Monday, November 28, 2016

Order, Design, Composition.


From: Sunday in the Park With George. Steven Sondheim.

The above quote from the musical seems to summarize a recent feeling I had about the direction my life has taken. Things seem to be even, no great highs and no great lows. Very few fears, doubts, concerns. Minimal shoulds and oughts. Always ambitions, projects, and hopes but tempered.

My home and life reflect the quote but not in a compulsive way.  I find that having my home in order is a way of having my mind and life in order. When things are out of order, periodically and for a brief time, no big deal. But I do find that when I am able to line them up again, I feel better.

Gregory helped me learn how to be organized and I perfected the skill when he needed help with organizing his  life during his 12 years with Alzheimer's. I miss Gregory and always will. After a year, my grief has calmed. I have changed the old physicality of our relationship into a new way of carrying him with me and I am doing well.

If I visit the mysteries of life and death, I can get freaked and overwhelmed. If I spend too much time re-visiting the "ordeal" we lived for 12 years I can make myself distraught. But for the most part those digressions are under control. When they need my attention, I can sit with them and grieve. Then they calm and I am able to look for new lessons and awarenesses they can bring me.

When I look closely I see that both Gregory and I were NOT victims of Alzheimer's but rather, we were both HEROS doing the best we could to live with the circumstances and at the same time take as good of care of each other as we could. And not only me taking care of him but him taking care of me throughout the entire time!

I wake each day looking forward to its events. I try not to over schedule the day and sometimes take an entire day off from accomplishing anything. I do feel a little lazy, a little guilty, a little "bad boy," but mostly I tell myself, "Good for you!"

A feeling of great joy comes over me when I know that my life is in order. Nothing major is waiting to be done: no major renovations to the condo, no big shopping needs, no friend or family phone calls or visits long overdue. The refrigerator and pantry larder amply filled, all doctor appointments have been executed or are on the calendar, bills paid, immediate projects completed, future projects allowing plenty of time to accomplish.

My collections of things are beautifully displayed and seeing them brings me joy. The many small "shrines" devoted to the beauty and magic of life fill the condo with a sense of love, place, peace and calm. The photographs of departed family and friends fill the alter in my bedroom closet and I commune with them every day reaffirming my gratefulness for the role they played in my life.

The condo is clean and every item in its place. A neatly made bed, clean kitchen sink, orderly bathroom, dusted living room tables, and somewhat organized desk area bolster my sense of order as well. 

My two cats, Emma and Gigi, cause me to laugh as well as wonder at animal intelligence and while I feign anger at their bad behavior, their determination  and the creativity they use to get into trouble amazes me. They play and romp, doze and sleep, seek attention and love, respond to the call for "treats," and then doze and sleep again.

The Christmas tree is up, a few decorations placed around, and a few holiday cookies about to be baked. All gifts have been purchased and await wrapping but there is plenty of time for that with shiny green paper and red raffia ribbon at hand.

Visits with several groups of friends took place over Thanksgiving, a few "coffee & cookie" parties will be organized before Christmas, Michigan Family visit scheduled for this coming weekend, Texas Family visit coming up after Christmas, and then three weeks in Mexico is on the books. 

There is nothing I have to do that I do not want to do or dread doing. I have few obligations and those which remain I have turned into gifts of compassion and/ or love.

My finances are in order, my bills paid, and I have made a number of contributions to good causes including La Casa Norte and following up on Gregory's wishes to donate to Wesleyan University and his fraternity Alpha Delta Phi in Middletown, Connecticut. 

Based on a tradition Gregory and I started a few years ago, I began this holiday season carrying $100.00 in singles in my pocket every time I go out and every time someone on the street asks for help I give them a dollar or two. 

I know that all of life is impermanent and subject to change. On a moments notice, possible loss follows. I know that I cannot always control or bring order to those things which await me in the future.

So I live for today (with an eye towards tomorrow to help keep perspective,) am grateful for the good life which I am able to live, for Gregory's love which continues to fill me each day and night, for the love I am able to share with others, and for the wonderful people in my life. 

I am content. Since this ended up sounding like a "Christmas Letter," let me wish you and your family the best of the season and the best of life. I appreciate you being part of my life and value our relationship!



  1. I admire your ability to be so centered. So in balance. So in the moment. What a gift your life with Gregory has given you.


  2. Happy Holidays Michael, stay warm!


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