Thursday, December 31, 2009

A year to remember

With age, wisdom does come.

In a few short hours, 2009 will join preceeding years and fade into memory. What a year it has been. Certain things deserve a second look as they are taken off the bulletin board and packed away.

For the first time in 42 years, I did not have a job. At first the freedom had me as giddy as a schoolgirl with her first beau. But after awhile, the extra time became a negative rather than a positive. I became a television junkie. Mind-numbing shows hour after hour, with a few phone calls from a friend thrown in.

Then I got on a self-improvement jag. I was instructed to sign up for pulmonary rehab by the doctor who saved my life. So with great trepidation, I entered the program. The experience turned out to be fun -- and beneficial. But like a kid with a bag of candy, I overindulged.

Enter Internet addiction. With Obama's $600, I bought a computer. Thus began a connection with more wonderful friends than I would have imagined. And a way to stay in touch with former co-workers.

Through the PHA chat room, I have connected with a core of women who each offers a unique perspective. Such a diversity of backgrounds and personalities, though all true sisters.

Then, of course, there is you. Half of 2009 was you.

You were spinning in your orbit and me in mine. When Mason died, our paths collided. You knocked me into a completely new zone. And what a trip!

We made a connection right from the beginning. From FB inbox to FB chat to Yahoo chat at lightning speed. At 3 a.m. when we were both mysteriously awake; at noon to watch a match; right before you hit the road to Pitt. I shamelessly gave you my heart from the getgo. And you selflessly gave me your life. I was smitten.

Remember how surprised you were that I knew your birthday? The penguin leaves clues? The penguin leaves clues everywhere. I find them in the oddest places.

Pete, you and I received an extra bit of empathy when our psyche was passed out. Empathy is a blessing and a curse. Empathy often paves the way for disappointment. But it also allows us to serve others in remarkable ways.

As the new year nudges its way in, I vow not to forget the generosity of spirit you poured over me in 2009. I vow to try harder to keep your loving spirit going.

Peace and love to you, Mr. Mooney. We were friends. What a great and lasting gift.

No, mailman, no.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ends and odds

Can one have writer's block and not be a writer?

The affirmative seems highly likely. I have started today's post many times. I mean how hard can random thoughts be? Did I suddenly run out of them? And what is the opposite of random thoughts? Definite thoughts? Are all thoughts not definite?

Now that I have cleared that up, I can try for random again.

You know we shared a physical trait. I found the gap between your front teeth enduring. I have one too, and I have always been self-conscious about it. I am betting that was why you did not smile in pictures.

Kirsop must be making a killing with the betting coupons. The lads, including Torres, have made him more than a few quid. 'pool still sucks though.

One of my close PH friends is being evaluated for a tx today. She is a young mother of three. I told her she could not die on me. I could not take another death right now. Which sounds awfully selfish of me to be thinking of myself. But I can't help it. Your death devastated me. I am not prepared for another.

In many ways, that last week of your life we were in denial. We talked about the end. But almost in the same breath we were talking about our choices for Europa. Is that because we could not deal with the inevitable except in small doses?

Life is what it is: a paradox.

No mailman for me, thanks.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Reality vs. anticipation

Your mother is a gracious woman with a little wiseass on the edges. I like her. I knew I would. But there is always the initial awkwardness, the expectations, and preconceived ideas. I am sure she also had some hesitations. After all, I was the stalker cat.

She told me about your last hours up to a point. For that, I owe her more than I can repay. The words gave me a priceless gift at great cost to her. I hope in time we are able to share more.

I feel some guilt too, because I think she did more giving than I did. Those things you can't keep a tabulation of though, they just add up. So next time maybe I can balance the scale a little.

The kaleidoscope of your life changes as more and more pieces are added. Some of the pieces are the same shape, just different sizes. Some of the tiny pieces glow bright red and display jagged edges; others shine with vibrancy. Purple? Oh yeah. Moody with blues as well. The colors encompass the spectrum; the shapes infinite. Yep, that is you; I would expect no less.

