Awhile back I mentioned these holidays have been harder for me than usual. I’ve always loved them, but this year, I’m happy to see them go.
Here’s why: Beth broke her hand. That sucks for both of us. I miss my mother, my father, and my sister. And in the past few weeks three people I care about and I like a lot lost a parent. Two of those parents were not spring chickens, one was too young. But what’s too young? It sucks. It hurts. Your world is different from that point on.
And all this reminded me of my mother, who died December 9, 1992, two days after her birthday. And that reminded me of how my mother would get a little psycho every holiday season. Well, a lot psycho. And that reminded me of learning why—or probably why.
Esther’s first husband (my father was her second and last)–Belden Anderson, a strapping guy from Oklahoma who’d I’d give anything in the world to spend ten minutes with, was badly burned in an oil refinery fire in Bakersfield, California before Christmas in 1953. Third degree burns, most of his body. He told my mother that he had a knife in his jacket pocket. He asked her to find the jacket, and the knife, and use it to kill him. He lived two or three weeks that way. My sister was six months old. I didn’t exist.
My mom was the craziest, toughest person I’ve ever met. And that’s saying something.
Seriously, though, back to our friends who lost parents and how their lives are different forever now. One of them is about the age I was when I lost my father. The others are contemporaries. But again—is there a good time?
Roy comes at the end of every year for a kind of residence. It’s a gift.
I have never ever seen a better live performance. Any genre. Any club. Any arena. I’m not kidding. The individual virtuosity combined with unselfishness, well. I don’t know how to put it. Beautiful. It about brought me to tears. It was human-made awesomeness on par with The Grand Canyon. Or the ocean. I’m not kidding. You can ask Beth.
And I thought, it’s not all bad. It’s worth striving. It’s worth practicing.
Happy New Year friends, and keep at it.