Category: death, hoax, life, medium, afterlife
01/11/15 07:47 - 29.ºF - ID#59740
A Very Long Post Part II: no afterlife
In that time I became much more interested in examining my feelings about mortality, existence, legacy, etc. Following Chopstix death, there was a lot of work to do to take care of her things and her affairs because her mother and sister are really all the family she has and they live hours away. There was an entire giant house filled with shit (we had similar living styles which we called our Incense Palaces). There was an entire attic studio filled floor to ceiling with cloth and a downstairs full of dyes and art supplies. It was insane. I spent hours and hours sitting in the attic folding cloth and tagging it all for a sale. In that deeply personal space where she spent hours working and where she loved to be, I would sit there alone in the night and think "if there was a spirit presence or lingering of some disembodied soul, this would be where she'd go". Nothing ever happened. No mysterious breeze, no rustling of paper, no doors closing on their own, no tingling sensation of a presence. It was an empty house. Memories continued to throb and exist in their almost tangible way, but no Chopstix presence that I could detect.
My friend's husband Jeff was then found dead in a car under suspicious circumstances of an overdose. I offered to feed the cats while she went home to Virginia to figure things out. I let myself into the house where he had just been living the day before and when I saw his shoes just sitting by the door I had a little breakdown because for some reason, shoes seem so personal to me, such a symbol of a person who is going to be running out the door and living. So I was sitting there cradling a shoe and crying while the cats looked at me like I was an idiot (but that's pretty much how cats always look at you). Anyway, the point is, again I was in the space of someone who recently died and I felt absolutely no presence. There was no activity that would indicate any afterlife clinging to the space. You can bet that if there was an afterlife, when I kick it, I'd be throwing glitter and causing all kinds of spills and havoc for the fun of it. Glitter Ghost.
So I went to the same medium, Robyn, in the hopes that THIS time there would be some kind of message that was clearly from Chopstix or Jeff that I could identify. It was partially an experiment and partially just that wistful dream that maybe you get to talk to them. Other people have made her sound like an amazing genius with earth shattering skill, so I gave her one more try. Rough outline of my first visit with her:
- some dark haired lady from my maternal side steps forward and takes the spotlight for a long time. she talks about how i have the psychic gift, how i should travel to home (okinawa) and take my mom with me. i'm like my grandmother and less like my mom blah blah. She says the women of the family are what held things together and that they were very strong willed, even in times when women had a secondary position.
- my paternal grandfather steps forward and has more practical information such the fact that I have the ability to influence my father and that he thinks my father is not necessarily on the right track with his religion. he talks about what it looks like on "the other side". asks me if i have a boyfriend, tells me i'll meet someone who works near water, possibly in the service industry who was too shy to say anything to me (oh my god! so accurate!! oh wait)
- all the time that she's talking to me, she's having this weirdo conversation with the air on either side of her and laughing and responding to the "person" who has stepped forward
- she thinks that i have the gift and asks me to unfocus my eyes and see if i can detect anything. which i can't
So THIS visit goes like this:
- she asks if there's anyone specific i'd like to talk to so I tell her to freestyle first and then i'll ask
- same grandmother lady hogs the spotlight and says a bunch of shit that isn't that great
- Robyn asks when my grandmother died, which she hasn't. she's alive and well in Okinawa
- she asks about jewelry and porcelain that was supposed to be left for me. there is no such thing as these items
- grandfather comes forward and says pretty much the same stuff as before. he also says i was precocious and asked a million questions as a child (duh. anyone looking at me could guess that) and that my sister and i were a little afraid of him when we were little (completely untrue. he looked like Colonel Sanders, what's not to love?). he also said that my grandmother had a little altar that she kept and took with her whenever they moved. They never moved. They lived and died in the same house that his parents built. So that was totally not true.
