Just live…

“It’s not a wake.  It’s a ‘wake the fuck up'”.

Direct quote from my friend Denise as we planned my 50th birthday party.  i’d played with the idea of using a “Practice Wake” theme — to make sure the folks in my life know what i expect them to do when i die… but she thought that a bit melodramatic.

She’s right, of course.  So it’s just gonna be a big ass ol’ fashioned throw down.

My forties have been rather spectacular.  Not sure if my fifties can top them, but that’s the goal… Try as i might to ignore the significance of a milestone birthday, it’s tough not to notice that i’m well past the halfway point in my life, if things go according to statistics.

Which they don’t always do.

My imaginary friend inside my computer, Bad Yogi, has been my virtual muse for the past 18 months.  He’s done the hardest thing i can imagine.  He buried a child.

As i tried to support a friend who was going through it, Yogi was my spirit guide.  Reminding me to pay close attention 3, 4 and 5 months out — when others begin to pull away.  It was good advice.

He just marked the second year anniversary of the death of his daughter, Alysia.  He did it with this piece.

And this is just what i want my friends to know before i go “poof”.


“When you hear that I have died, think of this.

“Think of cool nights breezes while you walk to meet your friends for a beer on a Thursday. Think of waking up in flannel sheets on a snowy morning and kissing someone you love. Think of hung-over diner breakfasts and the best cup of coffee in the world. Think of the sound of tires on seamed highways while you travel, think of French kissing and leather jackets and push-up bras and bourbon, think of the joy of hard work with friends. Then think of me.

“Not sad, not the melancholy solitude of empty skies, but the full days and crowded bars and signed contracts, a smile too big for my face, remember I said I stay busy enough to fit three lives into one.

“When you hear that I have died, know that I want laughter, and dancing, real dancing, to music that makes you move without thinking, you’re wearing boots and jeans and a great t-shirt and wondering if the girl at the edge thinks you’re cute. And you motherfuckers had best DANCE, none of this bull­shit rock-nod hands-in-the-pockets shoegazer nonsense. No, make an ass out of yourself, feel your hips, kick off the high heels and sway on the shoulder of a stranger.

“When I die, you’d better be laughing your ass off on sidewalks, eating deliciously unhealthy food, drinking shots and tipping your bartender well no matter how much money you make.

“When you hear that I have died, the best thing you can do is to get laid that night with a comfortable stranger, use my story to get their sympathy, and when you kiss them for the first time, think of me then.

“When you hear that I have died, and you will, remember your best revenge is to live well, take risks, save up money and chase your perfect happiness. Beat the system and learn to make your art really support you, craft into something your audience can’t live without. Then make the world an even slightly better place ― stop throwing your cigarettes on the ground, vote in the next election, graffiti your life on the eyes of the hungry.

“Then just do me one last favor. Please. Love some thing. Anything. Start with your self, but find passion in everything, from an apple pie to a novel, make a family, get a degree, walk what ever path is yours with your chin up and feet planted firmly. Have the best stories to tell in the old folk’s home, about life long friendships and epic love affairs, about the time you lost every thing and yet found yourself happier than when you began.. and remember that time we got in SO much trouble…

“Poets, remember: This is the story that never ends. When one of us leaves, another walks through the door. The pages turn, the sun keeps rising. All you can do in the meanwhile…is to speak for yourself. Raise your voice high, tell your story, join hands against the dark and sing our souls to the sky. Know the best in me comes from the best in you, that as you tell your story, you will be telling mine, and our lives will be linked together for ever, and every one who hears you will become a part of the change we make.

“So when you hear that I have died… just …live.”

Gabrielle Bouliane

Catch me if you can…

“Responsible denial!  I like that!”

My oncologist is a hoot!  i’ve been going to see him every six months for the past four and a half years.  As much as i love him, i’d be quite happy not to see him quite so often… Once i get to the five-year milestone, we will only see each other once a year.

i’d just finished explaining to him that despite his luscious charms, i’m ready to go to that annual visit.  The six month thing is screwing with my ability to live in the realm of “responsible denial”.  That thing that says “yeah, i had it, and i’m going to be a good kid and do what i’m supposed to, but for the rest of the time, i’m not going to think about this too much…”

He was ok with the concept, but reminded me that he’ll have to see me in six more months before we can start to have an annual date.

daisyfae: Gee, you’re kinda OCD. 

Dr. P:  Such tendencies are generally welcomed in my field of practice.

When i first started seeing him, he had gently bemoaned the fact that he’d had to put off a vacation because life got in the way.  i reminded him that a man in his profession ought to know better…

From that point on, our conversations started with “Where have you been lately?”  And between the two of us?  We’ve covered a lot of turf!

Today, i started, with tales from my trip to NYC and Chicago, along with plans for two dive trips before the end of the year.  Grilling me on details, he was fascinated with my plans to chase the whale sharks off the coast of Central America as they meander along their migration route.

We talked of SCUBA training, rescue dives, and various terrifying moments i’ve stumbled upon in my rookie dive adventures… Including a night drift dive in 5 mph currents that nearly resulted in a permanently soiled wetsuit!

We talked about the motorcycle, and my frustration at having it in the shop for over five weeks this summer.  And my slight limp as i moved from the chair to the exam table – injuries received by dancing my lumpy, middle-aged ass off at a local festival all weekend. 

Dr. P shook his head in disbelief…

daisyfae:  Yeah, i know i’m your craziest patient…

Dr. P:  No, just the biggest daredevil! 

daisyfae:  It’s managed risk!  C’mon, i’m not stupid.  This isn’t like walking a tightrope between skyscrapers – i’m careful about risk mitigation!  Always have a net.  Always have “Plan B”.

Dr. P:  You’re still out there on the ledge!

daisyfae:  Reckon so…. i’m pretty sure it won’t be the cancer that kills me…

Dr. P:  It would have to catch you first!

We both laughed, and he went on with his exam…

“Responsible Denial” or not, i’m certainly aware of the fact that cancer doesn’t need GPS and RFID tags to track you down…

cartoon from the brilliant world of xkcd