The Soundtrack of My Life – 11 – Danny’s Song

My mother was my primary parent. She was the one I identified and spent the most time with. And it’s not like this was because my dad was a bad dad. He was a good role model and really tried. I was just a different character than him. Which is odd because we are very, very similar. I have always been a Chatty Kathy and my dad, because of his anti-psychotics, wasn’t very talkative. On top of that, I think my dad got in his head that since he never had a father he didn’t know how to be one. Whatever the reasons, my mother was the go-to parent.

I think she and I bonded moreso because my mother worked in Costa Mesa and she had found a private Christian pre-school around the corner from her office that I attended until first grade. This was about an hours drive from where we lived, so she and I spent a lot of time in the car. We would chit chat and listen to music. She would sing in her monotone soprano. My mother loved Mama Cass and Anne Murray. These were the ones I remember the most from growing up. (Especially Anne Murray’s Christmas album.) It’s strange to me that now whenever my mom gets upset, caused by her dementia, she is soothed with Patsy Cline. I have tried the other two talented ladies and she shows zero response, which truly saddens me. They are such a huge part of her memory for me.

Memory… I say it as if she’s gone. She’s not dead. She’s still alive, but the person she was doesn’t exist. That’s one of the worst parts of Alzheimer’s. It’s taken the woman I once knew and morphed her into this “bizarro mom.” One where she’s cruel, a liar, and exceedingly stubborn. The lying upsets me the most. She was never like that. Not once in my youth. She notoriously told me that there was no Santa Claus, at six years old, when I asked her point blank if he existed. For the longest time I resented her for that. I had wished she had kept up the charade a little bit longer to prolong my sense of “magic” and “wonder.” As an adult and thinking of the idea of having my own kids, I have immense respect for her. The truth is always the best. And because of her unrelenting ability to be honest, I could always rely on her.

It is such a weird experience grieving for someone who is still alive. Its even harder when you have to handle her affairs and possessions the same way. Even now as I write this I find myself deviating from my thoughts. All of this causes me so much trauma and I fucking hate it. I don’t want any of this. I don’t want to see her change and I don’t want to lose her. Everything that’s happened thus far has stripped her of any dignity. It is because of this that I cannot for the life of me believe in a god.

My mother has always been deeply religious. She grew up in a devout home and spent most of her days at the church. She has lived her life as a good Christian woman, and how does this higher power reward her? Alzheimer’s. It’s a cruel fucking joke. One in which no one but this sadistic deity could find humorous.

It is because of this deeply ingrained brainwashing that, even though she had transcended her prior beliefs, has devolved to where she obsesses over the sin of me being gay. That is the one that truly hurts the most.

I know what everyone will say, “she’s not the same person” or “it’s the disease.” Yeah… I have heard it. But knowing and understanding are two very separate things. Especially when it comes to past trauma.

My mother’s and my closeness ceased to be when I told her I was gay. Well, when I told her I was “bisexual” as if that could/would soften the blow that she wasn’t going to get grandchildren. She had made her beliefs about homosexuality very clear growing up. I even distinctly remember her saying she was a “proud homophobe.” After I had outed myself she didn’t speak to me for a solid month. Then any communication after her hiatus was short and cold.

As time went on and after my husband and I lived with my parents for a year, while we got ready to buy a house, I think she saw how normal we were. We weren’t these sinful sexual deviants. We were just us. That’s it.

My mother was the one to sign our marriage license (I think I put her on the spot and she couldn’t decline or else look like a dick) and she even introduced my husband as her son-in-law. All this progress, all this change, and every ounce of it lost because of her disease.

The last couple weeks have been the worst. She is now seeing people who are not there, talking to them, and living in a constant state of fear because these delusions are calling her ugly and/or saying they’re going to harm me. She breaks down into tears because she doesn’t want to see me hurt. I hate all of this for her. This isn’t fair.

She is now on hospice care and while most always believe that the death knell is growing, this probably isn’t the case. There was a moment this last weekend where I thought she had died in my car, so I pulled over and dialed for help. When the ambulance came out and checked her vitals this bitch was in top notch health.

