Dear Laura,
I have nothing prepared to write, but I woke up thinking of you. Today is your birthday, and Linz went down south to be with Dare and Cin. And you. To be with you. I have been thinking about you a lot, and I am sorry to say that my thoughts often turn to the unfairness of this year, the illness, the suddenness. I will work harder to drop the anger.

My friend on Union Street is a man named Dave. I have mentioned him before, both in this blog and in conversation, because his life nudges mine.
Today he accompanied me to my bus stop, which was a sweet and gentlemanly gesture, though I think his motivation was more because he did not want our conversation to end. He had just had his cast removed, and he wanted to update me on his leg's progress.

My mother was visiting her mom, my Grandma Betty, at her current nursing home. Every time she visits my Grandma "Buttsy", she usually sends picture texts or videos or random quotes that my Grandma blurts.
Last week she texted me this:
"Some lady at her table just stole her drink and Mom said, “THANK YOU. AND BY THAT, I MEAN THANK YOU FROM ME.” Then she winked at her. ??? Crazy town!!"
I really appreciated my mom using the phrase "Crazy Town" in reference to her mom. For some reason, this tickled me greatly.
So I immediately replied:

You are awake before the sun has cracked
the not yet simmering surface of San Francisco,
and it feels good.
It is not as cold as it looks,
and it feels good.
On the walk up to the cross
the smell of trees and
flowers in the morning
punctures through the fog.
You look up to see a hawk floating.
It is not soaring, or diving, just hovering.
Have you ever seen a real-life, God-formed Beacon?
Follow the breathing guide, and see the city.
Look below at the city that squeezes your insides

On Saturday, February 27th, I left the hospital with a reluctant feeling of despair. I had been fighting the despair for so long, but for some reason I could no longer resist. I gave in to the maddening. Helplessness. Anger. My windshield wipers whipped almost as furiously as my eyes blinked back the burning tears. I had been diligently praying and waiting for a miracle, and I was sick of being denied. I cursed. I talked to myself and my God, out loud, not caring what other afternoon drivers would think if they happened to look over. Sadness wrestled with rage for dominion.

Waves crashing
Uncle passing.
Laguna Beach, where he lived and loved.
We watched a slideshow
of photos old and new, healthy and sick,
and I leaned forward
to whisper into my cousins' ears,
"Your dad sure was a handsome man."
Handsome, generous, and funny.
Stablein funny.
We loved our Uncle Jeff.
The next day, with no way of knowing,
Grandma Betty asked if someone had died
And no one was telling her.
Then she asked specifically after Uncle Jeff,
The very next day!

I amuse people. Most people consider this to be a good thing, for who doesn't want to be a source of amusement to their friends and loved ones? It is a good thing, most of the time, and I am happy to produce a laugh, or a smile, and often I will dance like a ridiculous, bouncing jester to achieve such a reaction. But what I mean is that I amuse people because of my convictions. I am so serious about it sometimes, which makes them less serious, which makes it harder for me not to get defensive. Two things I do not want to be: defensive, or judgmental.

And I wonder. I wonder, can you decipher the difference between tears of joy and tears of sorrow? If you see a stranger with watery eyes, dragging their sleeve across their sniffles and mouth, would you be able to tell? The next question I have, is do you then ask the obligatory question of them, “Are you alright?” When it is your friend crying, your loved one, one would presume you would know the variation between happy eyes and sad eyes, maybe even varying levels of the two. But maybe not. Maybe I presume too much, or ask too much. I do that sometimes.

Let's root together.
Let's root for Laura.
Let's root for my Grandmas,
Both of them!
Let's root for my cousins, Sally, Angie, and Melanie.
Let's root for my cousins' kids, Jacob, Tony, and Kidd.
Give a shout out to family,
to your sisters and brothers,
to your mothers and fathers.
Let's hope.
Thank your friends.
Love on one another.
Let's turn this year around.

An ICU hospital waiting room is an interesting place. I venture to say that it is like no other place I have ever been to, let alone spent days at a time. This weekend, I spent hours in a nondescript, faded box of a room, with a door on each of the four walls. The elevator on one side, the restroom directly across, the sliding glass patio door, and the entrance to the hospital rooms. Every time one of the three doors opened, for the patio door remained locked, people's heads would turn in the direction of that subtle sound. It was uncanny.