Musashi Mix Inq

Palliativity 165: writing on the wall – part one

Posted on October 4, 2012

I fell in love with my best friend at college. We didn't start our romantic relationship until after I had graduated and she was in her junior year, the winter of '06. But I'm getting ahead of myself:

Autumn - 2006

After my graduation back in May, we talked on the phone and g-chatted regularly throughout her summer break. Once she returned to school, communication picked-up even more. We were already closer than I ever thought two people could be. Then in October, the world pushed us into the unknown. She called me on a grey Chicago afternoon.

Back on campus, our friend had taken his life.

Autumn silence across a wire…

« • »

The following month, my maternal Grandfather died days before Thanksgiving. Shiva food-poisoning put me in the ER while the family mourned and carved turkey. My Grandmother took some of Grandpa's pills to cut the pain. This wasn't the first husband she had buried. I held her hand throughout the service. She fell asleep at the synagogue and I had to keep jostling her awake. She rested her head on my shoulder in the limo cavalcade. Hardened Cleveland soil in late-November; red cemetery mud caking my patterned leather shoes. She would die the following summer. Lung cancer. I don't know many prayers, but I can recite the Kaddish by heart…

After we returned to Chicago from the last Cleveland Thanksgiving, I shaved my head in the samurai style. Thinning hair: a parting gift from the biological Grandfather I never knew. He died suddenly when my mother was ten years old. My cousins, like their bio-Grandpa, will have hair til the day they die.

I was still in constant pain with few palliatives at hand. No lidocaine. Nothing stronger than Advil, ice and Bengay. I broke down crying one night while cooking the family dinner and realized that I needed something stronger. I've had a bottle of Vicodin every month ever since.

« • »

December came on slowly. The one thing keeping me together was that my best friend was coming to visit for the first time after we allowed the inner silence to be broken:

I Love You

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next week: part two

Further reading: "writing on the wall"