Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Letting Go A Little More

I have carried these two cards in my wallet for five years. Today, I'm letting them go. Gonna mail them to myself—from the office to the house. When they arrive at home, I will put them in a memento box. The mailing part is something I made up. Don't ask me what it means. It's just a way to symbolize and formalize the letting go-ness.

I've carried these cards around for the exact reason you might think. They remind me of Scott. And I like to be reminded of him. Five years is a long time. 1,825 days. Almost the entire length of Pablo's life. In all those days, these cards made me happy, sad, angry and, ultimately, proud of the time Scott shared with me in his life. They always remind me of one thing Scott said to me the night before he died. I was sitting at the foot of his bed, my head on the covers. I was tired. Spent. Flattened. He was temperature immune—not in need of a blanket or a sheet, or even a shirt—just laying on his hospital bed, flitting in and out of sleep. As I lay in my study hall sleeping pose, I felt him lift his foot off the mattress. He rubbed the top of my head with his foot in a playful way. I looked up at him. In his almost-gone voice, he said something to me so simple, so hard for me to accept. Such a gift. He said, 'You're a good guy.' I felt so many things in the moments after those four words hit my ears. Seen is one of them. Scott always saw me, and always made me feel seen and heard. He took so much time out of his life to be interested in my life, particularly when I was in my formative years. Scott was seven years older than me, eight years older than Dean, so it's especially powerful that he reached back for us. The age disparity would rule that out in many peoples' lives.

I have tried to live up to Scott's assertion. Hasn't been easy. Sometimes I feel like a complete f*** up. Who doesn't?

Before I pull out the memento box, let me tell you about these cards.

The yellow one is a frequent drinker punch card from Intelligentsia in Chicago. This was years and years before Intelly Silverlake came about. In fact, Scott would have sold his house in Chicago and moved here in an instant if he'd have known this single fact. I swear! He'd be simply stunned at how supportive James Marcotte, Kyle Glanville and the Intelly LA crew have been with The Pablove Foundation. Scott, Dean and I started going to Intelly when there was only one location, on Broadway. Then they opened one in the lobby of the Monadnock Building in the Loop. That building was the first skyscraper. Right in the thick of the streets that Scott loved. The streets lined with buildings whose stories Scott knew by heart. When Scott was in the hospital that last time, he had a unquenchable thirst for Mexican Coke. In Chicago, you can't find that stuff as easily as you can in LA. Intelly had it. At one point, we'd bought both Loop locations out of stock. And he still wanted more!

The blue one is a Chicago Transit Authority card. I did many train rides from Midway and O'Hare airports to Scott's house south of Grant Park and the Loop. One time I got all the way to the Loop and realized I'd forgotten my suit in Midway. Had to jump off the train, drop down the stairs and ascend to the other side of the platform. It was my final and longest trip to Chicago. It was clear to Scott and to all of us that he was near the end of his life. That's why I was carrying a suit. I was frazzled running all the way back to Midway, feeling I was disappointing my brother by adding an extra 90 minutes to my arrival time. Plus, I didn't want to have to deal with buying a new suit if it had been nicked. In the end, all was alright. The damn suit bag was exactly where I'd left it, draped over the back of chair.

I feel better having told you all this. Thank you for listening.


Anonymous said...

your welcome.

It's good to remember.

Anonymous said...

During the many, many, many, many countless conversations we had back in high school there was always one topic that I remember you being passionate about...your brother Scott. I couldn't tell you where you lived in Milwaukee, but I could tell you that I knew your brother Scott lived in Chicago in the "LOOP". You were and still are a GREAT brother to him... he knew that you admired and looked up to and wanted to be like him. You still are a "good guy" .... I still pray for you and think about Pablo everyday when I look into my child's eyes. Love, Dana

Anonymous said...

During the many, many, many, many countless, pointless day to day nothingness we used to talk about in high school there was one thing I could tell you... That you loved your brother Scott. I couldn't tell you where you lived in Milwaukee, but I knew that Scott lived in Chicago in "The LOOP". One of the things I remember you being most passionate about was the love you had for your big brother. You wanted to achieve greatness in your life just as he had. Scott knew how much you admired and loved him...and you still are a Good Guy. I pray for you everyday and give Pablo my 3 minutes everytime I look into my son's eyes. Hang in there, good guy...because you have friends that love and admire you too... Love, Dana

Bianca said...

When people who love us tell us we're good people, they don't mean "except for when you're a f*** up". They see all that, they know exactly who we are, and are telling us that we, flaws and all, are good people. Scott wasn't offering you a goal to live up to -- he was trying to tell you that you're already there. Trust it.

Tish said...

You ARE a good guy, Jeff. Scott obviously knew you well, and I'm sure he and Pablo are nudging elbows all the time as they watch you in action. Be careful, though, because they're the ones who are directly connected to those in "high places"! :)

Hugs and Pablove to you, JoAnn and Grady.

Jen said...

Still listening. Love and hugs Jen

Heather said...

Always listening.Talk away.Probably is the best therapy going.Peace.Love.Scott.Pablo.Always.

Stephanie said...

Feels good to listen, even when it's tough words to hear.
As I sit here tonight, next to my boys hospital bed, I hear you and remember that the world is so much bigger than today. I know that soon this one will be behind us as all the others have come and gone.
That even in his moments of pain and frustration we are together when so many are not.
I remind myself that this will pass and soon there will be joy again.. and I am grateful.

You words remind me to hold on to the stuff that really matters.

margie said...

you have so much deep love to give...i pray that you are joann will be blessed with another life, to care for, to love and to nuture. Not to take Pablo's place, but to ease the loneliness and emptiness in your heart a bit. You have too much love and life in you to not have another child. Bless you.

MKPatrick said...

Reading, listening, learning, appreciating. Thank you Jeff, for sharing. You are a "good guy".
My two big brothers, Ed & Jim, are hanging with Scott & Pablo. Let's continue to do them proud!
Love to JoAnn & Grady.
Love & Light,
Mary Kay

James M said...

I've read enough of the pablog to know I'd bet my life on your ultimate sense of true north Jeff. There's no end to what's to be revealed, and endless thanks for the experience of allowing us to walk alongside as you find your way.

Anonymous said...

yes, still listening and reading and healing with you. Three minutes every day, at least!

Ms. Becky said...

still listeining, & you are most welcome~

When sorrow comes, let us accept it simply, as a part of life.

Let the heart be open to pain; let it be stretched by it.

All the evidence we have says that this is the better way.

An open heart never grows bitter.

Or if it does, it cannot remain so.

In the desolate hour, there is an outcry; a clenching of the hands upon emptiness; a burning pain of bereavement; a weary ache of loss.

But anguish, like ecstasy, is not forever.

There comes a gentleness, a returning quietness, a restoring stillness.

This, too, is a door to life.

Here, also, is a deepening of meaning – and it can lead to dedication; a going forward to the triumph of the soul, the conquering of the wilderness.

And in the process will come a deepening inward knowledge that in the final reckoning, all is well.

A. Powell Davies

Nancy said...

Still listening also. Some days your pain is so raw I feel so helpless to have words of comfort. You have experienced such love and such terrible losses in your life. Hang strong Jeff. Warm thoughts for your wonderful family.

Jen Berry said...

as i read this i am in Santa monica at the cancer center, watching my husband as he sleeps during chemo. i think your brother was right. you are a good man. you are a good father. you are a good brother. you are a good husband. and, you are a good support for people you don't even know.