Gay Marriage

Let me see if I've got this right.  Some heterosexuals want to deny homosexuals the right to marry.  Just out of curiosity, how does this affect them in any way?  What are they afraid of?  What business is it of theirs?  How on earth did the United States of America end up being a country where one group of people needs the approval of another group of people to marry?  We should be ashamed of ourselves. How is this blatant inequality any different than the dark time in our history when women weren't allowed to vote, and whites weren't allowed to marry blacks?   Why does anyone care who anyone else loves and marries?  More importantly, how can it possibly be considered legal under our Constitution and Bill of Rights - which touts equality for all - to prohibit marriage between two consenting adults?

The United States Supreme Court deemed marriage a fundamental right - for prisoners.  That's right; prisoners.  Despite the fact that prisoners have limited rights under the law, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it is unconstitutional to deny them the fundamental right to marry.  Fundamental right.  Does anyone find it incongruous that a convicted murderer has the fundamental right to marry, and a gay man or woman does not?

I don't get it.


All That Matters

All that matters is love -- the love between a couple; the love between parents and children; the love between siblings; the love of friends.

Sometimes you can actually see love.  You can see it emanating from a single person, or even from a room full of people.  Sometimes when you witness love, you mourn the fact that it's not for you, and that you don't feel it more often.               Sometimes you stop and wonder just how you can get your hands on some love. Sometimes you laugh at yourself for thinking love is something you can get your hands on.  And sometimes you  simply accept the fact that love is elusive and rare, and there is never enough.

What I Learned Today

There are many religions in the world - all born of man's age-old quest to understand why he's here, and his fear of what's going to happen when he dies.  It is important to note, however, the only religion which is actually sanctified by God is Catholicism.  Abraham said so.  (The priest who pointed this out specifically stated Buddhists, Hindus, etc. are out of luck.)

Communion isn't really communion unless it is offered in the Catholic church.  This is because bread and wine are turned into the actual body and blood of Christ via the special connection only Catholic priests have with God.  When communion is offered, only Catholics (The Prepared) are permitted to partake.  If you are "unprepared" but would still like to go forward to the front of the church, you may do so.  However, instead of holding out your hand to receive the bread and wine, you must approach the priest with your arms crossed over your chest indicating you are not worthy of receiving communion.  Apparently it is very important that the Catholics can tell the haves from the have-nots.  (I'm not exactly sure what happens if The Unprepared take communion in a Catholic church.  This was not addressed, but it must be serious.  My guess is instantaneous combustion.)

As best I could tell from my vantage point, the bread and wine is considered magically transformed into the flesh and blood of Christ after the priest finishes swinging a metal lantern gizmo around in the air.  (You'd think it would require a much more intricate, complicated procedure to accomplish this task, but you'd be wrong.)

We should all pray for the Pope.  I'm unclear as to whether we're supposed to pray for him to confess culpability for his role in the cover-up of the sexual abuse of innocent children by priests, or if we're supposed to pray for him to continue to deny the allegations so the Catholic church can save face.  Or perhaps we're simply supposed to pray for his health.  The particulars weren't discussed.  Go figure.

If we attend Catholic mass regularly (preferably daily) we increase our odds of enjoying an afterlife.  God is keeping score.  (They did not belabor the point that this daily attendance couldn't help but contribute directly to the coffers through increased offerings.)

Our dead physical bodies will be reunited with our souls when the second coming of Christ occurs.  (The fact that the physical body would be decomposed by that time was not mentioned, so I'm baffled as to how this reunification process transpires. Perhaps more lantern swinging is involved.)

That's what I learned today.



My 15-year-old dog has been wasting away over the past six months.  She hasn't been feeling well at all.  If she appears to be in pain, I give her medication.  She's getting weaker and weaker.  She is dying a slow death.

My dog has refused food and water for the past three days.  She's very agitated.  I think she'll die soon.

It's been four days since my dog had anything to eat or drink.  She's nothing but skin and bones.  I think she'll probably die today.  I stand over her watching and waiting for her to die.

My dog is still alive.  She is unconscious.  It shouldn't be long now.  I stand over her watching and waiting for her to die.

My dog is still alive.  Her breathing is labored.  Maybe today's the day.  I stand over her watching and waiting for her to die.

