There has been so much I've wanted to blog about lately. The bulk of it devoid of actual poker content. I still haven't gotten back on the horse since Sunday, though I have been reading almost exclusively about poker since then (both the printed and cyber word).
Yesterday, I actually got halfway through a list of things that are good. A feeble attempt at an uplifting yin to the recent yang bitchings around here. I was enjoying it, regardless of its simple-mindedness. Then I got blind-sided. And side-tracked.
Not sure how this is going to come out, but here goes...
Donny and I have been friends for most of our lives. From little league right up through today. For most of that time, we lived in close proximity to each other--sometimes even in the same room--first in our hometown of Livermore, later here in L.A. We have shared in the high points of each other's lives: graduations, promotions, weddings, births or simply a long-into-the-night booze-addled conversation. We have shouldered our burdens together. We are, at the most basic, family. He's my combative older (by 12 days) brother. He's the one who delights in pulling out the KISS "Love Gun" LP I bought him for his 11th birthday. The one with the constant stream of e-mails alternately mocking my foibles and praising my successes. The one I am reminded of ten times a day by a song, an event.
Donny's mom died on Sunday.
Somebody once asked me if my career de-sensitized me to death. I didn't really have answer at the time. I have been fortunate in my life that I have yet to lose someone close to me. I have both parents. I have both my maternal grandparents (my paternal grandparents both died before I was born). All my extended family. So, I didn't really feel like I could answer the question adequately. Because I've never REALLY been put to the test.
But, my job isn't really about death. It's more like a tribute to life. When I say this, I usually get a "yeah, sure" look or a "nice euphamism" comment. But it's true. There is mourning, of course, but also room for celebration, for remembering fondly the events of lives that have touched us. Not to mention a caution that such celebration should not simply be reserved for the end, but should be practiced always.
Donny's mom was old school: Methodist, strict, military wife. The works. I once made the mistake of dropping an f-bomb in her house (in my weak defense, I didn't know she was there). Trust me when I say you did not want to be in my shoes at that particular time. "Shame" seems an adequate descriptor for how I felt.
But she adored us. Patient with our immaturity, which we never failed to express in myriad ways. She was always skeptical of our latest scheme, yet gave her blessing with that smile which changed her entire visage. Not the least of which--and what I'll always remember--was that twinkle in her eye. That knowing look that said everything: "You boys are crazy, but you're my boys. I feel your excitement and I'll be here for you when it inevitably all goes wrong."
I hurt for my friend today. I dread the day I have to make those same phone calls about my own parents.
And I'm also thankful for having known Donny's mom.
On that note, that's probably all from me for a few days. I'll be out of town this weekend, heading up north for the funeral.
Sorry for bumming you out. I just had to get something down.