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August 18, 2007

Time Travel By The Numbers

It had hung by the phone in the kitchen for the better part of a decade.  A white message board...the kind you write on with a marker and wipe clean with a wet cloth.  At the top in Marissa’s faded brown script it reads “Manlove Message Center”, but the “Messages” part had been a misnomer almost from the beginning.  Rather than messages the board had become a hodgepodge of contact information mostly phone numbers and little notes on scrapes of paper tucked into the creases of the wood frame.

The “message center” had long since ceased to perform its intended function and yet had hung faithfully by the phone in the kitchen waiting patiently for a kind touch of a hand with a pen that would add a new or update an old number.  It had changed little over the past six years and so had become a window to the past…a snapshot of scraps of memories frozen in time.  Primarily there were just names and numbers, numbers that when taken individually are meaningless but when combined in certain patterns take on a life and meaning of their own and possess extraordinary abilities.

There were of course the obligatory numbers for Mom and Dad…work and cell numbers and even a pager number, a true relic of the past.  Josh and Angie’s contact information which are still primarily accurate. But then there are the numbers that are more poignant reminders…numbers that possess a special quality to transport one beyond space and time.  A cell phone number for David and a land line number that the boys shared when they were in high school…both long disconnected and reassigned to other phone company subscribers who have no idea what meaning those numbers have for us.  Numbers for David’s girlfriend, childhood friends from pre-school, elementary, middle and high school and the parents of one of David’s using friends.  And finally…in the middle of the board is the number to the Emergency Room where Marissa’s sister Sheila used to work and where on June 9th 2001, David died from the disease of addiction.

Over the past few weeks we have been redecorating our kitchen getting rid of old things and replacing them with new.  And so it was last week as we were decided what would go and what would stay I picked up the Manlove Message Center, held it for a while and said to Marissa, “We probably need to do away with this”… but before she could answer the numbers answered, they seized my soul and took me back in time, took me back to the place when grief and loss ruled my days and haunted my nights.  And at that moment my eyes welled with tears, my shoulders fell and my body heaved with silent sobs in a way I had not grieved for a long time.  All because of numbers…numbers written a long time ago on a piece of plastic in a wood frame, numbers that to most are just numbers…but for me they possess a magical ability to take me back in time.

Oh and by the way....the message board remains next to the phone where it needs to be....thanks Phil

August 18, 2007 at 02:16 PM in The Odyssey | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 10, 2007

A Debt I Can Never Repay

His name is Peter and I owe him a debt I can never repay.  Our relationship is complex.  He is a close friend...he is like a son...he is a brother in recovery and I owe him a debt I never intended to incur. A debt I would give anything to take back...but life is never that forgiving.  Six years ago he was my son David's aftercare counselor at the addiction treatment center .  David's relationship with Peter was also complex.  He liked Peter a lot and at the same time was wary of him because he could always count on him to see through his bullshit.

The day that David died I was 2000 miles away, something I will regret for the rest of my life.  And yet I will forever find great comfort in the fact that in those first unspeakable minutes and hours while Marissa was trying desperately to reach me...she called Peter and he rushed to the hospital to be with her and my other son Josh.  He was there when it was clear David was gone...He was there when the doctors gave up their valiant efforts......he was there to share in pain, the anguish, the devastation...and most of all...he was there when I could not be. 

And for that I will forever be eternally grateful and in the debt of my friend, my son, my brother...Peter.

August 10, 2007 at 11:55 PM in The Odyssey | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 05, 2007

Obituary For A Man Dying Young

I read the obituaries now.  I never used to. 

Today this one appeared...it was like no other I had ever seen.   It was for a young man who smiled back at me from the picture followed by these powerful words:

Yesterday my son took his own life. He did not intend to. He did something thousands of people have and are doing, using drugs. Drugs they know nothing about. Drugs recommended and provided by friends or strangers that are not chemists that know what's in them or doctors that knew how much his body could take. My son has devastated us, his mother, father and stepmother, his brothers, and his sisters. We also all hurt for a three year old little girl who will grow up without her father and his girlfriend who loved him just as much. Not to leave out his many grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews who have also been left behind in pain. Realize you have no more idea of what or how much is too much of what you're putting in your body than those selling it to you. Those drugs do not discriminate, by race, income, the status of you or of your family. These are those that care about you and those that you care about. Consider them please! The pleasure is not worth the risks! Goodbye my, we love you, and will miss you. Services  will be held at 1:00 p.m. August 8, 2007 . Friends may call 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. August 7, 2007 at the funeral home. Internment will be at a later date in the Memorial Park Cemetery.

August 5, 2007 at 09:05 PM in The Odyssey | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack