11.05.2008

Coming home.

After 8 years, I feel like I've come home.

For those of you who didn't vote for Obama, first, this entire entry isn't about the election, so fret not; and second, I sincerely hope that, in spite of your reservations, that you give him a chance to be your president. I hope that, regardless of your doubts or fears, you at least recognize last night and today for the momentous moment in American history that they constitute.

And as I wrote to a dear non-Obama supporting relative who emailed this morning to ask "What now," I simply say:

Just wait and see... and - i beg you - don't be cynical. Give him a chance - maybe he will make you proud.

And recognize that in 2000 and 2004 50% and 49% of us (respectively) had to contend with a similar feeling to that which you now have - unsettled and nervous. But we got through it, and you will to. That's the beauty of our system. The pendulum swings one way and then it swings back. It's self-correcting and peaceful. Regimes change and hands are shaken and through our differences, we can all be respectful and appreciative that our system is solid enough to endure dramatic shifts like this without imploding.

I voted for Obama because of his environmental views, foreign policy views, abortion stance, tax plan, energy policy, and most of all because he is a scholar of politics, economics, and history - and not one stymied by his knowledge, but a pragmatic one who understands the US as part of a delicate global infrastructure...

I understand that for many people, America's "reputation" or "image" in the world is of little importance or concern, but for me, the knowledge that people around the world are watching and saying, "Holy Shit. The American people voted for change," makes me feel proud and optimistic.

And though I didn't vote for him because of his race, i think it is crucial to recognize this win as a victory for our nation - especially for an entire segment of the population that has - until now - been *told* they have equal rights - but perhaps have never had reason to truly and deeply believe it...

I hope that you all share in at least some aspect of this prideful moment.

I just wish that Mike were here to share it.

********

The night before the election I dreamt of Mike all night. Just normal healthy mike, hanging out, laughing, wearing his blue comedysportz jacket and his fannypack (that freaking fannypack). So waking up yesterday morning was bittersweet. As PJ said, at least the dream was happy and peaceful.

Last week I had a gruesome dream that stayed with me for days. It was eating me up. I got more and more stressed and angry - ornery towards PJ and impatient with Baxter. Finally, days after the dream, I told PJ about it. As I heard the first sentence of the dream spilling out of my mouth, I lost my breath and sobbed - that hard uncontrollable shaking sobbing that reminds me of being in the Jefferson Hospital elevator with my sister, collapsing to the floor and just wishing I could vanish.

The dream was simple. Mike had died - but his body was in Europe. We needed to get him home. I was watching as they drained his head of these horrible substances. They manipulated his pale lifeless body and began to fill him with embalming fluid. Then he sat up, pipes sticking out of his head, and looked at me with pleading but naive eyes, "Smoosher, what are they doing to me?" he asked.

I think that's all there was to the dream. But it haunted me for days. It still does.

It's interesting - my sister emailed me to share an observation - that October was the first month since Mike got sick that I didn't blog at all. She framed it in terms of the renewed stability I have in my life, the progress I've made, and the joy that PJ brings to us. I would add that now I have someone to whom I tell all this stuff: PJ. I work my baggage out just by talking with him. I also believe that it's fair to say I've been swamped with work and have not taken adequate time to explore my unresolved issues in the past 2 months. I think my lack of blogging and lack of communication is at least somewhat responsible for that awful dream. I think my subconscious just wanted to get it out of there - and without a regular practice of blogging, the dream was the only place for it to go.

So, I'm going to catch up for some lost time:

Mike, I miss you so much.

It continues to be incomprehensible to me: time goes by and goes by and you're still not here. and you're never coming back.

You've missed a lot. That young big-eared guy who talked at the 2004 DNC about how there's no red America and Blue America? Just the United States of America? He's our president? Crazy right?

Remember how we protested the war in Iraq before the invasion in early 2003? The US is still there. Still.

Remember how in Queen Village there were all those new homes and rehabbed homes and developments and $600,000 plus homes and we were like "Who's gonna buy these? Who has that kinda money?" Remember those interest only and subprime loans that you would tell me HAD to be a bad idea? Well - they were. The bubble burst. Home values then began to drop. People who bought houses with those interest only loans, whose home values had dropped, have become totally F*cked. Those shitty mortgages were sold off as securities in which lots of financial institutions - and foreign banks - invested... but with all the foreclosures, those mortgage-backed securities have turned to shit. So Wall St has taken a major nose dive. Major.