Is it possible to hold a grudge for someone else? Kinda like a surrogate grudge holder? Hmmm, I will have to contemplate that one soon. If you want to shed some light, chime right in.

One of my friends says she thinks I lost myself a long time before you died. Even longer ago than when I first started taking meds. So I guess I need to figure out where I got off the path of me and see if I can backtrack or at least head forward in a better direction.

The mailman always rings twice *groan* and I never answer.


Monday, December 28, 2009

I doubt it

I seem to have lost me along the way.

Doubt has begun to shove aside positive thoughts as it goes about tainting the whole of yesterday. You claimed to be a gull, but I knew gull long before you did. Were we a case of out-gulling the gull? A little revenge factor on the character flaw?

I choose not to believe that. I cannot know; therefore I will not allow doubt to win this round. Doubt is like a colorless, odorless poison that seeps into your very cells. Before you know it, doubt has replaced all the positives.

We had many positives. After all, we both kept coming back. You could have ignored me completely. I think I was more to you than a way to pass time. I know you were important to me. You showed me how to laugh again. True friendship benefits two, not just one.

I am so lost, as I am sure others are. And in many ways I condemn myself for your last week. I so wanted a fairy tale ending, but I would have taken a peaceful one. Was it peaceful? I cannot be sure and that is the painful part. Did you tell me the truth? Were you hedging for reasons of your own? Do I even really want to know?

Your soul was in such pain. I refuse to believe what you expressed was made up for my benefit.

God, I miss you so much.

No mailman for me today.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

A good, tough question

One of those silly apps on FB asked, "Will this matter a year from now?"

Gosh I hope so. I would like to think your friendship meant more to me than a fleeting memory of some dude with CF on the Internet. But I can see what you meant about life going on. We have no choice if we stay in this world. The world grinds on with or without us, rather like a perpetual motion machine.

My friend John died several years ago. He had AIDS, but a heart attack claimed his life. I loved John. We waded through young adulthood together, making lots of mistakes and getting by sometimes by the skin of our teeth.

Suddenly we were expected to be respectable denizens of the world. We got jobs and went on with the minutia of our lives.

Occasional cards or calls followed over the years. John always wanted me to write a book about our college days. I always said he would be my muse. The book never got written.

Then I got a phone call from one of John's friends telling me he had died. I was glad for the summer visit that year. The years melted away as we talked about what foolishness we had gotten into.

I know so little about you. Will this cause your importance in my life to fade more rapidly than it deserves? I think I did know the best of you and the worst of you all crammed into six months of talking without the benefit of ever having met you face to face.

The best of you was a shining example to everyone you touched. You possessed so many positive attributes that an accounting of them would make you blush and your head swell even bigger. Haha. Just sayin'.

The last week of your life was so heart-breaking. This is the worst I was talking about because you were in such pain at the core of you. I wanted so much for you to hear what I was saying, to believe what I was saying and to know what I was saying was true. You were loved and people did care.

But you were busy compiling a list of mental wounds. Was it to convince yourself or me? You told me you wanted to leave. I cared enough for you to believe what you said, and trusting that if you did not mean what you said, you would not go. You said you would not forgive me if I took action, and that I believed. I opted to put your wishes above all others and live with the ensuing consequences. I care that much for you.

So I guess a year from now will tell. Hopefully a bunch of us will be in the thick of the action in the Paul Mooney Memorial Fantasy Soccer League. Don't tell, but I still have a secret weapon.

Man, you are too good. We are tied in EPL after yesterday. That is how good you are. Gerrard scored and was your captain. Wow, dude, you are a marvel.

No mail today. Yay.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Written in the heart

"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together...there is something you
must always are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think, but the most important thing is, even if we're
apart...I'll always be with you." ~ Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh was one of my heroes when I was a child. My daddy read "The House at Pooh Corner" to me more than once. I remember giggling at the tiddly poms; my dad always made them fun.

