in memoriam

Day 2798: Stuck

When I was in Social Work Graduate School in the 1990’s, I read an article that suggested that all  mental health diagnoses be replaced with one: “Stuck.”  That has stuck with me, over the years.

Today, I feel stuck in grief, because yesterday we euthanized our amazing cat Oscar, who was stuck in advanced and debilitating cancer.

This was yesterday’s Daily Bitch Calendar:

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Now you’re stuck with that and with all these other recent photos:

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When you’re stuck, sometimes it helps to say “f*ck this shit” and sometimes it helps to cry.

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Yesterday, I stuck those tissues on the table near where we were saying goodbye to Oscar, who was stuck on his favorite blanket on the sofa.

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The Lap of Love  founder and vet, Dr. Sally,  asked us yesterday if Oscar was spending a lot of time stuck in the bathroom.  Oscar had been stuck on the bathroom mat for hours yesterday while we waited for Dr. Sally to arrive at 5 PM.

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Dr. Sally said that cats often get stuck in the bathroom at the end, perhaps because they are dehydrated and want to hear the sound of running water.

I’ll always be stuck with Dr. Sally’s kind demeanor, which I could read through the mask  stuck on her face because of the coronavirus pandemic (which we’re all stuck with for the time being).

Here’s some of information about herself that Dr. Sally has stuck onto the Lap of Love website:

Despite being so enamored with animals as a child, I was not able to get my first dog until I was 13 year old, but on that very special birthday, I was handed a tiny, black puppy…and I immediately burst into tears of joy! Rocko and I had many adventures together throughout my young adult life, and being his pet parent taught me more than I could have imagined about responsibility, friendship, and, above all, unconditional love. We spent many years walking our neighborhood together, and with every mile, he listened to me talk through my hopes and dreams, my concerns, and my fears. I know that everyone says this about their dog, but he was the best…a piece of my past, and a piece of my spirit…always.

I’m glad that Dr. Sally is stuck with Rocko as a piece of her spirit. Of course, Oscar will always be a piece of ours.

Here’s a video from six years ago of Oscar and I stuck in another bathroom for over eight minutes as I tried to sing along to a favorite Pat Metheny tune:

I didn’t successfully stick all the high notes there but I’m glad to be stuck with that memory of Oscar who, as usual, stuck by my side for the whole thing.

I’m looking forward to being stuck with whatever comments you choose to leave, below.

Thanks to all who have stuck it out to the end of this “Stuck” post. I’m very grateful to be stuck, here and now, with you.

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Categories: in memoriam, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Day 2776: No longer

I am no longer President of the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy, so I am no longer worrying about acting Presidential (although “acting Presidential” no longer has the same meaning it used to).

Carl Reiner is no longer on this earth.

This sentence, at the end of the Wikepedia entry about Carl Reiner, is no longer than 20 words:

Reiner died at his home on June 29, 2020, aged 98, in the company of his family.

This episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, which Carl Reiner wrote, produced, and created, is no longer than 25 minutes:

This 2000-Year-Old Man Routine, co-created by the no-longer-with-us Carl Reiner and the-still-with-us-as-of-this-writing Mel Brooks, is no longer than four minutes:

I am no longer able to say that I never saw that before. It’s been no longer than 55 years that I’ve known Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks as comic geniuses.

Mel Brooks, who describes himself on Twitter as “Writer, Director, Actor, Producer and Failed Dairy Farmer” and who no longer can have dinner every night  with his old friend and co-writer Carl Reiner, posted this no-longer-than-280-character tribute yesterday:

Carl was a giant, unmatched in his contributions to entertainment. He created comedy gems like The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Jerk, and Where’s Poppa? I met him in 1950 when he joined Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows, and we’ve been best friends ever since. I loved him. When we were doing The 2000 Year Old Man together there was no better straight man in the world. So whether he wrote or performed or was just your best friend — nobody could do it better.  He’ll be greatly missed. A tired cliché in times like this, but in Carl Reiner’s case it’s absolutely true. He will be greatly missed.

It took me no longer than a few seconds to find this great photo of Carl Reiner, Annie Reiner, and Mel Brooks that was taken no longer than two days away from Mel Brooks’s 94th birthday and Carl Reiner’s death day:

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I hope it is no longer debatable in this country that black lives matter.

I am no longer worried about other people’s incorrect assumptions or my inadvertent miscommunications, like Mel Brooks’s birthday and Carl Reiner’s death day being the same day (which they aren’t — they are one day apart).

