Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Moment with Marcie-Epilogue

It was the most clear and concrete long dream I have had of her, this last one, and there was of course a lot that I left out. But I think what was most striking, both in the garden and tea house-cum-shrine-cum pagoda, was how direct Marcie was.

One of the things that most bothered Marcie was that I took my time to decide on a course of action or a matter at hand. It frustrated her.

In most of my dreams, there is a modicum of control. I can manipulate the world at will around me and change the scene however I like. But in dreams with Marcie, things do not always work my way.

However, our conversations have always been very soft. This last dream was much more eye-to-eye, There was something she needed.

I always ask myself if what we dream is simply the firing of random neurons and nothing more. This always has put a sad little doubt in my dreams of her. But I think what Marcie's message was went well beyond, "I am real."

Marcie, in the place she visited me, wanted me to see these visits as just that and take them at face value. We discussed them long before she passed and she promised me them. She also said she might not know how she would feel about it.

Marcie was concerned I would never move on. She was right in her own way. I will take my time, likely infuriating her with my "Hemming and hawing" as much as this post, "agonizing" and analyzing the dream, probably makes her toss her hands up, roll her eyes and sigh.

Inasmuch as she can, that is.

What strikes me is not that she simply says, "I am who I am." That came across very strongly in my dream. Her honeymoon with the hereafter and her confusion were not even on the table. Her eyes were open and she was playful but sharp and incisive.

Of course, the question remains as to whether or not the dream is just a random firing of neurons that line up in a very favorable or enjoyable way. I think her answer is that it doesn't matter.

Mine is that as well. I agree with her reasoning, that she will be with me whether I decide she is not there (and suffer), or decide she is and embrace it. But I also agree for my own reason.

Even if everything is the pseudo random or random firing of neurons as far as how we perceive and experience the world and our minds in a dream state, the fact that Marcie did not "guess" what I was thinking and was off a bit was very important.

We can convince ourselves of anything, but the fact that something in me wants to be convinced to have an open mind on this situation and its implications.

So my reasoning is this: in life we were two people who grew to become a part of each other in addition to being our own separate selves. That which I took in from Marcie continues within me. I did not always agree with or understand her, and she did not always agree with or understand me.

That being said, it does not matter if she is made of memories and patterns and thoughts, or she is simply a soul coming to visit me when I am open to her or most able to sense her. That is not important or valuable.

The fact that I can experience her and her motives and personality in such a detailed way that we still do not have the same mind on things, that she left in me an understanding and a bit of her will so strong it makes its point and mistakes mine means I can continue to learn from her.

I don't care what the nature of it all is, as far as her presence's source.

Some ask me about all of this and faith. f it is a question of faith, then I will simply say that what faith I have is vested in the idea that we all continue to affect the universe as the ripples of our presence , relationships and actions multiply and go on.

That the phenomena that we collect around our existence, which can be said to describe us, now may lack one companion, "physically alive," in their company does not mean that they do not grow in number, or that we no longer direct them to.

I enjoy that she is still there at all, and I would rather agonize a little than decide, then get too hard-headed and -hearted to accept that beautiful maybe it all implies. And if I am just enjoying a little ripple of her presences, then it's a good wave to ride.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Moment with Marcie Pt. 2

"Honey, there is no answer, there is nothing at all," she said. "What I am, right here and now, is what I am."

I felt a little let down and I bit my lip as I looked up at her with my head bowed a bit, but she stopped me cold. I felt a little less than enlightened.

"Let me ask you, honey," she said. "Do you believe in me, being here with you right now, or do you believe I am just some thought you had or some story you lived? Because right now, I feel like you think I am memories turned into, I don't know, a mannequin or something."

And though the hurt in her voice and its tone, combined with her upturned hands, was so very touching to me, I was at first ready to cave in, and it occurred to me that what had been in my thoughts was very different from what she had said.

I shook my head and she shrugged, questioning with a look and on the verge of tears. She was rarely so vulnerable in life.