- finally I ask about my list of people: Chopstix, Jeff, Tom, and Bijou
Tom: she starts with tom. he says his chest hurt, he had a lot of chest pain. he didn't want to bother anyone and tell them what was going on. he was sorry. i tell her that i didn't know Tom very well, he's a dead loved one of a friend. more on that later
Jeff: she got nothing
Bijou: he loved me, she was getting really excited almost puppy-like happiness coming from him. he was happy, he was sorry to leave etc. he says he is in a magical heavenly place. Was he middle aged, like 56? (i guess so). He got sick and he knew he couldn't heal himself, so what more could he do? He didn't want to prolong things. He says he COULD hear everything. He thinks i light up a room and bring the light with me. he thanks me for everything. He knows that people drink to him at parties and he likes that. Don't worry about cemetaries, he's alright.
Chopstix: the last person she hears from and only for a few seconds. (what??) "he was young, too young. but it was no one's fault. His whole body hurt. He could see the pity in everyone's eyes. he was frightened and angry when it happened, he tried to stay but he couldn't. He loved me a lot in all the appropriate and inappropriate ways. he is the one who moves photos around my house"
Bijou is my cat. he is comfortably buried in a plastic tote in the backyard and I am planning to dig him up and re-articulate his skeleton. so he might've mentioned his decomposition level to give me a heads up on the skeleton project. She did not seem to mention anything particularly feline.
I was wearing Chopstix' necklace, bracelet, yarn, and bag that she always had and was even holding when she died. If anything should've jumped out at this lady, it would be her. HER. Robyn kept referring to "him" throughout the supposed reading.
Tom with the chest pains was not my loved one, but had died on New Years Day and he was.... a hermit crab. No mention of this fact from the medium.
So 90$ later I learned my lesson and feel a bit more solid in my belief that there is no afterlife and spirit mediums are kooky geniuses that are gifted at cold reading and providing an experience for people who are craving one. I paid for the performance and for someone to size me up and try to read ME. That's what everyone is getting, a stranger's estimation of what moves you or stimulates some emotion in you. I was a stony scribe with no facial expressions writing the whole time she was talking, so she had nothing to play off of, nothing to use as a key for the next aspect of the performance and that left her aimlessly reaching for old standby "visitors". I appreciate her swift thinking and her ability to drift out, bounce an idea out and see if she got a reaction and then quickly change to the next thing with a seamless talking style that showed no hesitation. She is a very sweet and pleasant lady and I talked her into becoming a patient at my office, so i got some work done too!
Since there is no afterlife, i maintain my position that it is crucial that i take pictures of people, have my picture taken with friends, tell people i love them and be as open and expressive as possible because you never want to regret what you didn't do. It may seem annoying when I try to video or photograph everything, but now that Chops is gone, all I have are pictures and two little videos. One is trying to teach her how to snap her fingers and the other one is her laughing hysterically while being beaten with a Twizzler. I only have 4 pictures of us together because I was always taking pictures of other people. Now I try to have my picture with everyone. I believe immortality IS a thing, just not in the way that was previously imagined. I believe eternity is digital, and maybe Paul and Joe would weigh in on this. It seems that you can be floating around google images, facebook, blogs, etsy shops, dating sites, etc forever. blogs and things i've written 10+ years ago are still there, dusty but untouched. So I suppose this will be part of my eternity that can haunt everyone when I'm gone. Thanks spirit medium, for giving me fodder for this Very Long Post.