This post is no longer focusing on words as I share my images from yesterday:

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I am no longer expecting comments but I will welcome any you choose to make.

It takes no longer than one word to express heart-felt gratitude.

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Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 2771: Farewell for now

The amazing blogger beth made this hopeful, beautiful, helpful, and caring comment about my post from yesterday:

… hope that the memorial for your friend was beautiful and helped all of you who cared for her to say farewell for now.

That hope was realized, as I hope  you can see in these photos from yesterday:

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Those Ruth Bader Ginsberg socks were worn by Lisa, one of my co-workers. Until we were saying farewell for now to Eleanor, Lisa and I didn’t know we were connected by our love for her.

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That’s my old friend Andy, who I’ve known almost as long as I’ve known Eleanor.  We were reunited yesterday as we said farewell for now to her.

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I was so happy to finally meet Eleanor’s children, Gabe and Rosa, after hearing so many wonderful things about them.  As we said farewell for now to their mother, I could  see Eleanor’s beautiful legacy in them.

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Eleanor’s husband Ira and I spoke about how difficult it was to say farewell for now to Eleanor because she was soooo cool. We love her so much that we have trouble believing she’s gone from this world. We also know that she lives on in many, many loving hearts.

When I say farewell for now to somebody I love, everything reminds me of them.

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I love you, Eleanor.

Here‘s Farewell … For Now by Georges Delerue:

 

Thanks to all who are helping me say farewell for now to my long-time and beloved friend Eleanor, including YOU.

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Categories: in memoriam, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 2767: Staring at the Sun

Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death is a book I’ve stared at many times.

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Yesterday, when I was staring at my son in the midday sun …

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… I got the very sad, unexpected, and darkening news that my long-time friend Eleanor had passed away.

Eleanor, who was described in an online memorial as “sunshine, determination, kindness, humor, a keen mind and a really great friend” brought the sun into my life for over 45 years.  Here’s a portion of her obituary:

Eleanor was a caring and giving person, made up of pure love and light, and left nothing but warmth and care with everyone who knew her. She had a contagious smile and strong will. She was the sun on a dark day, the cool breeze on a hot day. The twinkle in her eyes could warm the darkest, most inner part of anyone’s soul. We now have another angel on our side to help us fight for peace, which is what she always wanted. May her spirit continue to guide us through this life, and always remind us to live and lead with our heart. There will be a private ceremony. To make donations in Eleanor’s honor please consider Project Bread, http://www.projectbread.org/, the Kestrel Land Trust https://www.kestreltrust.org/, or the Equal Justice Institute https://eji.org/.

Eleanor last commented on this blog on Mother’s Day:

Eleanor
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY ANN!
And this mother thanks you for all your posts over the years – what I look forward to each day to amuse me, inspire me, make me ponder, and just enjoy.
Peace and love to you

Eleanor was a caring and loving friend who gave me advice, cards, tickets to wonderful events,  rides to appointments when I was dealing with health issues,  and — during rain and shine —  her fabulous company (described here, here, herehere, here, here, here, here, and here,). We talked about cats, haircuts, food, work, politics, children, husbands, other people, social justice, the present, the past, the future, love, and everything else under the sun.

Whenever I asked her if I could put her picture in my blog, she’d say, “Some day.  Not yet.” I can picture the sunshine of her kind, curious, and loving face, right now.

Eleanor gave me these avocado socks …

… and I believe that the last time I saw her we had avocado toast, dining under the sun at a cafe near the shore.  There was such synchronicity and connection between us, we often finished each other’s sentences.

I took many photos yesterday, staring at the sun and the new reality that my long-time friend Eleanor had passed on.

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That last photo of a couple staring at the sun makes me think about Eleanor’s husband, Ira, who sent me the email yesterday about her passing.  May her memory be a comfort to him, her two children, and all who loved her.

As always, I’m staring at gratitude for all I have, here and now.

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Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Day 2659: We really don’t know how we affect other people

Two thousand, five hundred, and forty-one days ago (but who’s counting?), I wrote another blog post with the same title as this one.

We really don’t know how we affect other people.

Rhys — the welcoming, perceptive, kind, aware, attentive, versatile, soulful, generous,  and lovable server at Junior’s restaurant in New York City — really didn’t know how he affected me until I published yesterday’s blog post (and today’s!).

I really didn’t know how I affected Rhys until he showed me his instagram account yesterday and asked to get some pictures with me yesterday.

