Posts Tagged ‘death’


Saturday, November 8th, 2014

front-porch rules!

If you’ve been following this story, you will be glad to hear that the Window Treatment issue has been sorted out.

We are getting blinds in fake wood that looks really real, ordered from a fantastic Persian lady who also showed me curtains with little Japanese guys in boats that would cost $2,000 for one room!  It was a huge relief to get the window decision behind us.

We disagreed about the couch placement in the living room and got people to come over and render judgements and help move stuff around. When I told my psychiatrist about the couch dispute, he shared that he and his wife had a couch dispute a few days earlier, with one of them using the phrase “over my dead body.”

I have not been moved to say “over my dead body” so far, but I did start writing a song called “I’ve got a bridge and I’m gonna jump off it.” We live a couple of short blocks from a park that overlooks the ocean, with a steep drop that I can’t look at without the thought of jumping.  If I jumped, it would have to be a sure-fire fatality. It would have to be several stories high and I would have to be more despondent that I am at this moment.

No one likes to hear me talk about death. Death is with me every single day, as a heartache and and a fantasy solution. My niece came to visit and was happy to talk about death, which was a delightful surprise.  She had given the subject plenty of thought. I confided that my husband once got angry when he told me he wanted a coffin burial and I asked what he wanted to wear for the occasion. She responded, “Probably because he has too many choices,” referring to his collection of 94 shirts.

In any case, I can’t die before I get the pink toilet I so richly deserve.

We walked into a plumbing shop after finding that the tile shop was closed. There, I asked if they had a pink toilet, and the girl told me Sorry, pink toilets are a thing of the past. Armed with my knew Toilet Knowledge, I said smugly, “No, Gerber still makes them.” She went to her office to look this up on her computer, and I heard her exclaim “Unbelievable!”

I felt wonderful, more informed about toilets that an actual toilet girl! She took me to a hallway decorated with toilet seats in every color ever manufactured. She was a genuine Toilet Enthusiast. She pointed out a color called ‘Merlot,’ a deep wine color, almost like Chanel Rouge Noir, and noted that it’s the hardest color to find. We discussed the wide variety of green hued toilet seats.

The Toilet Girl ordered a pink toilet for me. Did you know that the  seat comes in both wood and plastic?

I want to be best friends with the Toilet Girl and talk about toilets until the end of time, or until I get a Tile Guy to bond with.

And Now I’m A Fucking Midget

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014


I’m sad to say that Pico is gone, as you might have predicted. Life seemed so miserable for him.

I will blame myself for making the call, because I don’t know how long he would have lasted, despite the chronic pain and cognitive issues.

I miss him terribly but I’m not traumatized, because it seems like I’m already stuck with permanent PTSD that time won’t budge.

However! I am still capable of being dismayed.

I fucked up my back when I had to carry Pico inside from the backyard. He was only 40 pounds but I managed to lift him improperly.

So after whimpering (i.e. screaming) about my back for two weeks, I went to the doctor. The first blow was when she measured my height. I am supposed to be 5′ 6″ but now I measured 5′ 4 1/2″ for a loss of one and a half inches of valuable height!

Fuck me! I can’t believe this, even though I know that age and shitty bones lead to shrinking. What next? A dowager’s hump? I’ll probably go bald and whatever else is available to elderly women. I had to have ex-rays of my back, which revealed a degenerating spine or something that sounded like that. All those years of weightlifting, for nothing.

I’m going to get physical  therapy for my back, but for now I have two new prescriptions plus a bottle of Pico’s narcotic pain-killers.

To further drive home the old age thing, my husband and I were talking about TV hosts and we couldn’t remember Larry King’s last name. It was a moment of shared horror as our eyes met and we silently acknowledged that our brains have turned to mush.

Trying to retrieve Larry King’s last name was like gazing into an infinite black hole where a memory bank used to be. I hate Larry King now. I would say He’s dead to me, except now I’ll probably remember him as a symbol of senility, both his and mine.

Peaches, Grief, Guilt and Restraining Orders

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Ary Scheffer - 1814

As I write this, we still don’t know what caused the death of poor Peaches Geldof but we are human, most of us, so we feel the tragedy. For me, it was yet another trigger, a blast of PTSD, complete with unwanted images of her dead body, what position she was in, wondering how her family will live through this. Looking at pictures of her adorable babies, reading her loving descriptions of them, struggling with the very idea of deliberately leaving them.

She is none of my business but I refreshed my google search for news, every few hours. Just like I did with L’Wren Scott. How dare these people leave their loved ones, how dare they leave strangers like me to wonder in horror at the big hole they left, to feel like the last page of a book was torn out before we could know how it ended.