My dog is still alive.  She's making strange sounds.  Like she's gulping for air.  How much longer is this going to go on?  I stand over her watching and waiting for her to die.

My dog died today.  Finally.  I stood over her and watched her die.


What?  You think it was cruel to allow her to spend all those months languishing? Then tell me, why is this what we do to human beings?

What?  You think I should have done the humane thing and taken her to the vet to be put to sleep?  Then tell me, why don't we show that same mercy to people?



What do you do when your self-worth is tied to validation from your father, and you no longer have a father?  What do you do when the only person whose opinion ever mattered no longer has an opinion?  What do you do when throughout your entire life the only person who always wanted you around; who always enjoyed your company; who always made you feel worthwhile, is gone?  What do you do when the one person who gave you purpose and made you feel important no longer exists?

Okay.  Stop crying.  Let's deal with this in a professional and unemotional manner:

     1)  I am emotionally retarded.  I should have gotten over this whole father/daughter thing back when I was thirteen years old like every other woman on the planet.

     2)  Let's be realistic.  He wasn't all that great.  (Yes he was.)  He was just a typical run-of-the-mill dad.  (No he wasn't.)  Our relationship wasn't anything special.  (It was extraordinary.)

     3)  Scratch number 2.  That wasn't at all helpful.

     4)  I can't fix this.  I can't power-wash his brain to remove the plaques and tangles that have robbed him of his mind, nurse him back to health, and then stand before him and jubilantly proclaim, "Ta da!!  Hi Dad!  It's ME!"  (Although maybe I should submit that power-washing idea to the Alzheimer's research scientists.)

     5)  I need to mourn this loss and move on.  So it's like I never existed; so what?  I have to get over it.

But how do I get over it?

Clearly, the only sensible thing to do is to turn to drugs and alcohol.  Yep, that would solve everything.   But I'm too old for that crap.  Either too old, or not old enough.  If I was 80 it wouldn't matter; I could happily (or not-so-happily) medicate myself into oblivion.  But I'm 51 and I have too many years left to give up.  Okay, so drugs and alcohol are out.  Now what?

I know!  Since I can't be the best daughter in the world, I'll throw myself into being the mother of all mothers.  I'll be the best damn mother in the history of mankind. I'll be Mother of the Millennium.  That's it!  That's the answer!  I WILL MOTHER MY SON LIKE THERE'S NO TOMORROW.   No.  That's no good.  He'd resent the hell out of me and besides, he'll be off to college in a couple years and then I'll be right back where I started. Okay, so being Madonna is out.  Now what?

Let's see...  I appear to be running out of options...

- Join a convent?
   (Do they have convents for atheists?  Hmm...  No.  Probably not.)

- Become a high-priced call girl?
   (Quit laughing.)

- Find someone else to take care of?
   (Do I really want to keep taking care of people for the rest of my life?)

- Raise puppies?
   (They love you no matter what, but aren't very good conversationalists.                      Besides, hard-core dog people are weird.)

- Stand on a street corner downtown wearing a sandwich board that reads: WON'T      SOMEBODY PLEASE LOVE ME?
   (Note to self: this may be a tad too pathetic.)
   (2nd note to self: this could possibly be used in conjunction with the call girl                option.)

- Move to an ashram in India?
   (Sounds like a lovely escape.  But escaping doesn't really address the issue.)

I give up.  Maybe there is no way to get over it.  The fact of the matter is it's a horrible feeling knowing I'm no longer loved by my father.  It's a horrible feeling knowing I mean nothing to him now, and it's even worse knowing that as far as he's concerned I never did.

It's only his memory of me that's gone, right?  It's not as though when I ceased to exist in his mind I actually ceased to exist, right?  So why does it feel that way?

Is this one of those pivotal moments in life where I'm supposed to have an epiphany and discover validation comes from within?  Where I learn I don't have to rely on others to make me feel like I'm a valuable human being?  Where I embark upon years of intense therapy to FIND MYSELF?  Blah, blah, blah.  Who has time for that nonsense?

All I want is to be loved, admired, needed and desired.  Is that too much to ask?

Of course it is.

Think maybe I'll check into that ashram thing...


cajole- to persuade by flattery or promises; wheedle; coax.