The books offer great life lessons to adults, too. An author is pretty darn talented when he can write a series that catches the fancy of kids and adults, too. Critics say Milne and his son did not have a storybook relationship. Perhaps that is why Christopher Robin and Winnie were such good friends. Milne sought to rewrite his life, and that of his son, in a more perfect way.

I suppose most authors have their demons. Writing seems to be one way to pry the dark thoughts from the recesses of the mind. Maybe their exposure will somehow change their very nature. Or at least give voice to them so they might be managed.

Friendship is a story of life written in the heart. Some pages are never filled in and some contain so many words they are squeezed into every possible space. On some pages the writing is so messy the words are hard to read. Days, months, years later you finally understand what they say. Other pages the writing is perfect and the message is quite clear and brief.

I miss you my friend. What an impact you made.

The mailman might come today, but I will not be there to greet him.


Friday, December 25, 2009

On Christmas Day in the morning ...

I seem to have lost the Christmas spirit somewhere. I can see how you might have thought the same.

The season is for family, loved ones. What brings joy for many brings emphasis on the lack of family for others. In this case, family means the traditional one a la Norman Rockwell. A room full of adults laughing and children racing through propelled by a sugar rush.

This season reminds us we have no "family." Are we broken? We all want to be loved. Sometimes, though, we want a love that does not exist. We set the standards so high we fail to see that imperfections leave marks of character and mystery. We cheat ourselves out of the life we think we need.

Perhaps our mission, if you will, in this life is to touch someone in such a way as to change his life. We might not even know it happened. The results might not affect one person, but hundreds. One never knows; but in your case, I know, because you affected me. And many, many others say the same.

"Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might
have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

You have no failed deeds to rage about, my friend. You deserve your rest. May peace and love surround you.

The mailman took a holiday.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Winter mourn

The snowstorm rages this early Christmas Eve morning. I am glad I do not have any reason to venture out. The thought of a snowflake times a hundred hitting me in the face at 40 mph is not a pleasant one.

I have all the creature comforts at the ready: food, entertainment, television, blankets and a couple of cats. Only thing missing is you.

Shannon has made an effort to reach out and I appreciate the gesture. Your friends have been supportive and wonderful. That is a credit to you.

Your mom "friended" me this morning. And the sun is now shining.

No mail today.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A cut above

At the left is a picture of Jose Mourinho. He is the manager of Inter Milan. Notice the fine hairstyle?

One of the last photos you sent me was you and your latest hairstyle. You said you asked for the Mourinho. I got a good laugh out of that one. But truth be known, I prefer yours over his any day.

My favorite photo of you is one of the last you took of yourself. Not the one in the red plaid, but the one of you in the black T-shirt with your eyes open.

I am not doing Christmas this year. As an adult, I have always had a severe case of the blues about this time of year. This year is worse than usual.

I am a procrastinator and the closer it gets to Christmas the more I panic. Then it reaches the point I simply shut down for awhile. I want to hide out until it is all past. Then guilt creeps in because I feel like I have let everyone down.

I see the solution, but right now I do not have what it takes.

I can only imagine what your mother is going through right now. I think we would get along. I wrote her a letter and tried to explain just what you meant to me the six short months I knew you. I think she will understand and I hope it gives her some small relief from her grief.

"Let Me Go" has been floating in my brain the past two days. I know I need to let you go, but right now I am not ready. Knowing you, you will understand if it takes me a little while longer.

I am once again avoiding the mailman.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What is letting go?

I think there is a fine line between holding memories dear and refusing to let someone go.

Am I afraid if I don't think of you every day you will simply cease to be? I promised you would be in this world as long as I am alive. Am I being selfish, and by not letting go, am I failing you? What would you tell me?

