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Good Grief.

on April 9, 2018 in Life Lessons

I have finally reached the age when funerals are more common than births in my circle of friends. O.K., so I’ve been at this age for some time, but I so love being in denial. It keeps me young.

When I was 30, I even made light of the whole death thing. The theme of the party was Grim Reaper, inviting people to watch me put my first foot in the grave. If I use my limited math skills, that would mean that I’m supposed to put my other foot in this year. Ain’t gonna happen.

At least I like to think it’s going to happen. As of late, some people fairly close to me have been passing away, often unexpectedly, so who really knows? Life seems to pass by like you’re in the passenger seat of a car. When you look out the front life seems like it’s barely moving, but look out the side window doing 70 and everything just flies right by. Don’t even get me started on with the rearview mirror.

Which brings me to the tougher subject. Those who pass get, well, something of a pass. They don’t have to pick up the pieces of their life or yours. Those remaining get to do all the heavy lifting, working through all those shitty stages of grief while everyone blows sunshine up their butt telling them it will all get better.

Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you move through all the stages – even revisit a couple along the way in a cruel circle of life way – only to end up on the other side, still missing the person every day.

It’s that way with my brother. I’ve written a lot about his passing when he was only 24 and I was 14. Losing a loved one at that age is particularly hard, especially a bigger than life brother who was also your hero. I never got over it. I never will. I think about him almost daily. People still wonder why I don’t go to any activities on Labor Day weekend. That’s when he died. I hardly feel like celebrating.

The sad parts about grief are: 1) there’s no time limit and 2) someone didn’t have to die to feel the same sense of loss.

They say that divorce brings on the same sense of loss and sadness. Sure, the other person is still alive (though oft times we wish they weren’t). But the relationship itself has died, along with many of your biggest hopes and dreams. It’s as if you were in that car again and the Thelma to your Louise suddenly slams on the brakes, opens the door and says “Get out!” There you are, not knowing what happened or what to do next.

I’ve suffered other losses over the years, my father in 1981 and my mother more recently. My dad was only 57. My mother lived a very long life and I had a lot of time to adjust to the fact that she was going to die someday, but to this day I still have her phone number in my phone and more than once, have tried to call her. (Geez, I’m tearing up just typing this).

Such is grief. Just when you think you got it licked, it comes back around and whacks you upside the head.

Therapists and so-called experts say that there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Yeah, right. Maybe in a cold, hard clinical setting. But in the real world of emotional upheaval, denial and anger along with that depression thing can be real doozies. And acceptance? Really? Why?

The truth of the matter is, life can really suck at times. And accepting that people or a relationship have died is damned hard, especially when you’re haunted by memories of the past.

With some people, those memories are grand and glorious. You want to wrap yourselves up in a blanket of them to get you through a cold night of reality.

But others, they aren’t so good. Especially when the other person is still living. You may not have moved on yet but they are still there, living an entirely new life, one that doesn’t have you in it.

How the hell do you move on from that easily? Since I’m something of an expert here, I will tell you that you don’t. It’s really easy when you’re the one moving on. There are no pieces to pick up.

But when you’re on the receiving end? It’s the worst. As I said, something or someone dies. And with that death, all your hopes and dreams for the future die too. One moment you’re rocketing down the road of life. The next, you’re standing on the side of the road, overwhelmed by all the baggage that got dumped on you.

It’s tough to move on either way. It’s hard to think that tomorrow will be better than today or that next year will be better than this one. Today sucks! So why shouldn’t tomorrow?

All we can really do is try our best to live in the moment we have. I still miss my brother, mother and father. Geez, I still miss my dog to the point where I can’t get a new one. I still grieve a little now and then. It doesn’t come in big waves like it used to. Now it’s just a little ripple once in a while. A ripple of sadness or moment of reflection that makes me wish things would have, could have, turned out differently.

It can’t or didn’t, of course. But that acceptance thing is a hard pill to swallow sometimes. I try my best to live in the moment these days, is it is all I’ve got. But some of my memories are still farm-fresh. And while I’d like to say that I’ve mastered those five stages of grief, every instance of loss offers up a new Rubik’s Cube of feelings that like to take their own time, surprising me and beguiling me with their endless twists and turns, causing me to wonder if I’ve really moved on at all.

Damn you death. Damn you divorce. Damn you grief.

In the Emerald City, putting all those emotional boxes back on the shelf for the day,

  • Robb



It’s Not That Simple.

on March 26, 2018 in The Soapbox

There’s a lot of experts in this world of ours these days. I see them on TV, on LinkedIn, and of course, our favorite soapbox, Facebook. They seem to have all the answers. Some even pretend to be thought leaders, whatever the hell that means! Lately, everyone seems to be an expert on gun violence. Those […]


Make It Happen, Cap’n.

on March 12, 2018 in Life Lessons

We are all so blessed to be alive. If you don’t believe me, consider the alternative. As I grow older, more and more people I know are passing on to their next journey. Some are older than I, which softens the blow, while others are younger, hitting home the message that you better enjoy every […]


Oh Tommy, Where Art Thou?

on March 5, 2018 in The Soapbox

Once again we’re back at each other’s throats about gun control. If you think this is an anti-gun or pro-gun RobZerrvation, think again. Blissfully in the middle of the political spectrum, I see all sides of the argument but adhere to none singularly. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a gun owner. I […]


A Leap Of Faith.

on February 26, 2018 in Life Lessons

It’s a brave person who steps off into the unknown, knowing that there’s no going back and no safety net to catch you if you fall. Such was the case with astronaut Ed White. He was the first American to step out of a spacecraft and go for a walk in the vast emptiness of […]


Well, Son Of A Gun.

on February 19, 2018 in The Soapbox

Another week, another senseless mass shooting followed by the usual call on one side for thoughts and prayers and on the other, gun control. In this case, a school was shot up by a kook and there are additional calls for arming teachers. Next week it could at a mall, movie theater or city park, […]


Idiot Lights For Everyone!

on February 5, 2018 in Randomalities

My car went on the blink last week. Literally. As you may recall, my Saturn VUE was a parting gift from my relationship in Florida. It has since been pressed into relatively light duty, driving about two miles to the transit center each day. It is a 2004, but still has only 108,000 miles on […]



on January 29, 2018 in Home Ownership

I’ve worried about stuff my whole life. Oh sure, you say, everyone worries. It’s just part of life. But me, I am an Olympic-level worrier, one who can conjure up the worst possible outcomes and then fester about them for days, weeks, months, even years on end. I even talked to my doctor about it […]


A Really Bitchin’ Kitchen.

on January 22, 2018 in Growing Up

I was trying to help my son with life this past week. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot of stuff, so I thought I would give him some pearls of wisdom to help him take a few shortcuts. This never works out, of course. I had mentioned that he had better bone up on […]


Rats In The Belfry.

on January 15, 2018 in Family

The noises are still going on in my house, but I have given up the idea that Willard 2 is being filmed secretly in my walls. It all started when winter set upon us. I had read somewhere that almost a third of all American homes experience a rodent problem at some point. Given that […]

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