When a friend dies

My friend Chris Albee will be gone from this life four months the 20th of this month; the tears are streaming down my face right now as I write. I am only one of a number of people whose lives were — and I do not use this word lightly — blessed by his presence. He died from t-cell lymphoma.

Some times at night, during the day, it doesn’t matter, the knowledge he has died will strike hard, my fists will clench and I want punch death square in the face with savage fury — again and again and again. Chris was only 49! He had a wonderful wife and family, he had a nine year old son!

It is so hard to find people in life you know you are safe being yourself with. I was always safe with Chris and he would be the first to tell you he was safe being himself with me.

I cannot change the reality of his loss. What I can do is tell you this. Tell the people you love that you love them. Tell them. Tell your children, tell your parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins; tell your friends, tell the person you are in a relationship with. Say it! Tell them. And please, remember to hug those you love, and let them hug you back. Be kind, be kind, be kind. And if you are in possession of behavior patterns that wound yourself and others, do your best to get free of them. There is little doubt they may have kept you safe at one time, but maybe not so much now.

If there is a heaven, Chris is there. I have no doubt of it because if there is a heaven, he damn well deserves to be there.

I love you, Chris.


For Kim & Joshua



Second Chances

Escaping the moment of death can be a life changing experience for the better. Some might think escaping the moment of death is always a life changing for the better, but sadly this is not so. Many who have had this moment, I am one of them, are initially filled with gratitude and pledge new beginnings and then, when the immediacy of the event fades, we drift back into our old patterns. I know I did.

The question is what stops so many of us from reclaiming our lives in a way that lasts and truly frees of us of unhealthy life patterns and lifts us into healthy life patterns. I think the answer here is often found in the message or messages we’ve received in life that told us we are worthless. For some of us, these messages were inflicted by members of our family. Still others may have received these messages in other life arenas. I know, for example, that during my days of homelessness I was, more often than not, treated by the world as if I had less value than dirt.

Messages from our personal histories that impede our ability to experience our value and worth need to be banished. If not checked and eradicated, they can damage and even end our lives. They don’t deserve this kind of power. In fact, they deserve no power at all.

I was able to discover or rediscover my value when I got sober. I can’t tell anyone else what they should or shouldn’t do to discover or rediscover their value. However, I can tell you that you are wise to surround yourself with people who know your value and love you for it, people who are unflinchingly honest and will let you know when the villain messages are controlling you.

Whether you have the courage to listen is up to you.