"I was thinking," I said, my throat tight. "I was thinking that it is very nice to see you and it is nice to have you here in a way I remember my little redhead."

And she was in my arms and I simply absorbed the sensation of it, the softness of her, the warmth and her breath on my neck.

"I know you miss this, honey," she said. "I know you do."

And she sounded almost insecure, questioning. But I knew there was no question that I missed holding her in my arms.

"I miss you, I miss you so much. I miss everything, especially just being with you," I said, stroking her hair gently, her soft and thick mane of red, her head and her nape.

She looked up and closed her eyes as she asked, "Then why do you agonize and hem and haw over me so much?" she asked me.

I kissed her forehead and took a breath. "I don't mean to," I said. "But I just didn't know what to think of all these dreams."

She held my hand and she walked with me, up to the little tiny door on the pagoda, and smiled, then opened it, pulling me into it. I did not squeeze in so much as I simply popped into a different place.

Marcie walked out in a qipao with a tray, her hair up in a rare favorite of mine, a single bun, chopsticks through it. I smiled as she lowered the tea and varied sweets onto the table I kneeled at.

"I know it's a qipao and I should wear a kimono," she said. "But you like qipaos on me."

I nodded and looked down at my own kimono and shrugged. "I like you in a kimono," she said. "I liked that kimono from Okinawa."

It had been eaten by moths in Humboldt County after I stored it away in my closet. I had been too chubby for it. I had also forgotten it.

"Thank you," I said, smiling as she poured me the tea. I felt so very comfortable.

"So there's more," she said, matter of factly. "It bothered me that you thought of me as maybe just a figment or a memory or a dream."

I nodded, "I didn't mean to hurt you."

"Pfft, you didn't hurt me," she said. "I can't be hurt. But if you keep it up, you are going to hurt yourself."

I didn't get her, really, and my mind was reeling already. I was usually almost able to predict the course of the conversation, the tone and flavor of it. Now I was distinctly out of sorts and a million things to say, to do and to think vied. But I listened instead, very gladly.

"Agonizing," she said, smiling up at me. "You always, always agonized. Everything was complicated and full of implications, nothing was ever simple. Except one thing."

I sipped my tea and carefully set it down as she sipped and smiled back. "I never had any questions about how I felt about you," I said.

She held her hand to her face and bit her lip as she spoke, looking up at me as she tailed off, "You never left any question. I could not question your love."

She came around the table and kneeled next to me, her hand sliding down my arm and into my own.

"I want you to know that I still don't have any questions about us," she said, her blue eyes, the green flecks shining as I listened. "Nothing you do will make me change how I feel towards you."

I nodded and held her hand, squeezing, and said, "I know. Thank you."

She set her tea down and took my hand in both hers, earnestly rubbing it between them. "You need to decide how you want to see my visits and just accept them, or reject them," she said. "Because no matter what I am, you will only know me now as you decide to."

I nodded and she kissed my cheek. "I am not just a memory," she said. "I am not some thing you made up in your head."

"Okay," I said, pain turning me to gasps.

"Frank," she said. "I will be here for you, but if you keep telling yourself that you're making it all up as you go along, it won't matter. But if that is what you need, then do what you need to do."

I turned and kissed her cheek, and she let go of my hand and hugged me, then slipped into my lap. We were silent, and as I slipped into a sleep within a sleep I awoke.

And I still smelled her and tasted her kiss, and for a second my critical, doubting mind was silent and my heart was light.

I have thoughts on my dream to share next time.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Moment with Marcie

I have missed her, though she has been in my dreams, alive and well, her body no longer infirm and her countenance unmarred by the fear and pain the gnawing of cancer inflicted on her. Sometimes, her appearance has been fantastical and her demeanor absolutely supportive.

But those have not been the most important visits. Of late, there have been few because of how little I sleep. I stay awake into the wee hours and plan and work, then wake and work at the school district. Sometimes, I seek out a little company and stay out late instead of in.