I wish I could stop taking it personally but such is my PTSD or Complicated Grief or whatever pathology can be assigned to my condition.

In the days leading up to Max’s birthday, I was more anxious than I realized. I had a fight with my sister over plans for his birthday dinner. Weeks have passed but she still won’t talk to me.

In the days following his birthday, I felt better. I could feel him inside me, not like a dark companion this time but like part of my heart, myself, a good part. I felt lighter, I guess.

But nope, I was not really okay. I sent a curt email in the middle of the night to a close friend’s husband, who knew Max. In the morning, the friend emailed me, hysterically blaming me for destroying the husband and being a monster.

Stung at being the monster in someone else’s narrative, I debated this in escalating emails that resulted in her blocking me both on facebook and in real life gmail. Now I am officially a monster who would dare to make someone feel uncomfortable about Max’s suicide. And I have lost a friend. Maybe they would like to file a restraining order.

I have already suffered the shock of a restraining order! The fiance who refused to talk to me filed a restraining order, citing a fear for her life. It did not pan out, obviously, but it is the post post-modern way of telling someone to shut up or else.

If I could file a restraining order against myself, I would. I would accuse me of torturing myself when I least expect it, with waves of anger, remorse, and morbid preoccupations. I could make me stay 100 yards away from myself and my place of employment.

Meanwhile, one of my facebook friends, needless to say a complete stranger, told me that she was depressed today, more than usual, and wants me to call her. She has a physical handicap and that must be hard. I don’t want to take this on but I will, because even though I’m a monster in real life, on facebook I’m still a nice and compassionate person. For now, anyway.

Paging Freud and Jung!

Monday, September 17th, 2012

I dreamed there was a dead Me, laying beside me in bed. I was very distressed but I tried to take care of her, plumping her pillow or something. She was very pretty and young, sort of a goth Ophelia. Suddenly, I discovered that my ex-husband had taken her to a school campus and had left her there. I was horrified and furious with him. I flipped out and screamed at him, asking him if he realized that she was defenseless, that everyone would make fun of her etc etc. I screamed: “Isn’t there any dignity, even after death?!”

Then I woke up.

What does this mean? That part of me is dead? Because that is my daily reality.  Or was the dead me really Max? Or was it about Mitt Romney, who had just made his comment about the Libyan Embassy? Or is it because I’ve been immersed in the first four seasons of Breaking Bad?


Showtime and Death

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Anyone watching Showtime tonight was assaulted by death in a one-two punch.

On The Borgias, the Pope was devastated by the death of his knavish, syphilitic son. He carried the son into the woods, envisioning  him as a beautiful little boy. As Jeremy Irons began to dig a grave, I scolded my television and turned to my computer.

But then, on Nurse Jackie, the mean new hospital administrator was stunned when his drug-addicted son arrived in the ER on a gurney. I watched in horror as Bobby Cannivale tried in vain to revive his dead son. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

While I sobbed hysterically, Nurse Jackie cut away to a happy scene in the maternity room. In real life, we can’t cut to another scene. The attempt to reassure us with a birth, as if to say “Turn turn turn, there is a time for birth and a time for death!” was cheap and sanctimonious.

I think about death constantly but I don’t want it shoved in my face, Showtime. The death of children is literally unbearable. I realized that the specter of the shattered parents is what drives home the tragedy. The children have flown away, but the parents are left with eternal suffering.

Some of my friends and family wish I would cut to a new scene. One of them has even blocked me on facebook. What’s good on Showtime is less good in real life. If people could watch me on TV, they would switch to another channel.

My husband knew that the Housewives of New Jersey would make me feel better. We marveled at Theresa’s hairline, which threatens to devour what’s left of her forehead.

What would I do without my husband! We went to the Los Angeles County Museum on Sunday, and while we wandered through a dark spiral corridor in the Japanese Pavilion, he remarked, “This is kind of like Disneyland for adults.” Yes,” I answered, “if the Pirates of the Carribean was an adventure in dread, with no pirates.”   He sticks with me through everything, all the adventures in dread that my life has become.

Bed, Bath & Way Beyond

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Bed, Bath & Beyond is recalling its Dual Ridge Metal Boutique tissue holders, which were found to be contaminated with radioactive material.

The contamination was first discovered in California when two packages bound for stores in Santa Clara and San Jose containing four tissue holders triggered radiation alarms at truck scales, according to a Jan. 6 report posted on the NRC website.

In the notice on its website, Bed, Bath & Beyond said the  Nuclear Regulatory Commission says the tissue holders do not pose a threat to anyone’s health.

