I haven’t written much lately. Frankly, I haven’t had a lot to say. But the other day, I was in a weird funk; something I’ve written about before but has weighed heavily on my mind:
I turned 41 about a-week-and-a-half ago. I lost The Old Man two-and-a-half-months ago. Needless to say, it has me thinking about my own mortality. A LOT lately.
I am The Human Bomb.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that I am the World War II era comic book character, or his modern day successor. But like Captain Picard says in “Star Trek: Generations” I’ve come to realize that I most likely have fewer days ahead of me than I have behind me. And that sucks.
The Old Man was 67 when he died. That means if I live no longer than he did, I have about 26 years left on this Earth. That scares the hell out of me.
I’m not dying or anything. Hell, I’m not even sick. I feel better than I have in a long time. Aside from the time I was working out a couple years ago, I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt in my life. The truth is, I feel like I’m just getting started. Divorce is the great reset in 21st century American society and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. i want A LOT more than 26 more years with The Auteur and the family that we’re building together. There’s just so much I still want to do in this world.
I’m reluctant to use the expression “mid-life crisis”. I’m not about to get a sports car. I’m sure as Hell not about to leave my family. But maybe it’s time I start on my Bucket List and crossing things off of it.
Opening Day is something like a holiday in Detroit – as I’m sure it is in many, if not most, Major League cities. Over the last 2 decades, it has become something of a tradition in my family as well. Back in 1998 (or was it 99?) My Dad started purchasing a partial season ticket package for the Detroit Tigers.
For the Tigers, as I assume it is with other teams, even the 21 game partial season ticket packages have included tickets to Opening Day. So every year, either The Old Man, Phred, LeRoy, myself – all of us and/or our significant others have attended every Opening Day since. In fact, when I moved Down South during My Previous Life, I told my parents”If I only make it home twice per year, it will be for Christmas and Opening Day”. During my 8 years there, I probably made it home for as many Opening Days as I did Christmases.
At the risk of sounding melodramatic, baseball is the great unifier in my family. My brother, sister and I (and to some extent, my father before his passing) don’t have a whole lot in common. We don’t all agree on politics and religion is basically a taboo subject among us. But baseball – Detroit Tiger baseball more specifically – is something we all enjoy. Its one of the few things we all have in common and we all enjoy.
Last year was the last Opening Day my father ever saw. I am happy to no end that I was able to be there with him. I am all-the-happier still that The Auteur was able to be there with me and experience Opening Day. Obviously, tomorrow will have a much different feel. It will be the first Opening Day without The Old Man. It may be the last Opening Day I attend for some time. My siblings and I haven;t discussed whether or not we’ll keep getting season tickets for the Tigers beyond this year. This could be the end of a tradition, in more ways than one.
This is something that a fellow blogger whom I follow wrote. I thought it was especially relevant to me, given what’s going on – both with my relationship with The Kid and the recent passing of The Old Man.
I didn’t feel “the hole” with The Old Man; rather, I want to be sure that The Kid never feels it with me.
A valuable lesson in checking your e-mail on a timely basis:
This past Sunday I opened an e-mail from Jabba explaining that her dad had died that Friday night.
It seemed both crazy and not at all unexpected. He’s had health issues for some time. I also know that the last few times I asked Jabba how he was doing, her response was “not good” though she never really elaborated. I suppose I should have expected such curt responses from her. After all, we are divorced; but I was always legitimately concerned with her father’s welfare. I wonder if I’ll ever get used to the fact that I am now at the age where my parent’s generation – The Baby Boomers – are slowly beginning to die off and we, the children of the Baby Boomers – Generation X if you will – are inheriting the Earth.
Jabba’s Dad was always very good to me; regardless if how bizarre her mother got at times. Even after Jabba and I split up he was very friendly with me when I was in SC dropping The Kid off at their house. During my previous life, I even got to the point where I began to address her parents as Mom & Dad; so it was a little weird when Jabba and I initially split up and I began to call him by his first name.
As I always tend to do when someone I know dies, Jabba’s Dad’s death has me thinking of mortality: mine, my parents, The Auteur, even our kids. Life is too short and I often feel like I’ve been just spinning my tires. I’m 40 years old and what do I really have to show for myself? I know, it often takes years for people to rebuild their lives following a divorce; but for me it feels like the same old problems in my life. Something, a lot of things, need to change.
I really worry about how The Kid is taking all of this. He’s holding up pretty well, from everything I’ve seen and heard. This is probably the first death of a real close loved one he’s dealt with. Jabba’s dad lived with them for almost two years after her and I split. That’s got to affect him more than we realize. Jabba’s mother died a few years ago, but he was way too young to remember that. The sights and sensations of a funeral may stay with him for a long time. I wish I had the means to be there for him tomorrow. Even if I could, I’m not sure how appropriate it would be for me to be there.
The funeral is tomorrow, so Jabba and The Kid are in town as Jabba’s dad is being buried in his hometown here in Michigan. The Kid and I got together for a few hours yesterday. Though the reasoning behind The Kid’s visit made me sad, I was so happy to see him yesterday. We played at an indoor playground called The Treehouse. It was the kind of pure unadulterated fun that I desperately needed right now. I’m especially happy to say that he’s still small enough that I can life him up and put him on my shoulders. I know that sounds corny, but I want him to remain small for as long as possible. I already miss far too much of his everyday life for my taste. Saying goodbye to him was, of course, sad. I hated to see him go. I know he hated saying goodbye to me too.
