Monthly Archives: June 2009

Blogging 8 years

Today is the 8th anniversary of the day I first put pen to pixel and created this blog.  It’s been hosted at different locations from time to time, but it has been semi-continuously updated since that first Father’s Day in 2001.  My one-year hiatus last year will be the subject of a book about what I learned trying to lead the team out there in Las Vegas.  I want to reflect on what happened and my complicity in the outcome.

Since I’m mentioning my project for next year, let me point you to the site where I’ll post about it most often  so that you can follow me and be a part of the system I am using to hold myself accountable to achieve this objective.  The site is called Las Vegas MyOptic.  I believe the initial posts there will explain what I have in mind for the project.  The site is my way of keeping my head still in Las Vegas.

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Recurring events

Here’s an email I just sent to my son, Jeff.  I ultimately addressed it to both Jeff and Mike, but once I had written it, I wanted to share it with any of the rest of you who might care to read it.

Jeff,

You said this, “I apologize for my lack of contact as I have been having a problem dealing with Mama’s death. This is something I will work through in my own time I am sure.”

It is precisely because you are (or I had thought you may be) having problems with your mother’s death that I wanted to make contact with you.  That’s not the kind of thing you should (or should have to) work through by yourself.  It is when you are dealing with such an emotional issue that you need to reach out to those you know love you and who share your sorrow and pain.  I qualify on both counts.

Since I’m sitting here at the computer late at night and you’ve just written me, I’m guessing you are also sitting there at your computer late at night.  I’d be happy to share a late night conversation with you by phone if you want to call me.  But if you choose not to, then let’s talk tomorrow about a time when we can talk about what you are thinking and how you are feeling about your mother’s death.

One reason we share each other’s sorrows is to make our own burdens lighter. It isn’t just that I want to support you; it’s also that I believe if I can hold onto you to give you strength, it will give me strength too.   I love you, but now I have to love you twice as much to compensate for your mother’s absence.  Your supply of “knowing that you are loved” (didn’t even know you had a supply of that, did you?)  is sort of like gas in a car.  You need it refilled regularly and often, because if you go for long periods without stopping by a “filling station,” you could run out.  When you know you are loved, you can endure more, you can accomplish more and you can relax more and quit doing things to get others to prove to you that they really do love you.

We’ve all been under considerable stress with your mom’s illness.  We need to consciously acknowledge how that stress manifests itself in our lives.  We must be aware that when we feel the need to have that extra drink in an evening or when the need to commit some sexual indiscretion shows up or when we can only see the faults in everyone around us because we are under stress, we can recognize that for what it is — our plea to be comforted and an expression of our need for stress relief!

Life is full of learning experiences.  Carole’s death gives us a chance to learn to deal with loss.  You’ll have several such opportunities during your lifetime; it’s just the nature of things that you will.  Strive to get better each time you cross that bridge; it’s not a one-time event.

Some day you’ll get to deal with my death.  There is no escaping that.   Please resolve to learn from Carole’s death the lessons it has for you in how to deal with the loss of a loved one, and resolve to make sure that when you get to practice what you learned this time around the next time you have to go through this experience, you will use what you have learned to lessen the pain you experience and the pain you cause others because of how much you are hurting.

There is certainly no one right way to grieve.  But grief is a part of every life.  In many ways, it is also a beautiful thing, and though only God could possibly have the wisdom to understand this, a necessary thing.  One would never choose to experience it, but there is an honesty in the pain you feel when someone you love is gone that is purer than almost any other emotion you’ll ever experience.

Remember,  sometimes when you allow yourself to accept another’s attempt to help you, you are also helping that other person deal with his or her own feelings about the loss that both of you share.

Be honest about the pain you are experiencing and permit those who love you to try to help.  You’ll be doing them a world of good.  Suffering in silence only perpetuates the pain and causes pain to others because of your own unhappiness.

Damn!  Aren’t you glad you were born to such a wise father?  😉

Love,
Dad

PS  Because I need to say these same things to your brother, I’m going to copy him on this message.  I’m sure you’ll understand.  I love you both with all my heart!

If you’ll indulge me for a moment

This is a note I sent last night to an audience that’s introduced in the note itself.   I decided to make it my entry for this morning.

Friends,

I’d like to invite you, no let me make that “encourage you,” to view tonight’s entry at my personal blog, because I have made an important and unfortunately, a sad announcement there tonight.  I ask that you watch the video in the post as it will introduce you, better than I could do in any other way nor nearly as quickly, to my ex-wife Carole, who died last night of cancer.

Those of you getting this message are a diverse mixture, but by no means an exhaustive one nor even an adequate sampling, of ex-fellow employees and business contacts and, in the BCC, members of the inner group of my local Knoxville social circle.  I’d encourage any of you receiving a copy of this message to share it with anyone else that you feel would like to receive it.

I thank you for those tears you may shed in sympathy with our family tonight.  There is no greater gift nor any better way for you to comfort us than to allow yourself to feel our pain tonight.  Nothing more than that is required.

Thanks to Jimmy and Cathy, I’m “learning to dance in the rain” with a heart full of gratitude to you both, mostly for the gift of your friendship.  I read the little book you gave me when I was at the dentist’s office this past week.  Its message gives me strength and inspiration, and resolve.

Pete C. if, by some miracle of serendipity that Manpreet simply could not prevent, you actually receive your copy of this message (I had to guess at your address), please forward it to my fellow NA Ops managers.  I no longer have access to their address or I wouldn’t have asked it of you.  It seems that just as Carole slipped away from me before I knew it, so did my opportunity to say an adequate goodbye to that group before I myself became the “dearly departed.” 😉

Susie, maybe you could make sure, for Pete, that the group gets a copy, since I’m pretty sure you’ll get yours. Thanks.

David S., I hope you have access to all those now in (or formerly in) Indianapolis that might want to receive a copy of this message.  And Jim A., you have access to our mutual contacts on other continents who might want to receive this message.  Please do me the favor of sharing it with them.

I love you all.  You each contributed in a unique way to a wonderful year last year, for which I wish to thank you one and all.

And so with this message,  I bid you a fond adieu,

What I failed to say in that note but wish I had, was “Oh and please buy a copy of my book about the experience when it comes out next year.”

Note to self:  Remember to add that to my closing whenever I am speaking in public throughout this next year.

Carole passed away last night

After a long struggle with cancer, Carole left this life last night at 9:45 p.m. EDT.

Though I miss her already, I’m glad she has gone through that necessary door and is now past the pain.  For those of you who didn’t have the privilege and joy of knowing her personally or of seeing her very often, this 3 minute montage will suggest something of what we all loved so dearly about her.  She was a beautiful woman in every positive sense of the word.

The funeral will be held on Wednesday June 10 at the Living Mission Methodist Church at 7289 Belton Bridge Road in Lula, Ga.    The family will receive friends today (June 9) from 3 to 5 and from 7 to 9 at the McGahee-Griffin and Stewart Funeral Home (706 778-8668) at 175 VFW Post Road in Cornelia, GA.