Sunday, December 03, 2006

One Visit Will Convince You

After my dad died, I spent an enormous amount of time glued in front of the television watching Six Feet Under. I had to teach, of course, and keep up a minimum of personal hygiene, had to move into a new place (I'd signed a lease the day before he died), and deal with the endless stream of paperwork and new duties relating to his death, but when I remember that time, I remember being cold and tired and watching Six Feet Under, the great HBO show about a family that runs a mortuary. I could relate to lots of characters on the show -- David, an uptight gay man, the son who stays and takes on a family duty to the business that he doesn't entirely love, Claire, the youngest, an artist in training, Brenda, the love interest for the oldest son Nate, a sex/drug addicted headcase with an IQ out the roof, and her brother Billy, my favorite character, another artist with lots of issues. I'd watch the show and feel, if not better, than less bad. I wasn't expected to smile or enjoy myself -- the show, while being very funny, didn't sugarcoat misery and for that, I was grateful. Perhaps one of the insult to injury parts of having something bad happen to you is the duty you feel to assure everyone that everything is okay, that you're okay, and that everything will be fine.

The show ended, of course, as a show about death pretty much has to, with a death of a main character and the deaths of all the characters projected into the future. By the time it did, I was through the worst of the initial dark period of my own grief. When I see reruns now, I think about that time and sometimes I even miss it. When the worst of anything is over, you're left with the dull pain of ordinary time, the deep ruts of despair that replace raw shock. Once I passed a psychic's house with a neon sign that said, One Visit Will Convince You. Of what, who knew? Sometimes the here and now is as much as you can understand, sometimes not even that.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"Through intense desire, I wander through samsara." Tibetan Book of the Dead

Cocktail Hour

Drinking movie suggestion: Prime

Benedictions and Maledicitons

Special thanks to Hank's beautiful mother, Donna B., for writing me about this brief clip of Hank on YouTube. Nobody adored technology like Hank did -- I know he'd be thrilled!


Special said...

Hank look like "The Pawnbroker" guy in "The Heat of the Night."

JR's Thumbprints said...

I'm sure the psychic had a money back guarantee, but could convince you of how you felt at that given time and place. I may not be able to see Hank on YouTube due to working off a crummy phone line. I'll try.

paul said...

Cajun Q back at the OM
Hank look like my kinda picker
Foxy Lady Cajun Queen
Mighty Isis on the scene
R2 C2 OM FOxy!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Michelle, this was an open, poignant posting. I can truly relate, you know. That year, three out of four of us lost a parent. It was a strange, sad time.
I know those feelings of "dull." Sharp pains remind me that I am alive. Dull ones remind me of the constant, nagging whatever that won't allow me peace. Extreme grief is a separate reality and feels REAL in some odd way. Ordinary time is surreal in the way nothing seems to fit where it belongs.
Be well.
PS I LOVE Prime . . . and the "little knitted cap" sent me over the top!

Anonymous said...

Michelle, your writing is amazing! How you can keep this up day after day astounds me. ;)

The Walking Man said...

I've been to 8 funeral homes and have been tied to 9 deaths this year so far, no I am not a salesman, and have seen more of the grief brought on by death this year than I cared to.

One of those 9 deaths was my moms but she gave the cadaver to U of M to do whatever they wanted with.
Probably help feed the herd of cows in their agricultural program.(Trying to introduce mad Mary syndrom into the food chain)[ok morbid joke but fuck it if you know me you know that is me]

Not many people asked me how I was doing at the time and them that did got the honest answer..."fine." And I was and still am 6 months later.

I caused a nonsensical argument among my sibs so they would have something to be pissed at, which is what all dysfunctional families need to get through these events. I let it go on for a week, even though i cared about the issue less than a minute, and then let the other 4 win because I really just wanted them in the anger they use to deal with most of thier normal lives and not full of the tears and crap that I really hate dealing with; especially as they would not have accepted the comfort of the truth.

I know how your dad seperated Michelle and that was more hurtful to me than that he went along. Hurtful to me because it was so hurtful to you, I find no capacity to mourn the dead but rather to empathize with the living. And don't misunderstand me, of all of my siblings I am the one most like my mother except she didn't have my warped personality parts.

But while the others went on with their careers and i just fixed cars; her and i could always talk for hours over nothing, I look at it like it was time for those 51 years of talks to end because she had somewhere else she needed to be, asleep with her ancestors.

I am too cheap for premium channels and so had to watch the grief and humor in the reality of those that don't think like I do about dying and that too, was plenty enough for me.

Do I miss her and the others? Yes some more than others but they are dead to this reality so I think of them on occasion, but I grieve for the living and there is plenty of that going on in my heart.

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle, this is such a lovely post and view, as always. I am not sure that I recognize this setting but it surely is Detroit friendly. I am so sorry about your friend Hank. Prayers and a toast to you dear girl.

Anonymous said...

hmm... yes, hygiene is important! haha

student no. 00 said...

Glad to see him play! What a slide player! He's outstanding and glad I am to have seen it. I play electric slide, and do damn good getting those beautiful almost psychadelic wails to fall right out of the speakers.

Very sweet blues player and a damn shame he died. I remember when you broke the news about it in 121. You were so sad, though your feminine but tough voice was even. I felt my heart beat heavy in sympathy.
But that was then. seeing the video brought a human and artistic face to Hank Balanger that I didn't ever get to meet while he lived. But he lives on enough for us to share.

00 said...

i ain't no hank, on slide or anything. You've introduced me to him enough through your writing to know he's a unique as you are.