I miss him more than I realized. I miss doing everyday stuff with him: playing, hearing about his school day, meeting his friends. I have to find a way to visit with him this summer. I’m not sure where we’ll stay or for how long, or how I’m going to fund such a venture, but I have to find a way to make it happen. The truth is, I’m not involved enough in his life. I have to change that. I have to force that change if necessary.
There’s a sign in the classroom that I’m subbing in today that reads “Conflict Facilitates Change”. That’s some food for thought today. We’re watching a clip from “America: The Story of Us” covering the start of the Great Depression. The overriding theme of this segment is the American “Can Do” attitude and our ability to persevere through adversity; again, more food for thought.
Maybe Shirley Manson said it best when she sang “the trick is to keep breathing.”
Why, may not that be the skull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddities now, his quillities, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks?
(Hamlet, 5.1.97), Hamlet to Horatio
Friday, I finally heard back from The Kid’s “counselor” whom I shall call The Headshrinker – no disrespect to psychologists intended. I told him the situation involving the Kid, Jabba and my thoughts on it. He told me straight-up that The Kid’s name did not ring a bell. He said that that could be a good thing or a bad thing. He wasn’t in his office at the time, and said that he had his office people double-checking his records to see if The Kid had, in fact been in to see him. He also promised that he would be back in touch with me , whatever he finds out.
To be honest, I was amazed he discussed as much with me as openly as he did. I half-expected him to tell me that he had to verify my identity; or that he had to talk to Jabba before he could say anything to me. I was a little taken aback when he described his experiences with that which I’m convinced has happened here: that Jabba is making this whole thing up and that The Kid has never been in to see him; or The Kid has been in to see the Headshrinker only because Jabba put him up to it.
Maybe I’m looking to into the conversation, but I feel like I gleaned a whole lot from very little factual information. My gut tells me that this guy hasn’t even seen The Kid. When he was running through the different reasons/scenarios as to why he might not remember the Kid’s name, it felt like he was trying to tell me something without actually saying it.
Please don’t misunderstand me: my worst fear is, of course that The Kid did in fact say that the he wishes he was dead / wants to kill himself. But again, I do not believe it. Nothing I’ve seen or head thus far has me suggested to me that Jabba is telling the truth.
This wasn’t the only big news of the last few days. Monday I decided to start making some phone calls, in the event that I have to put together a custody case. I called a few lawyers here and was told I would need to talk to a lawyer in South Carolina, as my divorce took place there – unless I can get the case moved here – which would probably be next-to-impossible.
I decided to call Greenie’s office – to see if they would send a letter to my ex-landlord as I’m still on the lease for the house Jabba and The Kid live in. The paralegal informs me that since our lease was only for one year, I’m basically “in the clear”. When i asked her to have Greenie write a letter to my landlord, informing them that I’ve been out of the house for 18 months, she informs me that Greenie died last week.
I was stunned, in that way that people are when they hear something come out of left field like that. Instinctively, I asked “are you serious?” which I’ve always thought was a really stupid question at a moment like that. Fortunately for me, my divorce case is final – as far as I know. I was planning to file a grievance with the South Carolina Bar Association for the way in which he handled my case; but that’s irrelevant now. I didn’t really know this guy personally, and I can’t stand him professionally; but I’m amazed at how much Greenie’s death has affected me personally.
I think in moments like this it’s normal to think about one’s own mortality. Greenie was 31, or 8 years younger than me. I’m assuming he was never married as he was dating one of his paralegals. Thinking about what little I knew about Greenie personally forced me to reflect on my own life. In spite of how many years I’ve spent in school and feeling like I’ve been spinning my wheels – at times – with teaching, I feel that if I were to die tomorrow, I’ve lived a pretty good life. I had a dream job; I pursued it, and I became a teacher. Sure, I spent too many years in a failed marriage; but I got the greatest son in world out of it. Today, I’m in a fabulous relationship with The Auteur. We love each other, and we share the same view of what love is and what love should be. We are both finally divorced and are absolutely psyched about the future. I have absolutely no plans on checking out anytime soon.
Picard: Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives. But I rather believe than time is a companion who goes with us on the journey, and reminds us to cherish every moment because they’ll never come again. What we leave behind is not as important how we lived. After all, Number One, we’re only mortal.
Riker: [smiling] Speak for yourself, sir. I plan to live forever.
Captain Picard to commander Riker: from Star Trek: Generations
I was packing the van to bring The Boy back to South Carolina when the STBX called to inform The Boy that his fish had died. He, naturally, was very upset but he handled it very well all things considered.
I understand that the STBX is a chaos freak, and she couldn’t care less how the Boy’s mood affects my drive on this road trip, but to exploit his emotions for her own personal kicks against me is beneath even her. Or so I thought…
- Save Big on Your Next Trip to Myrtle Beach (coupons.answers.com)