Last Modified: 01/11/15 09:53
01/07/15 09:38 - 3.0ºF - ID#59726
A Very Long Post: All We Have Left Are Goodbyes Part I
My best friend and sister wife, Chopstix heard all about my little psychic experiment and we laughed about it together and she thought she might give it a try at some point. Chopstix and I both retain our mystical Aquarius inner workings and even hardcore cynicism can't completely chase it out of us. When people visit my house, they always ask who the person is that I have so many pictures of, it's Chopstix. We did everything together, looked out for one another, were each others' family in a place where we lived alone. In August 2012, without any warning or previous symptom, Chopstix died. It was a tuesday and I remember that I was eating chicken wings after work when I got a frantic call from our friend John that he had taken Chops to the hospital and I needed to get there immediately. It was so strange, that string of words and that concept, I moved slowly because I didn't process what it meant. The night before the three of us had gone to see the Marina Abramovic documentary at the theater, which was notable because Chopstix would never go to a movie theater. She couldn't stand sitting for 2 hours without smoking or crafting. Her shaky hands were always busy, always making or sewing or felting or spinning. Having been a very well known figure in Rochester as a bartender, she quit that life and became a full time artist making beautiful African wax print clothing and dying wool and spinning and creating her own work that is still well known all over the world. We spent so many hours crocheting or laying in the lawn on blankets talking shit and drinking vodka, bitching about our love lives, talking about art process, dreaming up designs. John, Chops and I spent the whole summer of 2012 taking turns sleeping over at each others' houses, drinking scotch, listening to records, and laughing hysterically. I'm glad we had a nice night out to the movie all together the night before, making plans for the weekend.
The hospital always sends the mind into an alternate universe because it's unlike any other place one frequents, the air is different, the lights are foreign, the sounds are from another place. Much the way casinos are designed to confuse and overpower you, I feel that hospitals disorient, maybe mercifully so. When there is a crisis situation, I immediately turn into Survival Mamasumi and shut off all emotional response, so I found John in the emergency department and started grilling nurses and looking for Chops. Then I saw that the whole floor was running toward one bed, people ringing the tiny body and shouting. I didn't get to see her conscious, barely catching a glimpse as they worked and rushed around.
I took John to a waiting area and we sat there staring into space. I was murmuring comforting things and making jokes and feeling that there was no possible way that a young, strong person who was so magical and alive would TRULY be in serious trouble. John was stunned and traumatized because only a couple of years before he had sat in the exact same room hearing that his wife was dead, so he kept saying "not again. this can't happen again". The nurses were worried, they kept checking on us and I was busy trying to comfort THEM, thanking them and trying not be any trouble. Finally, a nurse and doctor came into say that they had tried everything but she was gone. Dead. 30 years old and gone in few hours with no warning. I could not process that information correctly. All I could think of was practical matters, we have to tell everyone, we have to figure everything out, what is the next step. The most fucked up phone call you can ever make is to tell a parent that their child is dead and I was sitting there preparing to dial the number, being alarmingly calm. Her parents live 3 hours away in Pennsylvania, so I told them she was in serious condition in the hospital, it was not looking good. I kept thinking of them driving and didn't want them to have an accident. Her sister, I told the truth, she lost it on the phone and the reality started creeping in. During the hours that John and I waited in the hospital, I called all of our friends and finally started crying and crying. When her mom arrived, she was completely losing her mind. She was talking crazy shit and making all of these plans and promises and trying to organize things but all in an illogical way. I suppose she was in a mode similar to mine, to cope with the wave of emotion.
When John got the call from Chopstix, she had been in bed, unable to catch her breath or move. He found her sweating and pale, weakened and barely conscious. He picked up her tiny body and carried her to the car and drove wildly to the hospital. She kept saying that she couldn't breathe and the when they arrived at the hospital they had the audacity to make her fill out paperwork and grill her about insurance instead of taking her to ER immediately. Being young and without insurance, thin, looking someone who would never be sick, they probably didn't take her seriously enough. John said he screamed that she was having a heart attack and they finally snapped to, but we always wondered if those minutes would have made a difference for her. By the time they got her in and realized what was happening, it was too late to operate, do an MRI or anything. She had a rare aortic aneurysm, an archway surrounding her heart burst suddenly and her inability to breathe was probably blood filling her lungs. It makes me cry now thinking of her feeling scared and unable to get a breath and not knowing what the hell was going on. Most people who have these types of aneurysms don't survive, but it just seemed like maybe she would have been one of them, you can never know.
