Last Christmas with Mom

My mother died on December 9, a little over a week ago. The ravages of pneumonia were too much for her tiny frail 91 year-old body. She spent her final days in inpatient hospice care. This unassuming wing of a quiet Albuquerque hospital was like a Zen monastery – serene and oddly sublime. Here, she was finally able to get relief from her suffering and to rest comfortably as she settled in for her transition. The hospice nurses were some of the most compassionate people…

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One Fan’s Letter to Richard Sherman

Dear Richard, It’s not like I didn’t know it was coming. It had been all over social media and sports radio for days. Still, when the official news broke, it hit me like a sledgehammer. I was at my desk at work and lost my breath for a moment. My gut knotted up. I was expecting it, but it still felt so surreal. The next day, you signed the deal with the 49ers. Any lingering hope that you might come back to the Seahawks was…

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Driving 55

Today is my 55th birthday. The Sammy Hagar tune “I Can’t Drive 55” keeps running through my head. It occurs to me that someday my kids will take my car keys away from me. After all, I am creeping closer to that golden age. I just hope to God that when they do, it’s the result of a high speed chase across multiple counties and not because of some embarrassing fender bender in a Costco parking lot. But back to the birthday, it’s a weird…

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Mom of a Nomad. Round Two.

Seattle, May 2016 As he put a few remaining things into his backpack and took care of a couple last minute tasks, like vacuuming his room and boxing up his computer, it took everything I had to keep from crying. Trying not to cry takes enormous effort. It’s like wrestling a bear or beating back a wildfire. My chest constricted. It was hard to breathe. A swell of sadness rolled through my body, too strong to contain or manage. But I…

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A Parent’s Grief

Last week, I received the heartbreaking news that a friend’s very young son had died. This child was a tiny warrior with an old-soul demeanor. He endured more challenges in his short time here than many of the rest of us will face in a full lifetime. Despite his suffering, however, he seemed to float above it all– Zen-like, calm and full of love. When I heard of his passing, I was stricken with an immediate and crushing sadness, not only for his death but…

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The Hardest Goodbye

On Saturday morning, my 21-year old son Emmett took off on an extended road trip to explore the United States and, possibly, points south in Mexico and Central America. He loaded the last of his camping gear into his car and we said our goodbyes. Although I tried very hard not to, I cried. Aside from a few stops to visit friends in a couple of states, Emmett has no firm itinerary. His plan is to be nomadic. I won’t know where he is. I…

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The Scariest Post I’ve Ever Written

We’re all reeling from this week’s heartbreaking news about Robin William’s suicide. He was a ferocious soul with a soaring talent. He grabbed our hearts with the first “nanu nanu” and his mad unpredictable genius delighted us for decades. Oh how we loved him. And now in the wake of his death, we collectively grapple with this crushing loss and with the hard truth of Robin’s long battle with depression. Obviously, I don’t know any details about his life or the events leading up to…

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Mantra For a World Gone Mad

  It seems the world has gone mad.       There are airstrikes (again) in Iraq. Brief, uneasy ceasefires notwithstanding, there is fighting (still) on the Gaza Strip. Ebola continues its somber rage across West Africa. Airplanes are blown from the sky or fall silently to points unknown and never found. Closer to home, frightened children are detained at the border. Mothers fall to their knees as senseless shootings crackle through summer nights again and again and again. Smart and willing souls struggle to find…

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Grace & Love

  It seems that all roads lead back to grace and love. For the past several days, I’ve watched as a community has shared collective grief over the untimely passing of one of its own– Joshua Wolff, who died yesterday from pancreatic cancer. Joshua was a highly regarded jazz pianist and even more, a great spirit who clearly touched the hearts of many. From the time of his diagnosis, just over a week ago, to his death yesterday, Joshua’s friends and family have held a…

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The Lessons We’re Always Learning

 Emmett stopped by my apartment briefly yesterday. He was swinging by to raid the fridge and to show me the new tattoo that he’d just gotten in honor of his fallen comrade, Nap. I hadn’t seen him since Nap’s memorial last week. He dropped in late afternoon and his visit was brief.  Emmett comes and goes like that. Still, it was good to see his face and to see with my own eyes that he is doing OK.  Nap’s memorial was held in the Paccar…

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