The only way she’s going to leave this earth is because her mind forgot how to breathe.

Now I sit and wait for the call that she’s passed.

My Bouquet of Balloons

It’s amazing how little I don’t know about my own emotions/feelings. It’s as if I hide all of them in these pretty little balloons to trick myself that they’re not there. But the strings are tied tight to my wrist.

Then when something with mildly jagged edges brushes against them they burst. They burst and I’m showered in my feelings and thin bits of rubber.

I explode. No longer can I pretend that those feelings weren’t there.

I want to know if that’s a me thing, or an everyone thing.

Today I was meant to meet a property owner to do an inspection. I called him at 9:05 to see if he was still coming. No answer. Already I could see the writing on the wall. (It’s funny how this same pattern happens specifically with multiple units.) I sat in my car, waiting, building up my rage by ranting to myself about this revision request I had received the other day. (They didn’t like the value I came up with for their rent comparables.)

At 9:25, five minutes before the end of our scheduled time, I tried him again. He answered and gave me this cock and bull story that his secretary was sick so he had to take her home… It was ridiculous. This idiot forgot about the appointment and was putting it on some other B.S. He informed me that the tenants knew I was coming and to just do it.

They tenants didn’t answer. Per usual.

I drove away ranting and raving, furious about this situation. (I loathe appraising multiple units.) My voice obviously carrying outside of the confines of my car because people down the street were literally looking at me. (I am naturally a loud person.)

It wasn’t until I had made it to the office that my real feelings sat on my shoulders. I could feel them pulling me down and now I’m just sad.

I hate the phrase, “you’re going through a lot.” It’s right up there with, “I’m sorry.” Every time I hear it I either roll my eyes, grit my teeth, or visibly cringe. I don’t want to hear it. Mainly because I don’t want to face it. My life is absolute misery. Everywhere I turn my life is literally falling down around me and I’m trying so hard to keep everything up, but no matter what I do these things are going to fall. These balloons are going to pop.

I need healthy ways to cope, but at the same time I’m worried what all of this grief is going to do to my brain. Yet on the flip side, one I refuse to view, is what is this denial going to do to my neural pathways? Everything in our life determines who and what we become. Even the tiniest of choices and reactions.

I want to just hide away today. I’m glad the tenants didn’t answer. I just don’t want to deal.

And to top all of this off… It’s made me a week behind with my year long writing goal.

The Soundtrack of My Life – 9 – Dueles

The poetry that happens in life is chilling sometimes. This song is one of those moments for me. It is absolutely beautiful, and the lyrics are… I will post the English translation below.

After my husband had his weight-loss surgery, he was invigorated to better himself physically. He started putting effort into the way he dressed, skin care routine, and even started to go to the gym daily. In that vein my husband had gotten it in his head that he wanted a facelift. He longed for a more prominent jawline and chin. He has a little one but mostly his face goes right to neck. This is a physical trait that runs in his family. His grandmother and aunt have this facial feature. As with most things he becomes obsessed with, he did his thorough research to find a place that could and would do the surgery at a low cost but with optimum results. That search brought him to a surgeon in Tijuana who was highly awarded and recommended.

After a photographic consultation, he scheduled his appointment and paid a deposit to hold his spot.

Then Covid happened.

He was forced to stop going to the gym and his surgery date was pushed out 6 months to allow the global pandemic to get under control. Oh, how optimistic we all were.

During that time I worked from home and he met and brought Tony into the fold. Overall pretty good times.

The day of his surgery we drove down to Mexico. The entire time, both of us had this overwhelming sense of dread. It draped over me like a cold, wet blanket. My stomach was a tight, softball ball sized knot. I couldn’t shake the feeling, and it only got worse as the day went on. At the time, I chocked it up to me being nervous about dropping him off at the hospital and crossing back over the border on my own. I’m sure I would have messed it up or been kidnapped. I mean, I’m so abductable.

