Reblogging and memories

I’ve been reblogging some of Paul’s brother’s posts lately.  Partly because they have stories or photos of him that I hadn’t heard or seen before.  And I want to have them here so I can read them easily.  Some I haven’t even read.  I’m not ready to.

It’s been hitting me the last few days that the memorial sort of opened a wound that had started to heal.  I was sort of getting used to the fact that he wasn’t here any longer.  Or I thought I was anyway.

I haven’t had the desire to work in the garden because it reminds me of him.  He helped me plant this or that, or we had many, many, discussions about what this flower’s name was, what it was doing and why.  He helped me prune that tree, and he helped me bury one of my cats under the other one.

It’s hard to even look at the garden without memories of him.  One of the vines was driving him crazy because it was dormant and was just bare stems.  I wish he’d worked on it.  I can’t do it now, it was his project.

He had the idea of planting the cactus (which I’d thrown into the ivy) up on the bank between retaining walls.  He carved out a level spot out of the granite so we could put planter boxes there.  Had I known how bad his back was and how much pain this was causing him I never would have let him do it.  But he was game for anything when it had to do with gardening.  As first I’d introduce him to my friends as my “gardening buddy.”  But later it was “My good friend Paul who helps me with my gardening.”  The cactus is doing very well by the way.

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Having trouble breathing.

Living with Grief. One Father's Journey

Blue on blue

Having trouble breathing
Past midnight
The power is out and there is a beeping coming from downstairs.

The carbon monoxide detector…
So I take the battery out and head up the stairs.
I will have to fix it later.
And I am coughing. And wheezing.
I can’t stop. I hear a gurgle in my chest.
I can’t fix it.
And it takes probably an hour to get back to sleep.
The next day is cold and there is no power.
Edison will have to fix it.
So I spend my time painting.
A portrait of my dog.
I spend all day working on it
Fixing it to look like her

My life is not bad. I have a nice house and good job.
I love my wife. I am comfortable. And I guess as happy as I can allow.
I have time.

I think about all the things we use…

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‘Things I’ve Seen Lately,’ by Paul Foster

East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines

paulpix

a list for Sesshu Oct 23, ’14

  1. It got so hot last month you could hear the pine cones cracking open on the trees. The pine seeds fly down onto my porch from quite a distance on their little light brown wing.
  2. A giant turkey vulture gliding effortlessly in circular patterns over P.G. in a blue sky.
  3. The morning glory cuttings that Debbie and I planted outside are looking well and sending up new leaves, little sun worshippers.
  4. The Lord of the Rings movie “Fellowship of the Ring” part of the story by J. R. Tolkien, filmed in New Zealand.
  5. The bathroom floor covered in pee. My other room-mate always seems like such a sober fellow but I think he gets really drunk at night.
  6. Debbie’s kittens Samantha and Dylan have already grown to the size of my cat. Dylan still likes me but Samantha is already bored with my…

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Closure?

paul and alicia kidTomorrow is Paul’s memorial.  I have such mixed feelings about it.  John upstairs is very excited!  He was his roommate, and they were so cute together bantering back and forth.  I don’t think I saw John smile or laugh very much except for those times.

One of the reasons I have mixed feelings is because I will probably never see his brothers, or any of his family members again.  Meeting is brothers was almost like seeing Paul again.  Well as least as close as it will ever get.

His brother wants me to read my previous post “In memory of Paul.”  This scares me to death since I would rather walk over hot coals than speak in front of a group of people.  I wish I had the nerve to do it, I’d love to do it for Paul’s sake.  But there’s no way I could get through it without crying anyway.  And if the roles were reversed I imagine he would feel the same, and that would be okay with me.

And I’m afraid I’m going to lose it completely anyway, and sob through the whole thing.  I’m thinking his family members will wonder,”Who’s that lady over there anyway, and why is she so out of control?”  Not being a family member I don’t feel like I have the right, as such, to be so devastated by his death.  Silly I know.

And then there’s the decision about what to wear.  I know it’s a very girl thing!  I’m behind on my laundry as usual, so I’ll have to choose what to wash.  Black is definitely out of the question.  I have a sort of tie dyed blouse and he used to call me a “hippie lady” when I wore it.  I’d like to wear it but it’s much to cold.  I’ll figure something out.

And closure?  I guess that’s the part I’m really dreading.  He’s gone and now we all have to acknowledge it.  I’d really rather not.

paul9paul & squirrelPAUL 1958 - 2015paul and milespaul's kitchenpaul

paul an d johnpaul self portraitgarrapata

I’m just not in the mood to take pictures.

I love the Christmas season.  I really do.  The lights, the glitter and glitz! But as you can see by some of my previous posts, I lost my best friend a few weeks ago.  The grief hits when I don’t expect it.  I’m doing my usual things and then, surprise!  I’m in tears.  And they keep coming.  And then I’m okay, and then it hits me again.

He was my neighbor and I find myself looking up at his apartment whenever I walk outside, expecting to see him.  Whenever I see the plants he helped me plant I think of him. Whenever I see the vine we were watching, wondering if it would make it through the winter, I think of him. The plant is still surviving.  Unfortunately he didn’t.

His memorial is January 2nd, I’m looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time.  I look forward to meeting the members of his family that I’ve only heard about.  It makes me sad that he never got to meet his only granddaughter.

I look forward to hearing about things he did before I met him.  I’ve already heard some of it from him.  His time with the Moonies when he was selling tea and was the best salesman.  I believe it, he was quite charming and loved people.  He loved the atmosphere of family since his childhood was not a pleasant one.

