An Open Thank-You Letter

I’m back now. At least for the time being. And to be honest: it feels good. I know there are a couple of hectic days to come, and a lot of real work in the weeks and months ahead, but it’s good to be back home again after a long, draining few days.

By home I mean: my desk in my apartment. At the keyboard. Writing.

And my first writing task is to craft this thank-you letter to all my friends, old and recent, who have reached out so kindly and lovingly in the past couple of days. The outpouring of love and support has been truly overwhelming. Truly overwhelming. I fancy myself a wordsmith, but words cannot convey how grateful I am to you all. You’ve comforted and warmed me so much, and the feeling of love and caring has helped soften the heart of even this grizzled curmudgeon. Thank you all so, so much. I will be in touch with you all in the near future. Until then…

One of my personal goals that’s grown out of the spiritual path I’ve tried to cultivate in recent years has been a desire to live more in my heart, in my emotions. That goal came as a result of what I felt was a hardening of the heart that occurred over the years since my brother’s death in 1985. In that time, I’d become inured to grief and heartache — I’d become the image that many have of me: the macho loner surfer/sailor/outdoorsman — or so I thought. But that’s not who I was or am, really, and it’s that approach to life and its eventual end that stunted my emotional growth for the 27 years since. I mean, for cryin’ out loud: I’m 46 and single, never married and no kids, and I’ve lived in NINE(!) different states and a couple of foreign countries (when I wasn’t out vagabonding around) since college. Talk about an emotional cripple! Crikey! Never any roots, any connections, for this guy!

But I’ve been trying to grow out of that (what I feel is a) childish, immature approach to life. It’s been a slow, laborious and not-yet-successful process. And it’s not to say the process is going to cease my wanderlust and travel.

But I am going to work to ensure the passing of my mother on Sunday proves to be the bursting dam to make true spiritual growth happen. It’s what she would have wanted.

Following my brother’s death, a lot of things that should have happened didn’t. This then-19-year-old, and all of the rest of his family, should have gone into therapy…lots and lots of therapy. That didn’t happen because that’s not how we did things. We were tougher than that. We persevered, we got back to work, we moved on. Yeah, right.

That’s NOT going to happen now. I’ve given a lot of thought to this (while spending all day yesterday driving my car back from Baltimore, which is where I’d left it when my father called me Saturday with the news of my mother’s accident) and I plan to write my way through this time. It starts with this letter and will continue for I don’t know how long. I’m going to chronicle the events and thoughts — and most importantly, the emotions — of the coming days, weeks and months, and I’m going to be completely open. And a lot of that openness is going to find its way here, to this blog. You’ve been warned.

We’ll see how open that which I publish really is; after all, I’m an editor: cutting things out is what I do. But I will be writing it all, and I’m hopeful a lot of good — writing, spiritual progress, psychological therapy — will come from it.

So to start the process off I say again: thank you. To all of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your love and support. These past three days have been brutal and I’m pretty cried out for the time being, but I am coping. There’s still a lot of work still to be done, and I’m hopeful I can help my family, and my mother’s friends, as we all seek to move forward in my mother’s absence.

And I hope to finally become the better person my mother made clear she believed I was all along.

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