Then there was the moment when he tripped on the cobblestone sidewalk and slammed, chest first, into the path. I could barely pick him up. At the time, whenever he fell it just freaked me out and filled me with so much anxiety. (It still does.) Luckily he fell right outside a farmacia, so we purchased some stuff to clean up the few scrapes he acquired in the fall.

After that, we went to his appointment and then immediately checked into our hotel. Covid restrictions were in effect, and I just remember walking through a mat SOAKED in sanitizer. I also remember, as we were dining in the hotel café, I made one cough, neglected to cover my mouth, and one of the servers looked at me with wide eyes and terror. What little Spanish I know does not include: “Don’t worry, I don’t have Covid. I’m not going to infect you.”

After dinner we returned to our room and were relaxing on the bed while watching whatever English television program I could find. For the life of me I don’t remember what it was. All I know was I was settling.

Charlie sat back perusing his phone and it is then that he perks up and says, “They updated my patient portal.”

“It says I have motoneuron disease.”

“What’s that?” I said, and grabbed my phone.

As I read the description provided by my google search results, every ounce of warmth drained from my body.

In a panic Charlie attempted to call the doctor, but got only his voicemail. It was 9 P.M. so it makes sense why he wouldn’t. So he shot him an email.

The two of us poured over more websites. I texted Josh and gave him the news. He read all he could.

“I hope this isn’t true,” he texted at some point.

The two of us started to cry. I snuggled up next to Charlie and held him as tight as I could. At one point, in a weird knee-jerk reaction, I ripped off my and his shirts and held him against my chest. In my death and dying class I had learned that skin-to-skin contact is the best way to heal emotional pain.

“I just want to go home,” he croaked out.

“Me too,” I had said.

We packed back up what little we had pulled from our bags and checked out. The front desk was confused but obliged. They ordered us a taxi and we waited out in the parking lot.

When we got into the car this song started. Through the entire length of our journey back to the border it played, setting the most somber note in the backseat. Neither one of us spoke. I couldn’t bring myself to say anything or even think. I knew if I put too much focus into it I would breakdown and I wasn’t about to be another statistic of some bitch sobbing in the backseat of a cab.

We crossed back over the border and hoofed it to the car in record time.

On the drive home, my husband made unnecessarily cruel calls to his sister and mother telling them his diagnosis. He delivered the news without any delicacy or social finesse. Neither of them broke down on the line, but we were later informed that both were devastated.

I drove the entire 4 hour drive home in about 3. When we got to our house we fixed ourselves some cocktails and hopped into the hot tub. We spent the rest of the night listening to music and getting unbelievably hammered.

The next night as Charlie and I sat alone in the hot tub, he looked me dead in the eye. Tears were running down his cheeks, his eyes red, as he implored me, “When the time comes, promise me you will help me go. When I’m ready.”

My throat tightened, along with my face muscles, as I hesitantly nodded my head.

When you were together with me,
That light was celestial.

What more could I ask for?
I found the happiness.

Without notice, we left our paradise,
and now your memory makes a shadow to my heart.

Today marks the month that you still don’t see me.
You went, nothing more,
You gave up on loving me,
Oh, and how you hurt!

While I think on you,
And in that I lost it,
I would like to avoid
To see me allowed me to love you,
For to lose you,
And you hurt me,
Oh, how you hurt!

The bumps on the skin,
They leave marks and after they leave.
They go, they go, they go,
But you broke me in two,
And I can’t find repair.

Without notice, we left our paradise,
And now your memory makes a shadow to my heart.

Today marks the month that you still don’t see me.
You went, nothing more,
You gave up on loving me,
Oh, and how you hurt!

While I think on you,
And in that I lost it,
I would like to avoid
To see me allowed me to love you,
For to lose you,
And you hurt me,
Oh, how you hurt!

Go to be free and to be happy.
Already give the same here.
With me is someone I knew,
It is a stranger and the pain let go.

Today marks the month that you still don’t see me.
You went, nothing more,
You gave up on loving me,
And you hurt me, you hurt, you hurt.

While I think on you and in that I lost it,
I would like to avoid
To see me allowed me to love you,

And you don’t know how you hurt,
You hurt,
You hurt,
You hurt me,
How you hurt!