He spent some time on a commune and he enjoyed that.  He liked the vegetarian food.  And he loved the children.  And once again there was the sense of family.

I’d heard about his time in rehab for his drinking.  He liked living there, and doing the work that was required of him.  He didn’t really want to leave. He liked the guys that were there.  And the sense of family again. He didn’t have any problem with not drinking then, but as soon as he left he started.  He would have liked to stay there, and work there.  I wish he could have.

I heard about the twenty years he worked as a gardener for a retirement community.  Of course he made friends with the residents.

When he was recuperating from from surgery in a nursing facility he made friends with all the nurses.  He knew them all by name and they didn’t want him to leave.  He also made friends with an old man who never had any visitors and never talked to anyone.  He said he was surprised at how much they had in common.  I told him I’d take him back to visit him sometime, but I never did.  I regret that.

So I have to prepare myself for the memorial.  I’d like to write something to be read, I really would like to, but I’m not sure what to say.  Maybe I’ll extract something from the posts I’ve written.

So I’ll celebrate his life with his family and friends.  And just be thankful for the years we did have together.  And for the fact that we considered ourselves best friends.  And as far as I’m concerned, we always will be.

I miss you Paul, and 1956 - 2015I know I will never have another friend like you.

There are some who bring a light so great into the world that even after they have gone the light remains.

This makes me think of my late friend Paul.

Totally Inspired Mind

image

Who did you know who was like a light shining kindness to others?

Who do you know now that fits that definition?

Image found on Pinterest, author unknown

Compiled by Paulette L Motzko
November 2015
5:39 p.m.

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Letter

Can’t stop thinking about my best friend Paul who died a week ago Friday. Miss him dearly.   This is written by his brother, Sesshu Foster.

East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines

paul at asilomar

rain blowing through the cypress and pine forest across the peninsula/ but it was sunny the day we went to wendy’s memorial atop jack’s peak, first time i’d been up there/ i told wendy’s sisters i was very moved by their testimonial at the church in salinas/ you were tired, chose to rest in the car when dolores and i walked in the woods/ we looked south along the coast/ carmel valley below/ post-op, no chance for your stomach to heal, you were drinking again/ exhausted, napping in the front seat/

someone said you looked ten years older/ beard gone gray/

monterey bay unfurling to the north/ open to the pacific/ light and shadow on the water/ haze across the north/ i gave your computer to alba and little omar/ alba said big omar, deported to oaxaca because of dui’s, is drinking his life away/ little omar took the laptop…

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My best friend died yesterday.

DSC01161And my heart is broken.

His name was Paul.  He was a talented artist.  But not enough people knew it.  I love him like a brother.

And my heart is broken.

He was my neighbor and we shared a love of gardening.  That was our first common bond.  The first of many.  I would make a mess pruning and such and he would come along after me and clean up.  Always pleased to help.  He would give me gardening advice, always very humbly.  We spent countless hours taking care of plants and discussing them.  He became a part of my garden I guess.  Always cheering me up.  I will never be able to garden again without thinking of him.  But he was much more than just my gardening buddy.

My heart is broken.

I could tell him anything, like best friends can.  When my husband was driving me crazy he would listen to me rant and rave!  Always patient and compassionate.  Never taking sides.  That bugged me sometimes, but he was like that.  He didn’t judge.  Well except that guy on the bus who kept coming on to a girl.  He did not like him.  Not at all.  I’m sure his concern was more for the girl.  He deeply respected women.

My  heart is broken.

He had a hard life.  He grew up in East Los Angeles.  Not the best area of California.  He was one of seven children.  He said he was the troublemaker.  His father left his mother with all the kids and no way to support them.  They moved in with her bachelor brother.  He never wanted seven kids.  But he was a good brother.  To a point anyway.  He and Paul didn’t get along.  He got kicked out of the house when he was fourteen.  I think that’s when he moved to this area.  He got married, had a daughter, and got divorced.  He said they were High School sweethearts and they grew up, and apart.

My heart is broken.

He was in a lot of physical pain.  He had back problems all of his life.  His spine was a mess.  He recently “jumped through” all the government hoops and got his SSI.  Finally he had a bit of money to spend.  Finally a little break.  He deserved many more of them.  Many.  Things were looking up. His brother didn’t have to help him pay his rent.  He hated that he needed the help.

My heart is broken.

I can’t sleep tonight.  I can’t stop thinking about all the time we shared. Some of it kind of weird.  One time I had to harass him into going to the emergency room because he had prostate problems and had to pee every two minutes.  He wasn’t embarrassed nor was I.  Our friendship was above all that.

My heart is broken.

My husband had to rush him to the hospital when he was in septic shock caused by a hole in his colon.  He was in pretty bad shape.  The doctors said he was lucky to be alive.  They performed surgery the next day.  But he was never quite the same.  He said it felt like they didn’t put everything back in right.

My heart is broken.

We had one other thing in common.  We each have our own chronic disease.  Alcoholism, his, bipolar disorder, mine.  I think that really might be why we became fast friends.  Although we didn’t know it at the time. We both knew what it is to suffer terrible pain.

I heard the paramedics take him down the stairs.  I thought it was just one of my neighbors who makes a lot of noise coming down.  I had no idea they were taking my best friend to the morgue.

And my heart is broken yet once again, just thinking about him.  He isn’t in pain anymore, but I sure am.  Lots of it.

And I can’t share that pain with my best friend.

My heart breaks once again over that.