riding bitch

The life of a writer and survivor of loss.


9 Comments

The Ties That Bind

Well, that was exciting. In the past 24 hours the blog has had over 1400 views, almost 100 new comments, close to 80 new followers, all from 20 different countries. I am humbled, grateful and slightly overwhelmed to say the least. Besides being a boost of confidence, these numbers feel like a cosmic reminder, of sorts, that Grief and its sister Love strike a universal chord. I am stating the obvious, of course, but for a reason.

All my life I have been drawn to work which encourages a feeling of universality, of oneness. This is why I fell in love with cinema, because of its ability to bring people together. Movies, music, literature, paintings, the arts in general, all have this ability to make us feel and experience something deeper than our differences. In the past few years, I’ve struggled to regain that inspiration and motivation, but the past 24 hours helped.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by, especially those who left comments. While I’m sorry that we have to deal with loss, it is a part of life as they say. We may come to experience it in different ways and from different perspectives, but the underlying theme is that people everywhere, regardless of race, religion, nationality, politics, sexual orientation, etc., have experienced love and loss on some level. We might not speak the same language or have anything in common, but on these very deep and personal matters we can relate to one another.

My last thought on the Freshly Pressed experience is actually a sentence I once used at the end of a movie trailer: Sometiemes the ties of humanity can bind even the worst of enemies.

Tomorrow it’s back to Industry Friday and thoughts on television writing.


8 Comments

Rolling with It

A friend recently said reading this blog is like “riding a rollercoaster.” I guess he’s right. There are and will be peaks and valleys as I continue to straddle the past and the future, sorrow and hope.

If you’ve ever lost anyone close, you know how hard it is to ride those waves of emotion that hit without warning and leave you breathless from impact. One such wave hit me this morning.

It was pre-dawn, the moment when the night’s darkness hasn’t yet started to lift. The past few days I’ve allowed Ruby out of her crate around this time for a bit of snuggle time before our busy day begins (I know I’m breaking crating rules). This morning, as we lay in the silence/darkness, the puppy fast asleep, a wave came out of nowhere and I started sobbing.

But I couldn’t pinpoint the trigger this time. Was it the pressure of the warm little body next to mine reminding me of the larger warm body that used to lie beside me (and she can never replace)? Was it the hour itself, the same time I used to wake him for medication when he was on hospice? Or the semi-dark lighting, in which we would sometimes wordlessly make love before our alarms went off (in happier days), after which he would rise out of bed smiling, “Good morning” and head off for the shower.  [I once asked him if he ever flashed to our morning trysts later in the work day, like during staff meetings. “Yeah, and I also whistle in the elevator on those mornings,” he answered.]

Maybe all of the above. It lasted a while this morning, until the sun came out. At one point, Ruby woke up and rolled onto her back to look at me curiously. “It’s okay. I’m okay,” I told her. She rolled over and went back to sleep.

Later, after dropping her off at daycare, I listened to his voicemails I still have saved:

May 15, 2010 Hey babe, what’s going on? I guess you’ve gone to sleep already. Just walkin’ home from the Metro, figured I’d give you a call and see how you were doing. But I guess I’ve missed you, so I will catch you tomorrow. Have a good night, sweet dreams, love you, talk to you later, bye.

February 20, 2011 Hey babe, how’s it going? Guess you might be sleeping already, it’s a little bit after 11. Give me a shout if you can tonight or gimme a call in the mornin’. Hope you’re having agood night. Love you. I’ll talk to you later. Bye.

March 5, 2011 Hey, I just wanted to say hi and I love you. I’ll talk to you later. Bye.

March 21, 2011 Where you at woman? Where you at woman’s phone?

April 3, 2011 Hey babe, I’m home. Gimme a call when you get the chance. Bye.

March 21 was when I asked him to call my cell phone which I had once again “lost” in the apartment. On April 3 he was in the hospital recovering from seizures and on lots of medication. His voice changes from message to message but not the emotion within.

Sound waves, like  emotional waves which still reach me today.

I have learned the best way to deal with a wave is to roll with it, allow it to carry me out, making sure to stay afloat but trusting that eventually it bring me back to shore, naturally.

Are you familiar with these waves? How do you deal with them?


2 Comments

Birthday Memories

On 10/11/12 I turned 42. I didn’t realize the symmetry of the date until someone pointed it out to me. I took it as a good omen, like everything is lining up.

A year ago I felt the complete opposite. My birthday was the first in a series of emotional milestones following my husband’s death.

Kaz is both the reason I am sad, and the inspiration for my happiness. He had mastered the rare art of Zen. Not the bullshit, new-agey Zen emoted by some yoga instructors and “energy healers” but the real inner peace and hardcore happiness shared by life long motorcycle riders like him.

Since his passing, I have made it my mission to try and be more like him. But last year’s birthday it was nearly impossible. All I could do was compare it to the three previous birthdays I had shared with him. He always made a point of making them special.

In Year 1 of our relationship he got us VIP tickets to Atmosphere, a hip hop group he had introduced me to and I had grown to love. A week before my birthday he heard they were coming to Los Angeles and the concert was already sold out. He had to pull a lot of strings to get us tickets, was panicked about it not working out, and when the manager responded the day before the concert he said it made his week.

This concert is where I said “I love you” for the first time. “What?” he responded, pointing at his earplugs. I yelled back at him: “I LOVE YOU!” He smiled, said something that I couldn’t hear and didn’t ask him to repeat. I turned around and kept dancing, then felt his hands on my hips.

In Year 2, he rented a Honda Goldwing and takes me on a 300-mile ride up Route 1 and into the farm country near Santa Barbara. Totally magical – and not only on the ride. When he went to return the Goldwing the next day, a man struck up a conversation with him about motorcycles at the gas station in Santa Monica. Kaz later strolled into the apartment saying, “Guess who I ran into at the gas station.” “Who?” I asked. “Christian Bale!” “What?!” I screamed. He laughed. “I know!!”

In Year 3, he asked his doctors to hold off on his second resection surgery by a few days so we could celebrate my 40th birthday together, first at a party with all of our closest friends, then two days in Joshua Tree National Park, our favorite getaway spot.

Last year, the first year without him, I spent a rainy evening at Occupy Oakland with a friend and her 4-year old daughter and had drinks with other friends. It was fun, but everything felt empty. My present to myself was shaving my legs.

This year, I went to an Eddie Izzard concert, rented a Harley Davidson and went for a 60-mile ride to Palos Verdes – my first ride since learning how to ride 2 months ago. The ride was awesome, if not a little scary.

I did have a good cry when I got home because I wished I could share this momentous day with Kaz. But at least I had fun. And if his spirit is still hanging around, then maybe he had some fun with me. The only reason I’m out there is because of him. If I can capture an ounce of his Zen, I’ll be good.