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I really don’t know how I affect other people by sharing thoughts and images here, including these:

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I’ve encountered so many people during my experience at this year’s American Group Psychotherapy Association conference. They really don’t know how they affected me, which was profoundly.

Perhaps McCoy Tyner, the incredible jazz pianist who died yesterday, didn’t really know how he affected other people.  Here‘s one of the most affecting pieces of music I’ve ever heard (performed live in Berlin in 1990):

Here‘s the recording of “Fly with the Wind” which has affected me for decades:

Here‘s another incredible piece from the same album:

We really don’t know how we affect other people unless we tell each other. I want to tell you how I grateful I am for all of you, every day.

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Categories: group therapy, in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 2641: Feet First

Yesterday, when I was walking down the street with my feet first, I heard “Feet First” from the album Street Dreams by the late, great keyboardist Lyle Mays.

My first thought was “Tomorrow’s blog is going to include ‘Feet First’ and photos with feet!”

The first photo I took was of my own feet on the street.

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And as I walked through the day with my feet first, I realized, again, how much it helps to take life one step at a time.

Here are the other feet I captured yesterday:

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Now it’s time for me to step through another day, feet first.

Thanks to Lyle Mays, artists,  cats, and all who help me step through life feet first, including YOU!

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Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 2637: Please be considerate

Please be considerate and tell me which of these photos you like best and why.

Please be considerate and join me in paying homage, again, to one of my favorite musicians , the late great Lyle Mays.

Please be considerate and accept this short and simple post, because I am in the middle of considering so many obligations right now.

Please be considerate of how grateful I am for all who consider my blog worth visiting, including YOU.

Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 2634: Heartland

Today, my heart is heavy because one of my favorite musicians — Lyle Mays (appearing in posts here, here, here, here, here , here, here, here, here, here, here, here, herehere, here, here, here, and here) — passed away yesterday.

Yesterday, not knowing that Lyle had passed, I took pictures of hearts.

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Music is one of the universal languages of love, and here is Lyle (about the age when I first saw him play) and Pat Metheny performing one of their many compositions which will live forever in my heart: “(Cross The) Heartland.

Whatever Lyle wrote and played, it landed directly in my heart.

Here‘s “Mirror of the Heart” from Lyle’s first solo album:

 

Pat Metheny wrote this on his website:

‘Lyle was one of the greatest musicians I have ever known. Across more than 30 years, every moment we shared in music was special. From the first notes we played together, we had an immediate bond. His broad intelligence and musical wisdom informed every aspect of who he was in every way. I will miss him with all my heart.”

My heart goes out to all who loved Lyle and his music.

Thanks for joining my heartland, today.

 

Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 2619: What do you have to say?

What do you have to say when a 41-year-old sports superstar, his 13-year-old daughter, and seven other irreplaceable people die in a helicopter crash?

Maybe you don’t have to say anything.  Maybe you can just be.

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When I typed in “moment of silence” on YouTube, it automatically filled in “moment of silence for Kobe” and shared this, this, this, this, and this:

Also moments of silence for Gianna Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, John AltobelliChristina Mauser, and all who died tragically.

Thank you, again,  for being here, now.

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Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 2548: Fortunate

Last night, before we were fortunate enough to see “Parasite” — an incredible movie about the fortunes of families from very different classes  — Michael and I got bubble-gum fortunes at a restaurant nearby.

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While I wasn’t fortunate enough to get a comic and fortune that was cut properly, Michael was.

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If I had been fortunate enough to get that fortune about being anxious to achieve something very important and succeeding, I would have greatly appreciated that view of such a fortunate future.

Earlier that morning, I was fortunate enough to capture the images of birds flying around and around our home, casting shadows on the blinds.

Are birds flying around and around  your home considered fortunate?  I was fortunate enough to find this online article about bird superstitions and myths.

Later in the day, I was fortunate enough to attend a beautiful memorial ceremony for my beloved colleague Deb Carmichael.

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I believe all of us at the memorial service felt fortunate to have the opportunity to write down on those index cards our thoughts about our good fortune in knowing Deb, so we could share those with Deb’s family.

I felt fortunate when one of the speakers at the memorial service quoted something I often say:

The pain of the loss is directly proportional to the importance of the connection.

We were all fortunate to hear a song that Deb had personally chosen to be sung at her memorial service by a member of our shared professional organization and home: The Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy.  While you won’t be fortunate enough to hear that rendition today, here is the song:

 

I feel fortunate that I can share my other photos from yesterday with you, here and now:

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Please be grateful for every fortunate moment we get to share together.

Love,

Your fortunate blogger

Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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