Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Safe Journey

Glen and I made phone calls on Wednesday morning.  I emailed him my driver's license and insurance card and the contact information for my Lending person at the Credit Union.  Mary Fran called me shortly after with the paperwork done and the check cut.  I signed my name three of four times and that was that.  Glen called and said that he would be by to pick me up in my NEW CONVERTIBLE. 

As I was walking back to the door I started picking up co-workers who were interested in seeing my new car.  So by the time that Glen got there I had quite an entourage.  We all poured out the back door as Glen pulled up.  The car is gorgeous.  And I have to say that Glen looked very comfortable in it, very comfortable.  It looked like it was made for him.  So I figured I would look great because Glen and I have a very similar hair cut.  Short, whitish, not the kind of hair that blows in the wind, it is more like flutters in the wind.  We drove with the top down back to his office, but it was cold.  Even with the heat on it, it was cold, so we put the top back up and went up stairs to sign the last of the papers.  Mr. Moon did an amazing job, and I know that he did this for me.  I always talk about Ms Moon.  But Mr. Moon has always been so kind and wonderful and welcoming to me.  I am so glad that he is married to Ms Moon.  Together they are an incredible team, and no one can ask for better friends or for two people who will do more for you.  And yet, I think I can say very similar things about all of my friends.

After the papers were signed Mr. Moon took me on a "test" drive out to the airport so that he could pick up his car.  And then it was mine.  My hands were caressing the gray leather wrapped steering wheel.  My foot pressing the pedals, weaving the magic of driving a new car.  My car.  My convertible.  I am normally the kind of person who keeps a car for like 10 years, or longer if possible.  And my Malibu which I have only had for 4 1/2 years, I love.  This is not about being unhappy about my car.  Or that the Malibu doesn't fulfill all of my needs.  Much more so then this new car will.  But I bought the Malibu as a work car.  I bought the Toyota as a gift to myself.  For 30+ years working with the state, for a retirement present to myself.  It also is a present for being sick.  When I was little whenever I got sick, which was not often, my Mother would buy me a present.  Not as a reward for being sick, but as something to take my mind off of being sick and keep my mind and hands busy and to help me to get well.  It was always a good idea to keep me busy.  If I was sick and needed, to be quiet and rest, a coloring book or stickers or paper dolls or something that I could use my mind to invent a story, and my hands had something to do, I would actually get more rest, be still and quiet as I focused on the present.  And since we did not have a lot of money then, it was extra special to get a little present like that. I felt special, loved, understood and nurtured.  Who can't get better with that?

I bought this car that I do not need, that will be a challenge to see how I am going to get my kayak to the water, or the dogs to the vet, or flats of plants, bales of hay, giant bags of animal feed.  I will figure it out.  And I feel special.  I feel nurtured.  And I did it for myself.  Something that I do sometimes, but not that often, something for myself.  

So after dropping Glen off for his car, I drove to the mall to pick up a box of Godiva cookies.  I mean if Ms Moon can invite friends over to celebrate my good test results, the least, and I mean "least", is to buy cookies.  But Godiva cookies.  And then I drove to the store to pick up a few other needed things and had just enough time to make it to the Moon's around 5:30.  The car handles beautifully.  I look good in it.  I can't wait until it is warm enough for me to drive with the top down.

I got to the Moons just after Jack and Jan.  We sat in the kitchen and munched snacks while Mary made three of her amazing pizzas.  Two veggies and one with venison sausage.  Shortly Judy and Ms Denise, and then Marcie showed up.  Fred was at rehearsal for Nearly Maine.  He has a small part, but we are very excited about seeing him.  Jack and Jan are going on Saturday and invited me to join them.  I will if I am not too tired.  And then Mr. Moon got home, the pizzas were done and it was time to sit around the dining room table and enjoy the meal, the friendship, the love, the celebration of good news.

And we were talking and laughing and then everyone was crowded around me.  Something was not right.  I don't remember who started talking, but someone was talking, someone was telling me that Colin had cancer.  Wait.  No, Colin had cancer.  A melanoma in his right eye.  They removed the eye and most of the tissue around it.  They said he was fine.  They said the cancer was gone.  But it was not.  It has metastasized to his lungs.  He has known since August.  Mary had said more then once that Colin did not look right.  

And I am hearing again.  He has sold his plane, he has sold his plane kit, he has moved his beloved cat to his sister June's.  No!  I this can't be.  Not Colin.  I have no regrets about my journey, about being diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.  But I am mad as hell that this is happening to our Colin.  Our Colin.  He is ours.  He is our wacky, silly, beloved Colin.  

My earliest memory of Colin is on the set of Casablanca, my first play with the Stage Company, when I met Mary and Rich, Jack and Jan, Ron, and Colin.  My memory is of Colin coming out for his cue wearing a viking hat with the horns.  He was playing the part of Major Stausberger, the nasty Nazi.  He was wonderful at it, maybe even more so because as you got to know the real him during rehearsals you realize what a stretch it was for Colin to play such a nasty person.  