Last night, I dreamed of her for the first time in a long time. Perhaps it was because my work is beginning, or perhaps because my life is on the verge of changing wildly yet again. But what stuck out was how very present she seemed and how engaged. We had a strong, real conversation.

It's still haunting me.

I walked into a garden and saw a Buddhist treasure tower. Red and white, with intricate inlays and detailed carving, I stood near it and felt my awareness slowly open. I was dreaming.

"I'm in the Japanese Friendship Garden," I said, smiling. "I can stay as long as I want. It's my dream, and the garden can be as big as I want it to be."

The hair on the back of my neck stood on end a moment as I touched a beautiful pink Camellia. I listened to the wind in the trees. I felt a lump in my throat as I realized that I would usually be stealing bloom for her at this point.

"Of course you would," her familiar and smiling, mischievous voice rang out.

I knew I was dreaming. I bit my lip and my eyes burned. I wfelt tears in my sleep, I thought.

"Oh, my god, would you buck up?" she said, much closer now.

I turned and nearly ran into her. I was startled and stepped back, but she stepped in and grabbed my hands, squeezing them. I was hugging her and felt a wave of relief as her smell and the feel of her skin sank into me with a familiarity I do not believe a simple memory could summon.

"Ooookay," she said, impatience in her tone. "Okay, honey. I know you love me. I'm here now. Are you okay?"

I looked into her eyes and saw so many little details in them. The greenish and white flecks, some large and distinct, others so familiar they were distinctive to me alone, likely. I nodded.

"Well, I need you to listen to me, honey," she said. nodding. Her hands lifted mine and lowered them.

I nodded. "Okay, honey," I said, wondering what my unconscious had to say to me now.

"Frank!" she said, her eyes hardening and widening a bit. "Don't you do that. You need to listen to me and hear me out. Don't dismiss me like that."

I looked at her and she turned her head askance a bit.

"I didn't say anything," I offered.

Her eyes narrowed a little. "You don't have to say anything. I don't have to hear anything. I know what you are thinking, and I can't tell you what to think, but you would probably do well to just hear me out."

I nodded and bit my lip, turning my head a bit and squinting. I felt tears again and blinked. "I'm sorry," I said. "I miss you."

Usually, the Marcie in my dreams would pulle me into her arms and hug me, whispering and soothing me. But this time, she broke down with me and her tears flowed.

"Oh, honey," she said, her voice almost disappearing in the high range. "I know. I miss you too, sweetie. I worry about you so much."

I took her in my arms, and I held her, and she buried her head in my neck again, for the first time since she had died, really. She kissed me and we sat until quiet returned.

I felt her warmth and smelled her hair again. My heart slowed. "I don't know what to think," I said.

She looked up and she shook her head. "You agonize so much," she said. "Sometimes you think I am your thoughts, sometimes I am my spirit, sometimes it is your memories. Do you want to know?"

I bit my lip and remembered the tears and the dreams and the visits and the strength she gave me, and then I looked down, unsure.

She turned her head and looked stern. I suddenly understood that I would not know unless I told her I wanted to.

"Yes," I said. "I want to know."

She smiled and her eyes watered then teared as she replied breathlessly, "Okay."

And when I had held her a little while, afraid of what i would learn, she began.

I cannot continue tonight. Tomorrow, I promise. It was a long visit.

Starting in an easier place

So, I have been dragging my feet on selling all of our stuff. With Marcie's goods, this is because it kills me to look at it all and sort through it. The items she owned, even the insignificant ones, point to her personality and tastes very strongly. With the televisions and the electronics, it is just that I have to find the market.

Next weekend I will do a test garage sale and Craigslist spree. I will essentially attempt to pare my life down to almost nil... again. However, this means that I will have to work on selling Marcie's things, too. I dread it.

I will start with my own items for now and our videos and DVDs. After that, books, perfumes and knickknacks. Gah. This is so going to suck...

I will post links to the craigslist-offered items for you folks to look at. Unfortunately, Amazon makes it tough to sell or link to items I post there... but I will try when I get to that point. There will be a media list before I put that on Amazon, so watc for that.

