Feb 24, 2011

appreciated, warts and all

I've just returned from Tucson where my brother Mike and niece Jessica and I laughed and cried our way through the process of saying good bye to my brother Peter. In some ways it also felt like I was saying 'hello'.

Through the actions and stories of his friends and colleagues I got to know the Peter that they loved, appreciated and respected.

What stands out for me is how everyone was so accepting of who he was - warts and all. They talked of his generosity:  be that the use of his spare room, picking up the tab, connecting folks to their particular talent and then to the appropriate people that could make use of that talent. He was certainly one that could - and did - dish out advice: "this is what you need to do" but seldom accepted any. And Peter certainly had a way with words...so much so that it was hard for anyone else to get a word in edgewise. Yet many admitted his stories, so colourfully embellished, were entertaining enough to not even want to try.

Though I wished that he had taken better care of himself, I accept that Peter lived his life his way. His choices were his own...as were the consequences. What's comforting is sensing that he was less isolated or lonely as I'd always worried.

Thanks to all of you who called Peter your friend and shared with me how you experienced him.

Enjoy the new view Pete! Hope you'll join us with your harps (mouth harps that is) at my next jam.

Feb 6, 2011

wake up calls

I lost a favourite earring again.

Spent a good part of the evening berating myself. Why don't I use those little keepers on the end of the hook to avoid this loss? What stops me? Is it laziness, one more step I simply can't be bothered with? Do I really think I can control this, even with repeated evidence to the contrary?

Right now it seems so silly and even irresponsible (a trigger word for me), especially when it's something I care about. The earring loss may be a small thing but I'm realizing that this tendency shows up in really important things as well.

Like having a will.

I've had getting my affairs in order - the will, choosing an executor, talking to family and friends about my wishes - on my to do list for a long time... only to watch another week, month, year go by.  Not to mention the many hours wasted on berating myself. Avoidable.

This week I got a cruel kick in the butt;  I lost my brother. He died of a heart attack. Far away in Arizona. It does not appear that he had his affairs in order either...and so we are left trying to honour him as best we can.  Guessing. 

Lesson learned, painfully:  I've contacted a notary to do up my will. I've started to use those earring keepers.

Bonus outcome:  less time berating myself leaves more time for joy and appreciation.

Thanks for the hard lesson, Bro.