But all of our memories kept going to our production of Sex Please, We're 60.  Colin was the star.  He stole the show. Completely stole the show and each night he was bigger and better and funnier and sweeter.  He did slap stick, falling under Marcie on the couch, and doing a downward facing dog sliding to the floor as Pat tried to "fix" his back, only to stand up with his butt facing the audience so that you could see that in the fall Pat had accidentally pulled his pants down revealing a bright pair of boxers with hearts on them and said something like "sizzle".  I bought him those.  I hope he wore them with Catherine and that they laughed and laughed together.  He even did a bit with a suitcase that he finally ends up pushing across the floor and ending up flat on his face.  But his most famous bit was the nose dive knocking Mary onto her back on the couch and him doing a Romancing the Stone face dive into Mary's crouch.  I swear one night the bit lasted for like 10 minutes while Colin had to stay bent over the arm of the couch with his feet in the air and his face pressed into Mary's dress and the couch with Jan walking in on this and looking shocked.  Between the three of them in that scene it was hysterical.  Our Colin.

I was fine as they told me.  My brain was packaging the vile news and wrapping it up in a box and shoving it into a dark place in my mind, ignoring the facts, for that moment, to deal with the reality of what would we do.  

He doesn't want us to come and cry over him.  And there is no way that we could go to see him and not.  He has no regrets.  He has put his matters in order.  He has made the arrangements.  He has obviously looked back on his life and is satisfied.  He has 3 great grown up children.  Happy, successful, good looking people with a good relationship with their dad.  He has golfed around the world, flown planes, bungee jumped in New Zealand, acted, re plastered the ceiling at the Opera House, and more things then I will ever know about.  He has no regrets.

So what are we going to do?  We are going to establish a scholarship in his name for a student in the arts.  Any type of arts program.  Something to live past our Colin.  Something to be established that will out live all of us.  Something to pass on the wonderfulness of our Colin.  Something to honor this friend of ours.  This man who lived a wonderful life.  A man who now faces the end with no regrets.  Colin

I was exhausted after our get together last night.  Mary was there taking care of us, as she touched and murmured to each of us, hugged us with fierceness.  I passed out tangerines to everyone for "luck" for the new year.  Happy Chinese New Year.  Mary, our nurturer, and pizza maker, grandmother, actor, the one that tucks us into bed in her guest room and helps to make us all well.  Dear Mary, she knew the best way for them to tell me about our Colin was this way.  And it was.  I appreciate everyone's consideration in this.  They all knew from the night before at rehearsal.  Now we all knew, together.  Our Colin

This morning, I got up and drove my new car to work and I passed out tangerines to my staff and friends.  And then I cried and cried and cried.  I called Rich and told him about Colin.  I did something that I hated to do, but it was the best way to reach her.  I emailed Melisa about Colin.  Colin adored Melisa.  It was mutual.

And my staff came in and out of my office.  They have gotten used to my crying in my office.  I told them Colin stories as they came in and out, and then my heart leaked more.  Tears just ran from my swollen eyes down my cheeks.  I openly mourned my friend.  He is still with us, but I respect his desire for privacy.  This is new for me.  In the past I would never had gone to work.  I would have stayed home and kept my mourning private.  But I have learned on this journey, that it is better to laugh freely, often and out loud, snorts included.  And I have learned that letting your heart break and the tears flow will only give you more room to love.  I don't flaunt my emotions, but I allow them, and I am more open with them.  And I try to share them with beloveds.  Spread the love, the laughter, the tears, the support and it will hold your friends closer.  friends.

And now I will go pick up my prescriptions and then my Chinese food for the new year.  I will give the girl at the counter a tangerine for the new year.  I will eat this food and celebrate the new year.  And appreciate all the blessings.  Even the blessing of learning of a beloved and the challenges they are facing.  Challenges not that different from mine.

Safe journey My Colin.  Safe journey.


  1. I am thinking of all of you, down there in Florida, living life with me in this connected world.

  2. That was perfect and beautiful and everything that needed to be said and could be said. I was thinking tonight how it just doesn't seem possible that death could catch up with Colin. It seems more likely that any ill demon would look at Colin and have so much fun laughing that he passed on to take someone else.
    What do we know? Not much. Except to cherish each other and ourselves. You have been a teacher for me there, Kathleen. I love you more than words can say.

  3. Oh Kathleen, You have expressed what is in my heart. Thank you for this loving tribute to one of our dearest. I can't stand the thought of not seeing him again, but I have so many beautiful pictures in my mind. We are fortunate. I love you, Jan

  4. I believe that he has made his peace then. He knows that nothing can be done. That is full acceptance and says much about the man.