I miss you so much. I miss the time I could have learned more about your uniqueness. I miss the games we could have shared. The World Cup matches, what fun we would have had. I miss you because you came to depend on me as your eyes. I miss you because you shared a dark side of yourself with me. You had to have felt comfortable with me to tell me those things.

I hope I let you die the way you wanted to. I know, because I am no dummy, that Sunday was supposed to have been our last day together. The match of the season.

That Monday I had to tell you I care, so I did, and we ended up talking most of the days before you died. I know that was not your plan. Please forgive me for stealing that time from you.

Dammit, I don't want to let go.

I am hiding from the postman.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

The strength of smiles

Yesterday I wrote one of the hardest letters I have ever written.

I wanted your mother to know how much her son meant to me. She had an extraordinary son and I wanted to tell her how I appreciated having you as a friend even for the short time we shared.

Some things I want to keep locked away in the recesses of my heart. When the sadness hangs like a fog in my mind, I can bring those memories out and dispel the gloom. What odd little memories raise a smile.

I wanted to share some of the smiles though with your mother because her loss must be so gut-wrenching. A mother knows her son better than anyone, but sometimes she needs to hear others reaffirm what she knows. I can only imagine the pain she is feeling.

Remember to live your life as though this will be your last day.

The postman did not come today. You remain in my heart.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

This I do know ...

Shit sports ain't shit sports without you. Checking the sports news is not nearly as much fun because you are not there to tell.

I am hanging on by a thread in hockey and basketball. I am doing OK, but I have no idea about moves I should be making. Could you please airmail me some answers? I promise I will listen.

Seems like all I am doing lately is sleeping with extended periods of wakefulness. I don't feel bad. Just can't seem to get caught up.

I saw the mailman today, but did not speak.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A few chosen words

The note on FB yesterday was short and to the point: We have to talk. Maybe next week?

Those few words sent my thoughts spinning like whirlygigs. Will I be called to task for my words to you those last days? Am I to blame? Did I do something wrong?

Then I realized that she and I have much in common and a talk would probably do us both some good. Sharing treasured moments only makes the memory of you stronger for both of us. So I will look forward to the exchange.

I have learned over the course of the past few months the importance of telling those you love how you feel. Never, never assume your loved one knows what your feelings are. Time will run out sooner than you might imagine.

In life, each affirmation of love helps the relationship grow. The more you give to another, the more you get in return.

The postman came today; I did not meet him.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009


You never believed in divine design. You always said our minds are wired to see patterns and when we meet someone who clicks with us it is just coincidence.

So you tell me about these things.

On the Monday after you died, my phone rang. It was about 6:15 in the evening. When I checked caller ID, it said Paul Mooney. I answered and all I could hear was your mom, dad and brother cleaning out your apartment. Your dad was concerned with the security deposits, your brother said how proud you were of a table. Someone remarked about your sweet tooth. I tried everything I could to get their attention. Finally I hung up. Obviously someone hit the wrong button when they picked up your phone. But I choose to believe that there was a reason your phone called me.

Sunday, I awoke with an Irving Berlin tune in my head. "Always" is not one of those songs I think of often. I imagine I have thought of it maybe twice before. But the words held meaning for me and I posted some of them on FB. Later in the day, I checked YouTube for a version of the song and found one by Leonard Cohen. I love him as an artist and poet and so did you. I posted the link. Pete later posted that you and he had seen that concert together.

Then there is the matter of Transplantland. A few months back you trusted me enough to let me read the blog as a guest. I fell in love with your writing and your songs. I asked permission to record the songs off the blog and you said I could. Unfortunately, the plan did not work. You were generous enough to send me four of the songs. The guest pass for the blog expired and I never mentioned it again. The other day I went to your web site to post a goodbye in your guestbook. After I did that, I tried the blog. I was admitted. Did you do that on purpose? Did you give me another guest pass or will I have access forever? Time will tell.

Coincidence or not? Maybe, but I am jus' sayin'.

