Break for freedom – Day 15 (Chris Albee)

Day – 15 Friday, August 25, 2017  (Chris Albee)

Today is the first in a third week of solo walks for me. These walks would not be happening at all were it not for my late friend, Chris Albee. Chris died this July 20 at age 49 from a sudden, ruthless, fast-growing mass in his brain. I’ve known no one who exceeds Chris’s honor, humility, loyalty, and love for family and friends. For those of us with disabilities; it is well worth noting it would never cross his mind to experience any one of us as someone of less value or import than others.

These solo walks are the first time in more than three decades I’ve gone for walks in a community without, what for me, feels like protection, for more than 30 years, started when Chris was alive. I took my first solo walk on July 12. I told him what I’d done and I told him I’d done it because I was unable to climb inside him and join him in his fight, and I had to lash out at something, and I thought the crippling fear that made a solo walks feel impossible was a target in need of pulverizing. I also told him that were it not for him, I wouldn’t have tried. My voice broke a couple of times.

When I finished, his response was a muscular, loving, “Oh man, that’s so cool, Pete.” He meant it. He was my friend. In my heart, he always will be.

7:58 a.m. – Back home.

If you’ve been an athlete or dancer you know you can go into a task feeling great, sure you will dance beautifully, or cover a 20-mile training run with so much gusto you stop, legs astride, fists jammed into your hips, scowling at the reality the run wasn’t 20 miles longer one. Thing is, if you’ve been an athlete or a dancer you know damn well the aforementioned scenario is a load of rubbish. You never know what the experience is going to be until you’re in it. I felt great going out the door this morning, which may well explain why the entire was intensely uncomfortable; breathing and stride patterns felt out of sync, sweat poured like it did earlier in these walks.

How did I manage this? I accepted it, offered myself guidance-phrases like, Stay in the walk; if it’s uncomfortable, allow this discomfort, and keep going. And so I did.

I miss you, Chris.

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For Joshua Albee

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Day 8 – August 18, 2017 (Moxie Man)

Day 8 – Friday, August 18, 2017 (Moxie Man)

5:24 a.m. – Charley’s early walk was lovely. More so than usual, there is a very light rain falling, and the scent of rain in the air reaches the center my heart. I’ve loved the scent since I was a  boy. Had the scent somehow washed over me when I was a baby, then my love for it started then. I kissed Charley on the top of his velvety head, and then let him make his morning contributions.

I treasure moments like this morning’s early walk with Charley, in August more than any other month. August has not been much of a friend. My Dad died on the 16th, my mother committed suicide on the 12th, and I was held-up and shot in the head on the 24th. That said, an enchanting woman called me Moxie Man this month, and that’s just about as lovely as the scent of rain, and embeds a beautiful moment in August.

It just started pouring rain outside! This could me my first real rain walk. I am smiling. I want as much of my life back as I can get. Remember, because you feel hopeless doesn’t mean there’s no hope; it simply means you’ve lost contact with it; it’s still there; promise.

8:44 a.m. – Back home. A walk in a soft rain, the earlier downpour had calmed by the time I entered the morning. I hope it rains the same way tomorrow morning. When I was a boy we lived in an area filled with woods and a nice wide stream me and my friends viewed as our own private river. Walking in the rain reminded me of all the beauty and peace I found in the woods. I think it is still there.

************

For Anne Marie

 

Break for Freedom – Day 6 (My Dad’s day)

Day 6 – August 16, 2017 (My Dad’s day)

Back home 8:22 a.m. – A different day, in large part because today marks 48 years since my father, Sanford Cleveland Kahrmann, died. My father was and is the greatest gift my life has given me. Today’s walk, a truly sweet-morning mist in the air, was kind of magical. I reversed the walk starting yesterday so there is a nice uphill stretch, the soft-pain in my thighs from pushing the pace a welcome event.

As I was getting close to home, I remembered that 48 years ago, my father was alive in the morning. He was pronounced dead at 1:43 p.m. in St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City. Peritonitis took his life. The day he died, the world, for me, became a dangerous place to be. He was only 55. He was also my best friend.

I love you, Dad, my whole wide world. As Bob Dylan wrote: “And if there is eternity, I’ll love you there again.”

No power on earth could have stopped me from walking today.

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For my father, Sanford Cleveland Kahrmann, (Feb. 20, 1914 – Aug. 16, 1969).

Break for Freedom – Day 4 (Fabric softener)

Day 4 – Monday, August 14, 2017

7:08 a.m. – This morning feels intensely like a maybe. This is wimpy on my part, but waking up later than usual throws me, and generously offers all kinds of reasons not to walk solo today.

8:14 a.m. – Just as I’m going out the door I’m raging with discomfort, I’m thinking the inside of my sweatshirt is way rough on my skin and how can I walk…

I walked anyway. Next problem. My t-shirt is soaked through in no time at all and, as that too starts to bother me, I remember that when I was a dancer, or playing sports, I loved being sweat-soaked, fully immersed in the task at hand.

There will be no fabric softener for this kid.

Because you’re gone

I’m sorry I could not save you

I swear I would have if I could have

I’ve heard no sound so bruising as silence

Because you’re gone

*

I’m sorry you could not save you

I wonder if you would have if you could have

The sunrise seems smaller these days

Because you’re gone

*

I’m sorry you couldn’t trust anyone

Would you’ve trusted you if you could have

I don’t think you stood a chance

Because you’re gone

*

I’m sorry these words can’t reach you

They would have if they could have

You could hear but you couldn’t listen

Because you’re gone.

*

I’m sorry I could not save you

I swear I would have if I could have

There’s less light in my heart now

Because you’re gone

*