The worst part of the night, the one that is simultaneously surreal and the crashingly TOO real, was when they finally escorted us down the hall to say goodbye. In a room not much bigger than a closet, they had a gurney with Chopstix tucked into sheets as though she was sleeping and some chairs. we all crowded in and her mom kept talking and patting her and trying to make us feel better, but my heart was breaking for her and for Chopstix and for all of us at once. I hate that moment, that time when I saw her and her face was not her own, swollen from fluid changes and from the violence of the doctors trying to save her, trying to operate and then not operate, her body rebelling against her and killing her from the inside out. Chopstix was always a trendsetter and a rebel and a free spirit, so it seemed apropos that no external entity took her out, that she burst forth from within. I sat alone with her and it was awful to see her for the last time and it had to be like that. I still have to distract my mind when I get flashes of her face in that moment because that isn't how I want to remember her and I wish her mother never had to see her like that. I touched her hand and it was real how she was gone because her hands always shook, sometimes a light tremor and sometimes intensely. I tucked a small handful of yarn into her fingers because there was always yarn in her hands. I said goodbye and then my world changed forever
Prior to Chopstix, my relationship with death was by acquaintance and peripheral at best. I remember my grandmother dying in the hospital and reaching to swab her lips with the moistened sponge on a stick that was all they would let her drink. She grasped at it longingly and it occurred to me that I was nursing my grandmother and a cycle was completing itself. That sort of death was familiar, followed the narrative of life that I was prepared for. The same for my granfather a few years later. Someone close, someone in my daily life, who really knew me, who I knew so well, who I saw naked, who I was drunk with, who I held crying and forced hangover food on, who I counselled, this was the first time I ever experienced this sort of loss. Before Chops, I was somewhat hardhearted when people were grieving over a death, not really feeling true empathy for them, not really understanding how it incapacitated some people and damaged others years after the fact. I didn't understand funeral traditions or mourning practices, eulogies and memorials. It all came funneling into me that night. I changed. I cry now when I hear a news report of a truck driver dying in a crash in Montana because I know what his family feels like and I hate that they have to go through it and through the months and years after. I unfocus my eyes when I see scenes in TV shows of people identifying their murdered child in the morgue. There are people like me who haven't known the sensations and they think the way I did before and sigh at all of the "overly emotional people" crying over things like these. But I know why people try to find their mother's spirt in an old dress or go to the medium to try to talk to her, I understand that wistful longing for one more chance to say something. But all we ever get to say is goodbye.
Last Modified: 01/07/15 09:40
Category: masks, tea, new years eve
01/02/15 08:01 - 29.ºF - ID#59712
After PA, i drove through a typical white-knuckle, 20 mph wind tunnel white out passage from Springville to Buffalo. Why anyone would want to live between those two points is beyond me, it's always snowing crazily in those spots. It became a mesmerizing white blur and I go into a calm trance state as i mechanically navigate the road. my car is like a surefooted young mountain goat and i never really slide or have problems, so the only torment was that i couldn't pass people to my liking. Upon my arrival in Buffalo, Casey and I went to Chennai Express, which was ok. Someone should tell them that "express" lends itself to a takeout business name and also implies speed. none of these things were true about Chennai. The server was adorable and seemed eager to make things happy, so I held no grudges about the 5mm thick layer of pooling oil from my butter chicken and lack of naan. it tasted fine, but if i was Gordon Ramsey I would fling it from the table and start screaming "shit shit SHIT!" at everyone. They're new, so maybe they need a few months to settle into their own rhythm.
New Years Eve was fun at the Igloo rave thingy at the secret location you could only find out a few hours before the show. Liz and I made a bunch of masks (i could sequin things FOREVER) and we gathered the boys and huddled in a taxi. The site was a big old industrial space and they decorated and painted and there were many people,a really good crowd, but comfortable. I may or may not have been spaced out a little harder than everyone else and spent much of my time in a corner falling in love with a giant heater suspended from the ceiling. This has happened on a number of occasions now, when maybe i ate some mushrooms. On the fourth of july i was on a canoe floating down the canal and i fell in love with a giant excavator and could not stop looking at it and talking about it and it seemed so sexy to me. This time it was the heater. The lighting was blue and the heater had all these hoses coming out of the back and it looked like an alienbot that had tentacles and i just fucking loved it. The floors of that place were thick with spilled liquid and dancy feet and dirt. Thus, everything I wore was disgusting the next day. The music was really great and I love love love feeling the pulse of it invading my body. I hope I wasn't too obnoxious, but i enjoyed it immensely.
