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Hi moms,

It’s been too long since I’ve written you.  So much has been happening with the family.  For example: dad & grandma have been speaking regularly!  SEVERAL TIMES A WEEK!

Thought you would like that.

He & I are talking too, but I get the feeling he suspects I’m just calling him to be nice.  He says the same thing about the Pearlmans.

My shrink (sorry, I know your feelings w.r.t. psychologists) calls this “negating the positive,” so there’s something.

In my less charitable moments, I call it wallowing in self-pity.

Anyway.

I had do drive him home after dinner tonight.

How do I say this?

We had a long conversation about how fucked up the two of us felt about your death.  Dad screams at “god” in the mornings; I fight with my wife over who gets to miss you more.

It’s kind of a mess.

I’m trying here, mom.  I really am.

Always missing you,

Ian

Hi mom,

GEEZE.  Wait.  That reads more like “geese.”  Jesus-fucking-Christ, it’s been a long time since we’ve spoken.  There are so many distractions right now, I’m not really certain where to start.  There are two kids next to me on a really cute date, & I’ve got to keep looking off to the North to see whether the Perseids meteor shower has begun.

Nothing yet.

It’s making me look like kind of a maniac.

Remember my awful rat phase?  Moving up here, those two little monsters were the most tried and true friends I had made, as I was casting around for anything genuine and stable in my life.

Never really shared that with you, but I’m pretty certain you were on to me.

I vacillated between over-, & under-sharing with you in those years.  I can imagine how you and pops felt about me back then, what the two of you must have said…

Jesus, I miss you, moms.

Let’s call it quits for tonight.  The vultures are circling, & I don’t really know how to end this.

All my love,

Ian

PS No freaking meteors.  What a letdown!

Hi mom,

So these last few days have been pretty strange.  I spoke to grandma for basically forever today– nine minutes & fight-eight seconds.

Love,

Ian

Hi mom,

“Peeing and pooping at the same time.”

I imagine that was your last luxury.  After months of exhausting chemotherapy, but before those rotten days in, & out of sedation, hooked up to machine after ghoulish machine.  After all those desperate attempts to salvage your kidneys, your urethra, your bladder.

“I’m peeing and pooping at the same time again,” you said to me.

“Ask your wife; she’ll know what I mean.”

Hi mom,

Don’t know where we left off, what what last I told you.  It’s been such a fraught week, even for its shortness (brevity?  your call).  L’s back to her plans for leaving the industry,  I’m procrastinating like I was in high school, and dad’s calling “just to shoot the shit.”

Well the shit’s been shit, & everything is V. WEIRD.

L said something that set me off _really_ missing you this evening.  Can’t even remember what it was, only asking her to stop, not in anger, but in grief.

It rolled over me so fast, I didn’t know what to do with it.  It made me realize that I’d been burying my feelings for this past week.

Let’s just call it this past week.

Please.

I wish I knew better where you were, who you were, so I could get some kind of guidance, here.  I’ve got too much shit in my hair.  I’ve got too much shit in my eyes.

As always, against all reason, I hope that you’re reading this (in spite of my handwriting), & feeling missed.

All my love,

Ian

PS I’m trying to find the joy in this, but I’m not certain where to look.  The closest thing I’ve found is the mural next door, juxtaposing the holes blown into that Orlando night club (you probably haven’t heard about this– I hope), with a rainbow flag created out of newspaper articles.

I’ll show you a picture.

Maybe the only way to fight tragedy is unity, like our time out there building your garden.

Maybe this is thin soup.

Maybe it’s time I go to bed.

Hi mom,

 

I’ll be honest with you.  I’m a little bit loaded right now, & don’t have too much to say.

Just, I miss you, & wish I could call you up & tell you all about my week.

That’s it.

Your son,

Ian

Moms,

Good weekend, over here.  Trying my damnedest to forge relationships with L’s crazy friends, while understanding myself to be cut from the same solitary cloth my father was.

Bummer.

It make me wonder about how Eric and I grew up, in a way.  Whenever we asked what you or dad were up to, the standard response was, “What, are you writing a book?!”  I’m not blaming you or anything, but sometimes I wonder if we we ever really properly learned how to communicate as social creatures.

PS A moment today reminded me of the time here in Seattle, just before I brought Lauren home to meet you and dad.  We were at a bar– I can’t remember which– & I started blabbing with this guy who turned out to be a hospice worker for an AIDS clinic in the city.  We went back to his apartment, hung out with his twenty-something roommates, & met…

A PILE OF KITTENS..!

We all got stoned,& played around with those little monsters until it was time to head back to our crappy hotel.

There was something in that completely unexpected moment of sweetness & grace that makes me think of you– the time you got me that copy of Abbey Road, signaling the end of a rocky puberty, to getting stoned with you in grandpa and grandma’s den, back in Torrance.

Mom, if my story winds up ending well, it’s because you wrote it.

Love you,

Ian

Hi mom!

We’re out in Ferndale right now.  You’d be proud– half the crew is stoned out of their minds.  L says hello, so hello!

Anyway, I just wanted to check in.  I love you, & miss the ever-loving shit out of you.

Yer son,

Ian

Moms, moms, moms,

I wanted so badly to call you this morning.  Maybe ten-thirty hit, and I just stared at my phone.  Didn’t help that dad was texting me this morning.

Eric & I are still doing the best we can, there.  Told you about the tickets last time around.  Now, it’s just trying to hand off the messiness surrounding them.

It’s an uphill battle.

What in the hell did I want to say too you earlier?  It feels like, at times, L & I are walking on eggshells around one another, that my mind is going to shit, that all of us each is shuffling through his life without any of that sense of “attack” that you and dad tried to instill into us.

It’s worse for Eric.  The more I think about the decisions that you and dad made, & the more that I learn about how you made them, the more I see that you two were just as moorless as any of us.

This is both comforting, & PROFOUNDLY DISTURBING.  But there you go.

I think I’ve lost your pen.

I think that Eric is having a hard time with dad too, but he’s working his ass off.

OH!  I remember what I meant to bring up with you: the cat peed the bed this morning again.  It was AWFUL.  I know those beasties have half a foot in the Thereafter, so, if you can, a) read my handwriting, & b) have a word with her, I’d appreciate it.

I love you, mom.

Have a good night.

Ian

Hi mom,

Sorry about the interruption yesterday.  Life intervened, as you were so fond of saying.

What to say?

I spoke to Dani today (not your favorite, I know, but she and her husband are amazing).  Her boy is great.  She’s still doing jewelry.  She misses you, moms.  Maybe you two should make up, now that you’re gone (pushed that forever but neither of you ever listened).

What else?  Eric & I got dad tickets to the Giants v. the Phillies.  Trying to help him get past his asociations..?  associations?  between those games and his grief for you.

Is that okay?

I asked L a question yesterday– why I threw so much effort into a man who (sorry– I know your feelings on this) didn’t give 2/5ths of a shit about me.

She shrewdly refused to answer, but I think I know my own heart, here: we can’t leave him alone any more than we could leave you by your bedside, jacked into all of those awful machines.  Perhaps, more to the point, you would not only buck at the notion of us leaving, you’d probably guilt the every-loving crap out of us until we took that cranky fucker out for a burger or something.

Er and I are trying here, mom.

I miss you.  I love you.

Ian