The Soundtrack of My Life – 8 – High Hopes

The beauty of this song is that it perfectly encapsulates the person it represents in my mind. It has this very high energy, happy beat that gives the impression that the lyrics encased match it’s tempo. When you really look at them they are not. They speak of constant struggle and strife while always maintaining an enthusiastic demeanor. But they’re sung in such a way that it tricks the casual listener. It’s only those who truly listen that will know.

Let us also not fail to mention that it is also an awesome song choice to play in Beat Saber.

Tony is someone who seemed to magically appear out of the ether. As if he was called from some mystical place to my and my husbands world. I had had no idea that he and my husband had been talking. It wasn’t until late one evening, as Charlie and I were relaxing in the hot tub, that he informed me that someone was coming over to join us. My skin prickled with excitement because I thought he was coming over for… uh… other reasons besides to have a couple drinks and soak in the warm water.

He arrived, stripped down to his birthday suit, and hopped in. We spent hours talking, and much to his and my husband’s dismay, I lingered much longer than they had anticipated. Half drunk at 2 in the morning I had to be an adult and get to bed. It was a work night, and unless I wanted a massive hangover it was best for me to skedaddle.

Reluctantly I went to bed… Then I woke up with a start and looked out the bedroom window and saw the two having a very intimate time. Upset I packed up some clothes and headed over to my mother’s to sleep in her spare room. My husband called to inquire my whereabouts and I said I just had to get out of there.

Tony left, drunk, because he felt like he had upset the balance and didn’t want to be involved in the drama.

After some thinking I realized why it bothered me so much. It wasn’t that I had seen them together. That is one of my weird sexual kinks. Why I got upset was, like I had mentioned earlier, I had assumed it was meant to be a group effort. Which it was not. There was a lack of communication on my husband’s part. Had I been informed, it wouldn’t have been a thing. I would have also gotten way more sleep than I ended up getting. This episode was merely something we could learn and grow from.

The next day I found Tony on Scruff and apologized. I told him that there was no hard feelings I was just drunk and being weird. I didn’t want this episode to ruin anything between him and Charlie.

It surprisingly did not.

He came over the next night and brought along his PS4. He had the whole VR set-up and we ended up playing Beat Saber, this ADORABLE little robot game, and one based around the Paranormal Activity movies. It was a blast.

Tony invited himself to one of Charlie’s appointments at Cedars-Sinai. It was the follow-up nerve test to see what change their was from February. As it turns out, there was a lot. The next appointment that Tony invited himself to was the one where the doctor casually dropped his diagnosis. However, my husband did not pay any attention. Because, when we read it a couple days later on his patient-portal synopsis we both had a breakdown.

That night Charlie, Tony, Josh and I all hopped into the hot-tub and drank. What else do you do when you’ve been given news that you have a terminal illness?

For lack of any term, I have stolen the one coined by the Mormon polygamists. Instead of sister-wives I call Tony my brother-husband. I would do anything for him. He very quickly became a huge part of Charlie’s and my life. And one I wouldn’t and couldn’t do without. Everyday I thank the universe for sending out the call, or answering it, and having him arrive.

As it turns out, he has been in our orbit, but as a secret shadow planet that only comes into view every millennia. He had attended many of the offensive comedy shows I had been in, he LITERALLY worked down the street from me (he and his work mates used to watch me bizarrely pull up into a parking space in front of their shop and smoke cigarettes) and he knows so many of our random acquaintances. That last one is common in a small town, though. So it isn’t that out of the ordinary.

I chose this song mainly because it was a repeated choice while playing Beat Saber in our old living room. (That and “Greatest Show.”) It also matches how I feel about him. He always has high hopes and is such an optimistic person. Always. Every once in awhile it cracks under the exhaustion of trying to maintain the show. But with a little intermission he is right back to it. The only thing in the song that doesn’t match is he is one in a million.

P.S. I will eventually delve into more obscure songs at some point in time. I feel like everything so far has been “Top 40” and I am better than that.

P.P.S. I will also eventually catch up to the proper order. I’m a blog behind in my goal.