2015 had better be exotic and full of sexy machines, that's all i gotta say.
Last Modified: 01/02/15 09:25
Category: crafts, holiday, assassins
12/30/14 12:01 - ID#59700
The Christmas Tourist
I am my own kitchen nightmare as I churned out pizzas and soup and cookies all weekend for the deceptively thin Cookie Monster who is Casey. Clearly, when you look at us side-by-side, you would assume that I'M the one drinking whole milk and eating cookies at night, but noooo. Much to his chagrin, I bought him a Christmas prize of Tokaido. It was the prettiest looking game at the nerd store and all the pear shaped, bearded man workers heartily agreed that it was a good game. They were very nice. The concept is easy, the details take a little adjustment to remember but it's a very easy game. You are progressing down a road and along the way collecting food, souvenirs, scenic vistas, and whatnot all while trying to block your opponents from having any fun. Since I am all kinds of ADD non-focused, the multiple cards, pictures, tokens, and buttons are ample distraction and perfect if you're looking for a Christmas choking hazard for toddlers (yes).
On Christmas Eve, I partook in my usual Tour Of Other Peoples' Holidays because I'm a holiday orphan. If you have a celebration, funeral, religious ceremony, or coming-of-age pageant, I will show up and observe you and drink up all your booze. My darling Liz and her family always let me into their home on Christmas Eve and it is very charming with figurines of santas and many, many doilies. Liz' mom Kate is a very intelligent, accomplished woman who somehow manages to maintain a dignified way of making anyone and everyone feel welcome and that she cares about them and is interested in their lives, which i think is a very charming social skill. Daddy Vince is a welcoming lover of toastmaking and is also very hospitable. I drank about 2 gallons of punch and vodka. They made little stations of heavy appetizers and it was very nice to circulate around and plunk down next to a new person and nibble and chatter before moving on, a very good idea.
Sadly, none of the pictures i'm trying to upload will work, so you have no visual evidence of anything. :(
Christmas Day, the never-to-be-photographed Casey arrived on the train and we hermitted at home and cooked and watched movies. It was very cozy and nice. Friday I had a couple of friends come over and play Tokaido with us. I think Casey had fun (?). My friend Ian successfully assassinated two people in the evening, continuing a game of Assassin that we started in the summer! I had a party and we all decided to assassinate each other and drew names. The more dedicated players waited until people had forgotten about it and have snuck in and finished people off. I would love to play Assassin with a whole town. My paranoia would finally be justified.
Last Modified: 01/02/15 09:27
12/22/14 11:04 - ID#59679
First Entries Are Routinely Dull
I've had all kinds of blogs, actually. The writing starts out in glorious rivers and then dries up to pitiful droplets and eventually dies completely. LiveJournal, anyone? Since no one is actually going to read my thing, I am going to babble to myself.
In keeping with this Buffalo theme, Casey and I went to celebrate Festivus with Joe's family. They are Identical Mouth Family and they can never lie about being related because they are all twinsies, it's very cute. I failed to get a picture of Mama-san because I didn't want to point a camera right in her face, but she made delicious homemade calzones that were delightful. Airing of Grievances was quite charming and apparently everyone was agrieved with poor Joe, but I was mostly enraged with Wegmans. I spend $150 every time I walk in there, even if it's for a lightbulb. You are entranced by the noises and lighting and in 5 minutes I've got armloads of cave ripened cheeses and exotic fruit. Fuck that shit.
Last Modified: 12/22/14 11:04
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