On a positive note, Baxter is doing great. He is so big - he looks like such a boy now. And he's learning stuff so quickly. PJ and I took him to Dunkin Donuts before we went to the kids' museum on Sunday morning and he stared at the men's room door. It was the first word I think he actually read: "Men." PJ asked how the heck he knew that and Baxter replied, "M" says "muh." "E" says "eh." "N" says "nuh." "Muh-eh-nuh. meh-nuh. men. Men!"

Then he went around the corner saying, "I bet the other door says 'girls'?" I said, "Go check!" and he ran back yelling, "No!!! It says WOMEN! I know because it starts with a "W"!"

And ComedySportz.... Wow. You would LOVE how the company is doing. Not financially, of course... But artistically. Jadico has the whole show so tight and organized. The space has been totally revamped, too. Last weekend I performed for the first time since Baxter was born. It was amazing fun. It's hard, though, without you there. I try to put you out of my mind in that space. Which is a little easier because of the renovations - and because the company has all these new and amazing younger players who have taken the stage since you were here. They are EFFing awesome. And some of the players who were just taking off a few years ago have totally come into their own - they have grown so much as improvisers, I know you would be so proud.

On your birthday this year, it was also (coincidentally) the unveiling of the seat plaque that your friends and I donated towards at Philadelphia Theater Company. We raised almost $5000 towards the plaque. It is located on the aisle, in the orchestra section, about 8 or 9 rows up. You'd like it. Actually, as Cara pointed out to me, you'd probably give the seat to me since it's on the aisle and my legs are like 2 feet longer than yours... You're sweet like that.

Side note: I asked PJ yesterday if it's weird that I refer to you in the present tense sometimes, "Mike is the kind of person who..." He said an unequivocal, "no. It's not weird."

The plaque reads "Mike (Egg Foo) Young, Funniest Man in Philadelphia, 1967-2006." Cheryl joked that Kevin and Don are probably going to buy plaques for themselves to put next to you, also reading "Funniest Man in Philadelphia." She's funny that Cheryl.

I still have a really hard time reconciling my life with PJ and my loss of you. He is a true gift to Baxter and me. He is sweet, kind, funny, playful, and tolerant of my bratty shenanigans. And I recognize that your death ultimately brought about the circumstances that allowed him into our lives. David, the still-beloved therapist, always reminds me that I never would have chosen to lose you - but that given the hand I was dealt, I did the healthiest thing I could do. I worked on my grief (which I continue to do) and Ihave tried to rebuild.

Today, with the feelings of optimism and pride that come with last night's election results, I miss you terribly. I spent some of Monday and Tuesday canvassing for Obama right near our old neighborhood. It was lifetimes ago that we lived there and walked those streets together - but it wasn't. It was just 4 years. 4 years ago I was preggers, we were getting ready for the next chapter with our baby. Four years and a lifetime ago.

I love and miss you, Mike Young. But you're not here.

There is someone here now who I love - and he is moving our family in a wonderful direction. PJ is youthful, vibrant, carefree, and is marrying me and raising our son as his own. He is an exceptional person, Mike. And everytime I tell PJ that he would have liked you - or if I think, "Mike, you'd really love PJ," I have to laugh at the absurdity of the premise.

How f*cked up this all is.

But, I'm doing the best I can - and amazingly, the "best I can" is usually pretty darned good.

love,
danna
ps: I wish I believed in a concrete notion of heaven. Days like this would be so much easier. You up there with all those old dead people, watching the election returns on a giant screen in the sky... ah well.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great, now i'm sitting here at work crying. Damnit, Mike!

But wow and whew.

Love you, Danna.
Marianne

Felicity24 said...

Well said, Danna.

Oh, and congratulations America.

Change is a great thing!

Anonymous said...

we miss him too.
fanny pack and all.
yay to the political process...
and to your family.
baxter is reading?! brainiac.
love,
michaela

Anonymous said...

For some reason, I too, thought how great Mike would have found Obama's election. Maybe it's because Mike was just that kind of guy, that or his distrust of septuagenarians.

Dannagal said...

I love that somebody typed out "septuagenarians" and I'm racking my brain trying to figure out who the heck it is!

x0

Heide said...

Oh, and don't forget that he was sitting next to Tim Russert up in heaven watching the election!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you blogged again. But, of course, I too am now sitting here crying. Crazy what has happened in 4 years. I miss Mike, but I am so happy for you and how you have played the hand you were dealt. You're an inspiration - you and our big-eared pres elect!
xo
Liz