Cajoling is one of my best things.  Got a tense situation?  I can cajole it away.  Angry drunk?  I can cajole him down from the brink of violence.  The silent treatment?  I can cajole him into conversation.  Depressed?  I can cajole him into laughter. Uncomfortable repartee?  I can cajole it into an easy exchange.

I used to look upon my ability to cajole as a gift.  It felt good to be able to diffuse situations; it gave me a sense of accomplishment.  I'd assess the problem and get to work; always wondering why no one else took up the charge.  I'd think, "It doesn't have to be this way.  Isn't anyone going to do anything?  I can fix this."  It never occurred to me that, quite possibly, no one else felt it was worth the effort -  or that maybe this was not a special skill at all, but more an act of desperation born of insecurity.  Why I always felt like it was my job is unclear, but I'm happy to report I eventually realized if cajoling was necessary, perhaps it wasn't a situation I wanted to be in.

I do a lot less cajoling these days.  First and foremost, if you need to do it all the time it is exhausting.  Anything that requires that much work should be avoided. Secondly, cajoling only goes so far.  You cannot cajole someone into being smart, you cannot cajole someone into being sober, and you cannot cajole someone into being present.  Trust me.

Now, I pretty much reserve my cajoling for myself.  I seem to need it a lot lately. But I still like to use it for others on special occasions - I'll admit, I like the challenge. If you ever need to talk someone off a ledge, I'm your man.


I Am Nothing

The relationship I have always cherished most in my life - the relationship with my father - is now non-existent.  He does not know me.  He does not recognize my face. He does not recognize my voice.  He does not recognize my name.  And for the first time ever, no amount of recounting of tales, vivid descriptions, or intimate details of our family life are able to jog his memory.

I am a blank spot to him.  He looks at me almost suspiciously; as if he is wary of this peculiar stranger.  Clearly, I make him uncomfortable.  That's the worst part.  He is wondering, "Who is this woman?  Why is she here? Why is she taking me to lunch? How does she know where to go?  How does she know where I live?   How does she know so much about me?"  I have spent the past five years trying to put him at ease and it has reached the point where I am no longer successful in this endeavor. He is now troubled by my presence.

He made no attempt to lift his fork today; I fed him.  He made no attempt to drink; I brought the glass to his lips.  He could not put words together to speak; I did all the talking.  There was no interaction; I might as well have been speaking Russian. Outwardly, I tried to give the appearance that everything was perfectly normal. Inwardly, I was horrified.  I don't know this man.  I am unaccustomed to this awkward silence.  I am unaccustomed to failing in my attempt to cajole him into himself again.  I want to run away and get the hell out of there, but I can't do that.  I have to stay and ride it out.  I want to scream.  I want to cry.  I want my dad back.

I always felt like I was special to him.  (Whether I really was or not is entirely inconsequential.)  I always felt like I had a privileged connection to the most important man on earth, and being important to the most important man on earth made ME important.  His love and approval meant everything.  My identity was largely defined by this father/daughter relationship; he made me feel worthwhile. Now, all of that is gone.  I mean no more to him than a stranger on the street.  What am I if I don't matter to him anymore?  I am nothing.

If he were dead, I don't think this would be quite so devastating.  But the fact that he is sitting before me - the fact that my living, breathing father looks me in the eye and does not have any memory of me is indescribably painful.  The fact that my father will spend the rest of his life not knowing who I am is crushing.  The fact that my entire life has been effectively erased from his mind is heartbreaking.

I know life goes on.  I know that to lament this loss is futile.  I never expected to be so deeply affected by something I knew full well was coming, but for some reason my armor of Realistic Rational Acceptance - the impenetrable armor that served me so well dealing with Mom's demise - has suddenly failed me.  The same cold, hard logic which once afforded me the luxury of being dispassionate has been rendered useless.  Sadness now permeates every thought.

I know the memories of life with Dad will live on in my mind, but somehow that isn't good enough.  Knowing he doesn't remember any of it makes those memories seem pointless.  It's almost unbearable - as though I have no right to try to find joy in the past when he cannot.  And frankly, knowing my history doesn't exist for him, how could I possibly find joy in it anyway?  

I miss my dad.  I miss him so very much.

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