I promise a substantive post tonight. I had a dream of her last night.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Things to look forward to

I will be returning to our friends, Marcie's characters, visitors and urchins and their associated stories, in due time. Due time means this week.

I will be launching a new site which will correspond with my travels to places Marcie wanted to see and my visits to locations she would have wanted to experience in those places. Oddly enough, the first stop is not in her longer list, but someplace she always spoke to me of.

I am going to Hong Kong in the next months to help a friend launch his publishing empire into the web 2.0 world. I may end up with a piece of that empire for my help. I will also be making stops in Thailand for the Moon Festival and possibly stopping in Fiji for a day or two, another visit Marcie wished to make.

The die is cast.

I will also begin the long goodbye, a blog dedicated to her memorial journey itself. It is time to set the plan in motion and start my new life with those first few steps to honor and complete hers. But we are not done here by any means.

The goal is publication. I will entertain offers and ideas on how to monetize my ongoing efforts. I am also hoping to hear back from friends so I can plan a trip to San Francisco. This will, as stated before, be a scouting mission for my eventual resettlement.

That's the big news. I return you now to our regularly irregular programming.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Her Little Ways: That quiet whisper

Not every special moment in my time Marcie was some gigantic occasion or breakthrough event. My tendency, I believe, is always to reflect on those things I know were grand and now will simply not be. But I often miss, as I have noted, the little things she did even more.

If our love was a house and the pillars of it built by her included her charity, her ferocity, her wit and her tender ministrations, then her ways with me carved intricate inlays and myriad baroque embellishments on them. One of them I miss is the quiet, beckoning whisper.

Marcie appreciated simple moments of beauty or joy in the everyday. She also loved to share them when she could.

I shared her appreciation. However, I was always focused on a project or a plan and not often aware of them. I could also be prickly when suddenly barged in on and interrupted. But Marcie learned to get around it.

"Honey..." she would whisper. "Honey, come look at this..."

I could judge what it was by the look on her face and the tone of her voice. Something cute meant she would say it with a rising voice at the end, with mischievous cuteness being marked with a knowing half-chuckle. Her eyes would roll.

If it involved something that could be ruined by too much noise, she would whisper her entreaty with a little falloff in volume at the end and a gentle shush.
"Honey, come look at this... shh... quietly."

She would hold my hand or continuously crook her finger, turning, as she crept on her target, sometime a bird on the porch, or Seamus busily working on solving a locked door or a closed box of food. Sometimes it was a wild animal.

Those little words were soon used to interrupt her reading as I became more accustomed to, and attuned to, the same kind of appreciation. She too could suffer from tunnel-vision and a laserlike focus, especially with a new tome.

There were many little moments we enjoyed and shared because of that quiet beckoning.

It was just such a call that drew my attention to a pair of doves nesting in our porch plant on Suncrest Drive. It also brought me a view of a vole enjoying out birdseed and porch in Humboldt.

I cannot count the number of times that we sneaked up on Seamus in the throes of some deviltry, one or the other noticing his cleverness being turned to his whims or wants.

"Honey, come look at this..."

I miss those little words. But this weekend, while I was focused on some online work and paying bills, I felt that weird tingle on my neck I got when she would open my door and wait.

"Honey, come look at this..."

I did not hear the words or see her or anything so direct as much as I was acting on habit. I stood up from the chair I use for the computer desk and quietly walked to the back room, wondering what was going on.

Then I saw.

Seamus was inside a window between the glass and the screen at the back of the house. A few inches away, on the other side of the screen, was a green hummingbird, twittering and peeping at him, hovering.

Seamus chittered at the bird through a mouth full of slobber and the screen, eyes no doubt wide and pupils dilated.

He did not notice me, and I quietly backed out of the room, as she likely would have, not wanting to interfere with his moment. I walked into the bedroom before I realized what I was doing.

All I wanted to say was, quietly,
"Honey, come look at this..."

So I did. But who was showing what to whom I can't say.