The postman comes today, I will not go to get the mail.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday soccer

In what is becoming a typical EPL weekend, no team won that was necessarily expected to win.

I am once again in the cellar and you slipped to second. I wonder if the season will be short enough for you still to be ahead of me at the end. I would not feel right beating you somehow.

I was just reading some of the early talks we had about soccer. Boy did I lack knowledge about the EPL. You were patient and informative and made me think I was good, too. Another reason I cared for you. Just sayin'.

The mailman did not come today.


A week

A week has passed since your death. The week has passed all too slowly and all too rapidly.

I have been unnerved signing into FB and seeing your name showing as online. The little green dot represents all that we once had and nevermore in this life will have. Funny how an electronic symbol can trigger a reaction of the soul.

Pete sent a message that I was "absolutely present in spirit" at your services. I did the best I could Paul. One of these days we will get together and talk again like we used to. We will have to have Pete join us. He has been remarkably understanding.

I am doing my best in the fantasy leagues. I am torn, as are your friends, about continuing. On the one hand, I know you would be pissed if we do not carry on with the one thing you have loved most of your life. On the other hand, checking the teams is a painful reminder that you are no longer here. Your death has left a hole in many lives.

But the leagues also are a reminder of the joy we shared over a goal or how disgruntled with Liverpool you were. Those memories make me smile. So I have decided to keep up with my teams. The others can do what they think is best for themselves.

You always made me feel special; for that I am grateful. I only hope that I gave you some solace in your final days. I wanted you to know how special you were. I hope I did not burden you further.

Days may not be fair Always,
That's when I'll be there Always.
Not for just an hour,
Not for just a day,
Not for just a year,
But Always.

Irving Berlin

Friday, December 11, 2009

Never far away

Hey there. I bought 'naldo this morning. You know that money you kept saying you had not yet gotten in La Liga? It came through this week. Ironic, huh?

I also had some nice pickups in Champs League. Hopefully that will help me go up the ranks. It felt like you were looking over my shoulder while I was making those moves. Or maybe it was other influences?!?

I worked on getting Torres. Not sure he will be playing this week, so I passed on that move for EPL. I think I want drogba, too. Haha

You know something? You really were someone special. You managed to make everyone you came in contact with feel like they were pretty wonderful themselves. I only wish you knew just how much everyone cared for you.

I have gotten a glimpse of your real life. The guys in the basketball and hockey leagues. I exchanged thoughts with several of them. They all to a man said how special you were. Some had known you since college days. Others were students who have said what a profound influence you had on their lives.

In the short time I was priviledged to know you, you left a positive mark on my life. You showed me how to die. You showed me how to treat people. You showed me how to deal with a disease you know will take your life. And even when you knew you were dying, you took the time to share yourself with others. Others were more important to you than your own confrontation with mortality.

Yes, the mailman continues to deliver the mail. Yes, the sun rises and sets. But you still are in my heart; you are not gone from this world. I let you go, but I will keep you too.


Thursday, December 3, 2009


You brought me life. I could not return the favor.

Friendship alone was not enough to keep you in this world. Your pain and the fear of losing control sent you to the unknown. You said nothingness would be better than this world.

I loved you, but that love was not enough to change your mind nor ease your fears.

As long as I am alive, a part of you still will be here, because the memory of you is alive in my mind.

You said when you are gone the world continues, the mailman delivers the mail. True. But all the same, I know you are gone. And I am in the world yet. Full of regret but at least I told you how I felt.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Making better use of my time

Today I decided that perhaps a blog would help me better cope with my life. I am a woman who has a life-threatening and life-changing disease -- pulmonary hypertension. I was once a journalist. I miss the writing, so here goes.

I have many friends I have never met except through the Internet. Many of them have the same disease I have. Some of us live with this disease better than others, but we all understand how important friends are.

Losing these friends is the worst part of the disease.

Everyone dies; it is part of life. But some deaths are harder to bear than others. After awhile the deaths take a toll on the living.