving ourselves the freedom to walk away from the sink and take a breath of fresh air to buy our own bouquet of roses for our table.

The dishes do get done and for this the symbolism of the metaphor as it relates to grief and sadness is the lesson that always propels me to just get them done. Now. Not later. Later and sadness are not a good marriage. Grief cannot be put off, it has to be dealt with or it deals with you. For today when I woke up after leaving the dishes in the sink for two days along with pans and their covers on the counter around the sink, I knew it was time to just move on. People die. It is sad. Life is short and shorter for some, getting those dishes washed this morning reminds me that I am lucky to be alive to wash the dishes for another day. So I did. Mostly.


I love this plaque hanging in front of me when I wash the dishes. Given to me by my mother, there is a certain irony in it, but it makes me happy as I scrub away at the caked on pile.