No threat to anyone’s health, no no no no.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman David McIntyre told The Associated Press that there is little to no risk to human health, but it’s better to avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation.

Got that? It’s better to avoid radiation. You know, if possible.

Foxconn, Apple and Hell

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Remember that factory in China where 17 workers committed suicide? Remember how we were assured that compared to the general population of China, this rate of suicide was actually very low?

Foxconn is Apple’s largest supplier of iPads and iPhones. Apple wants us to think of it as a utopian company run by the benevolent prophet Steve Jobs. It doesn’t want us to look at the grim truth about how its products are manufactured.

They aren’t brought to us by storks! They aren’t made in the US, either. They are made in Foxconn’s three Chinese  factories, the most modern of which is an antiseptic nightmare of dehumanizing work conditions. Another worker jumped to her death on November 24, but I only found out because I was looking for images from China Fashion Week.

Joel Johnson wrote in Wired Magazine about the sense of guilt that drove him to visit the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, an industrial city in southern China. The company has put nets around its buildings to break the fall of potential jumpers. It has opened counseling offices and forced  workers  to sign contracts that forbid suicide and warn that families of suicides won’t receive any unusual compensation.

Maybe we’re supposed to think that the million workers employed by Foxconn are lucky to be employed. That only works if you think you’d feel lucky to work a ten hour shift with forced overtime, where you raise your hand to use a restroom. You’d have to feel lucky to live in a dorm room with seven strangers and can only watch TV in a common room with bench seating.

Two independent reports found that worker conditions at Foxconn were incredibly poor, and that Apple had failed to keep its promises regarding Foxconn.   In the first quarter of 2011, Apple posted a record high in revenue of $26.74 billion.

As a reviewer of electronic gadgets, Joel Johnson was burdened “with an outsize provision of guilt–an existential buyer’s remorse for civilization itself. I am here because I want to know: Did my iPhone kill 17 people?”

After touring Foxconn, his answer was Yes.

I’m glad I don’t own a single Apple product. I would never buy one now. If I meet Steve Jobs in hell, I’m going to tell him what I think. Meanwhile, I hope you will pass this story on. We can’t easily opt out of  civilization  but we can choose which companies to do business with.

Skirt of Death

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

This skirt by Kevork Kilesjian would look great with a massive viking helmet, don’t you think?

At $1,495, the price is just right, and the designer’s name suggests he may be amenable to killing you with a plastic bag.   Maybe he could even do this before you suffered the indignity of wearing the skirt!

Shopbop,   of course.

I Miss Him Too Much

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

It’s been nearly a year and I’m surprised to still be here. I swore I’d go after him if he left. But things are complicated.

June 6 will be a year. I know it’s just a day on the calendar but still I feel the weight of its significance. I have to go to the grave, where I’ve had to pay for a granite marker. I don’t think I can bear it but I have to. I haven’t been back since we buried him. Mostly because I pretend he’s around, maybe in another room or maybe in New York, where he lived for so many years.

When no one can hear me, I whisper to him and beg him to come back. Maybe he’ll hear me and change his mind.

I’ll miss him every day for as long as I live. It’s better when I stay in denial.

I wish I could hug him and smell him. I’ve been reading all the email we sent to each other: All the links to things we thought were funny or enlightening or stupid, all the mp3’s he sent me, all our complaints and  encouragement. Thank god for email. It’s so full of our relationship. It’s a way to spend time with him. It’s something to treasure.

If I have to keep living, maybe I can do something that Max would be proud of, or maybe I can help with suicide prevention. In the end, even though I know there’s no god or heaven or hell, I know we’ll be together.

Some days are easier than others.   I’m still thinking about the Bitter Intellectuals project. Max would love it. We need a url to get started.   Just try to bear with me while I work through the bad days.   xoxo

Please Don’t Jump

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Suicide is not a rational act. It is an act of desperation, carried out after a monumental struggle.

If only we could all form a safety net for those who can’t see a way out of their suffering! Please Don’t Jump is a FB page dedicated to just that effort. The gallery of photos is a monument to human compassion.

Read about how media can help prevent “copycat” suicide by responsible reporting.

Death should never be romanticized. People who jump are not in their right mind. When you jump, you take the rest of us with you.   It’s not a solution.   It is endless trauma. It’s not a gay issue or a bullying issue, it’s depression and hopelessness.   We need to stop talking about cyberbullying and start talking about support   for those who are vulnerable.

Some organizations were calling for a moment of silence tonight, to mourn the recent spate of suicides. Silence won’t help. I’m calling for a vow to reach out to a troubled friend, family member, loved one or stranger. Remind them how much they are needed.   You might not be able to help, but it will never be a waste of time.