I know this letter is more for me, but I needed to write it anyway.
Here I find myself in Santa Fe embarking on a new page, even chapter, of my life. In the past I’d be updating you at every step. I can’t do that the same way any more.
I often tell people that grief is the sorrow of the reconciliation of a future that cannot be. Since I can’t call or text, I’m putting this out to the universe so that on some planet or alternate frequency you receive me. I miss you.
When my brother died, you didn’t look away.
When Susan passed, you stepped closer.
When you got sick, I pulled you in when you wanted to hide.
We stared straight into the abyss and we laughed. and laughed. even as we cried.
It wasn’t about embracing the dark. It was about staring so intently into the bright light that we blinded ourselves with the optimism of life.
I remember you sitting in the loft of my newly acquired RV before I set off like a nomad and you said you could feel the power sitting there. Like being in a tree fort as a child, imagining the endless adventures of the mind you were charged with the possibilities.
Even with the distance of an entire countryside between us no one could sever the tie. I told you when I fled an abusive relationship in Buffalo and when I arrived by myself three states away in Indiana. How you must have shaken your head when I told you I turned back around to try again. My number of tries likely up to the double digits at that point.
It wasn’t until I was parked at your house in Mukilteo that I had the strength to end that mess. I spent the night in your room, lying on the bed next to you listening to you breathe. All the while, that self-destructive man drank himself into a stupor in my RV in your driveway.
I don’t think even a month had passed from that event when I found myself stepping out of an open mic in New Orleans to find that you were going to have brain surgery. The drive to make a gig in Phoenix from NOLA felt like more than forever as I waited to hear (any) news. Relief in the form of good news finally came. Thought we didn’t know it at the time, it bought you a few more years.
I told you that you had decades. We made plans to meet at a cafe in Paris one day and tell each other how we’d been traveling. You were going to fly to parts of South America while I tackled Australia and Asia. I would send post cards and explain the magical places I had been. I was going to take you to the top of Bell Rock in Sedona. When you were better, I’d finally get to show you the magical, immersive, infectious nature of Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. We’d go to New York just so you could explain why being a Valley Girl from LA made you cooler than anyone in the city. I’d take you to the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina in the fall so you could see the bursting colors of leaves and we would visit the place where Paul died.
So here I am struggling with a future that cannot be.
Even now, I struggle with the present that is. I can’t share with you the strange twists and turns my life has made in the past three months since you died.
I’ve relocated to the southwest like I’d been talking about for years and I’m starting a new job at Meow Wolf in less than a week. Slinky is learning to live with two Bengal cats while I search for a condo and I wonder now if we should have introduced him and Wolfy. All the little daily, mundane things I want to tell you but I just can’t. It makes your absence all that more real. But in some ways I feel your influence more abundantly than ever. Distance couldn’t sever that bond so why should death?
I suppose until I can learn to unwind time, I’ll have to carry you in my mind and write letters so that my present self can send messages to my future self from the past. In this way, you’ll always exist in my world even if you’ve taken to exploring other realms.
Say hi to Paul, Susan, and Fischer for me and Godspeed.