Monday, February 25, 2013

How do we mark Michael's birthday...??

I got an email from Amazon telling me that Michael Matheny would be have a birthday in a week, on March the 2nd, and that I might be thinking about buying a book for him. I didn't need their commercial message to remind me, since it has been looming large in my mind for months.

It is all hard, this living without him, but somehow this has been very hard. How do I/we acknowledge this day? His wonderful warm presence is gone from our lives, but I have marked this day every year for 45 years and can't stop the practice even if I wished to do so. Which I don't. But I worried about what seemed the right way to do it?

I decided that my first requirement for the day was to spend it with Kevin and this I will do. We will be together with family and close friends. I think that surviving it, more or less intact, was the second requirement. I am hopeful about this happening also. The third was to give and get hugs from Jen and Ray and Matt and that I will do also, not on the birthday itself, but close enough.

I was aware that Michael liked to celebrate his birthday by having a big dinner party with lots of friends, at his favorite restaurant of the moment. I went to these parties and got to know his friends.

He enjoyed them a lot, both the parties and his friends. And I did too.

And that is part of what made this birthday hard for me. There are many friends who mourn him and want to remember him on this day. I wanted to have a Michael dinner party so I could see and hug them all for the therapy that this would provide.

I have not in fact felt up to organizing such an event, but if there are many who would want this moment to happen, please email me and we will make it happen.

Photos are from his party at the French Meadow, in March 2010, where I met Jen, wonderful Jen, for the first time. She was such a bright spot in his life that seeing her always makes me cry, with joy, I think.

Let me know how you will mark this day.


Sunday, February 03, 2013

This is probably going to make you cry.

As I write this, I'm waiting for iMovie to finish prepping Rocket Ship, so I can upload it to Youtube. I've spent the last 30 minutes or so working with it - Mike recorded it and added effects, but he didn't flip the video, so I needed to do that.

And I needed to add a title screen, and a copyright notice. Fair warning, Glee: You bastards steal my brother's music, and I will spend myself fucking broke fighting you. I'm not going to be reasonable about that.

So, Rocket Ship. I had no idea he'd written this song. And I had no idea he was writing music at all. He recorded this on February 10th. For some perspective, this is what he was writing at that time. The cancer was back in force, we'd learned that radiation therapy was not an option because it was back in multiple locations, he'd started chemo again and was dealing with internal bleeding from the botched catheterization. He was in pain all of the time, medicated to the point of dopiness, and alone.

And he was still making music, still writing songs. I hadn't heard the full version of this song until now. When mom posted the lyrics a couple of days ago, I was surprised to see that there was a part I hadn't heard before.

The part I'd heard is an upbeat declaration that he's going to fight this:

Rocket-ship, rocket-ship
Just close the hatch and hit the switch
Rocket-ship OH, rocket ship
Carry me away, fly me a-way
Rocket-ship, rocket ship
Take me far, far a-way 
Out past Mars, and out past Ju-pi-ter
Faster than light and gaining speed
If I can’t beat it then I’ll out-run it
I’ll go so fast, it can’t catch me 
I’ll fly round the earth, Just like Superman
Spin it ‘round, turn back time
Rocket-ship OH, rocket-ship
Send me to a better time 
They say I can’t change, what I can’t change
What’s done is done and set in stone
(But if)  I can go back, I’ll make them see  
I’ll grab a chisel, and shatter that stone
The part I hadn't heard is softer, sadder:
But what if I -- came --- back (…)
And it was all…  the… same (…)
I couldn’t make it go away (…)
Would you still
Would you still
Would you still (…)
love me
Oh yes, I still love you. 

I miss him so much. 

You can see the video here