The Bucket List or How to Set Yourself Up for a Lifetime of Disappointment

First, let me point out that I know this whole “Bucket List” concept is now part of the lexicon thanks to a 2007 Rob Reiner work that I enjoyed but refuse to watch anymore because I always end up a blubbering mess at the end. Having confirmed long ago that I am allergic to my own tears, and not enjoying the sensation of my eyes swelling shut or having to breathe through my mouth for an hour, I have forgone the viewing of this movie permanently. However, I do recommend it if you have not seen it, you enjoy a tear-jerking  “dramedy” (comedy-drama) and you can tolerate your own bodily fluids better than I.

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When The Laughter Stops – RIP Joe Bodolai

I read today that Joe Bodolai took his own life.  Here’s one of the stories.

I was not familiar with Joe, though I’ve probably experienced his work through his writing on SNL and “The Kids in the Hall”.

But I decided to read his last blog post, which every article about him seems to be referencing. I guess I’m drawn to those types of things, but I also thought that maybe I’d get some incite into why someone would end their life.

So I read it. All of it. It’s a long post. And it made me so very sad.  It’s easy to Sunday morning quarterback and box up a person neatly into this or that category. Especially if we don’t know them. But what is the sum of a life? Truly, he wrote this not from a bright and shiny place in his life. He may have already planned his end. Or did his rumination lead him to make a tragic, spur of the moment decision? We will never know.

Here is the link to his blog. Give it a read. Rest in peace, Joe. Give the angels something to laugh about.

Why, Rocket Man?

In 1983, we lost my cousin Donna to cancer. She fought it for two years, valiantly, until she lost her battle while at Sloan Kettering in the city. They did all they could for her and my family still has a deep appreciation for all their efforts.

Donna and I were the same age and she was the apple of everyone’s eye. We all knew she was the favorite in the family, but for some reason we were ok with it, even before she became ill. In my eyes she was perfect, though I’m sure she was only human, like the rest of us.

Mom and Donna

To say it was a major blow to our family when she passed would be the understatement of the century. I had been away at college during most of her battle, and had come home only months before the end. My sorrow has always been tinged with guilt for not being there for her.

Then there’s Elton John. He doesn’t know about this connection, of course, and I’ve been trying for the last 18 years to figure this out. But here’s what happened. A few days after Donna’s funeral, as I was driving down the road, Elton John’s song “Rocket Man” came on the radio.

I burst into tears, and almost drove right off the road.

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No words

How can I title this? An entire family was found dead in my town, evidently the victims of a murder-suicide on the part of the father.

I simply can’t wrap my head around it. No matter how angry a person might be, how in holy hell does a human being kill their own children? For the love of all that IS holy, if anything is anymore, how does a man look upon the beauty and miracle of his own babies and pull the trigger on a 12 gauge shotgun while they lay in their bed sleeping?

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Carpe Diem

My mother-in-law passed away just over a year ago, and my father-in-law is just beginning to show signs of emerging from a most understandable funk. I’m more than glad for him. I think he and I have had more meaningful conversations now than in the entire previous twenty years we have known each other.  Not quite the phoenix rising, but more like a bird pecking his way out of a shell. And I’m happy for him.

So it was most unfortunate when he lost just about everything in a river storm surge during the part of Hurricane Irene that hit us here in New York. This included his car. Surprisingly, he took it all in stride.

The conversation between his children then had to turn to finding him a home AND a new car (and some clothes and shoes as well). Sent out on his own one day, he put a deposit on a BMW, sight unseen, and with no haggling whatsoever. One daughter put the kabosh on that.

And so back and forth they went. He told them a number of times how he’s always wanted a Mercedes Benz or a BMW. His daughters, being logical, smart young women who care deeply for their father, discussed the merits of an Acura over a Lexus. Something sensible. His son, my husband, vacillated between his father’s dream and sensibility.

A phone call from sister to brother, she calling from the back of a New York City taxi cab to discuss the same topic, may have made the decision a little easier.

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