Reasoning with Madness
"This is a barbaric yawp, and it will be sounded over the roofs of the world."
Thanks to Oregon, I voted by mail again this year for the primary. Like I have for 24 years, since the first election I got to vote in when I was 18 (I voted for Ross Perot for Prez HA!)
But as I get older - like many of us - I take a closer look at the down ballots, as those have direct impact on my life and surroundings.
Hunter Thompson said politics is the art of controlling your environment. Voting is essential to that process. Lots of local initiatives and candidates to learn about and make a wise choice. Many, not things you want to take lightly or go in blind on.
We all know who the presidential nominee is but I still voted for Bernie, because it doesn't matter who you vote for when the nominee is already chosen. But the local initiatives, mayor elections, etc, those will be the most easily impactful on me. So I vote like a motherfucker in those elections.
Personally, I believe there should be WAY more voting on WAY more shit. Constant voting. Making it easy for everyone. Vote by phone, have an app, send text alerts and updates on ever aspect of society. Sure the beta tests will be ugly, but we refine everything as time goes on.
The reason it was never done before was because the tech didn't exist for the founders to even consider. It's time for an upgrade. Anyone who says otherwise is trying to rig an election in their favor. Vote by mail should be the way Americans cast their ballot. And in the future, we should be able to vote much easier than even that, and far more often.
But I digress.
Thanks to vote by mail, I set aside a few hours a couple weeks ago (long before the deadline) to sit down at my computer and research literally every candidate and measure. I read all the voter pamphlet information, read the local news, went to websites (when there were any) and often ran into a very significant hole in coverage for much of this. Dug into social feeds, forums, financial backing, opposition tactics, who plays clean, who plays dirty, who doesn't even play at all. I studied the advertisement approach of the candidates who spent money (most don't in this smaller primaries) and took note of those who sent nothing out.
I'm not saying everyone should do that. I'm just saying it's nice that we can.
The fact that I could do this research while I'm sitting down with my ballot is the game changer. From the comfort of my own home, with all the time in the world, I could make an informed choice on various measures and positions that will have a very real impact on my environment, based on data and information. And when I'm done, I just toss the paper vote in the envelope it comes with, sign it, and handed off in the mail, and my votes already secured. Sure, I've heard super paranoid people say, "Well how do you know it's really counted?" At which point, if I'm asking that question, I might as well join the flat earthers and fake newsers and check out of reality for good.
But Oregon is in the minority when it comes to mail-in voting. More states still do it the old school way, where you have to rush down after work, or on a lunch break, waiting in line (maybe in the rain, but now with at least a mask on), hopefully before they close, going into a gymnasium or VFW hall full of weird church confessional style "booths" that are being run by old grannies and WWII vets where you would need a cheat sheet with you that you made ahead of time, to make the same decisions.
Yeah. I'm good.
Voting by mail rules. Tell your friends.
And fuck anyone who says otherwise.
For the second time in less than a week the president of the United States has literally threatened violence against his own citizens. And those citizens were primarily black. It has been clear since well before the election that this monster has been racist to the core. Now he is acting on his racism.
This is not Iran. This is not Colombia. This is America.
I fully understand the rage of wanting to burn this motherfucker to the ground. I really do. So many of us have been abandoned, hurt, killed and ruined by the corruption, unbridled hate and staggering injustices of the motherfuckers in power.
And just in the last couple months alone, we've watched the brutal death count of a pandemic out of control, many of us and our own families and friends killed. On top of that the loss of so many jobs, while the rich STILL get richer!
The ugly darkness that has taken over our lives moving at lightning speed, when all of a sudden, the last straw of watching ANOTHER black man murdered by a cop in broad daylight on camera as he begged for his mother, his life and pissed himself before his life slipped away.
I am sickened. I am crippled with rage. I get the fury. I want to scream and break everything too. I've had enough of all this bullshit. It is everything in my power not to go join the people in the streets and burn it all to the ground.
But I must remember this will not fix what's wrong. Violence begets violence. It is not the means to peace.
And I know from experience, change comes from within. Change comes from organizing and unifying. There is a glimmer of hope that some are embracing this mindset, this approach, this goal. To those people, I salute you and I stand with you and as I have always done, I will do my part to create that change we so badly need now.
For those of you reading these words, especially those of you who are praising the violence, I simply ask you to think about what comes next.
It's not what you destroy that defines you, it's what you create.
And finally, if you're willing to set shit on fire, I hope you are willing to take a few minutes to vote.
The fastest way to destroy this hateful mob boss wannabe dictator motherfucker in the White House is to fire his ass.
Please for the love of God.
VOTE THIS MOTHERFUCKER OUT IN NOVEMBER.
It's the End of KROQ Radio.
And that's the story of radio. And why I pulled and broke the eject lever on that motherfucker. I will always love what I got to do in that once grand industry, but I will never forgive what the dead-eyed, soft brained suits did to us. I will never respect what they have done to this industry and the great minds who worked in it.
So many gloriously talented people, flicked off the board like the pawns they were always seen as. The few that are "lucky" enough to remain are still shackled by format, by a litany of regulations and rules written by people who could never do what the wizards behind the mic could ever do, all of them working to build efficiency, doing more and more in less and less time.
Frazzled artistic geniuses running as fast as they can under the barking orders of tightening up the efficiency agenda. An entire life lived by the second hand of the clock.
None of it with the goal to create art or push the envelop, or connect with human beings, but to chase a buck. To sell mattresses and memorial day car sales. And I will not participate. I welcome Spotify and podcasts.
The veils are lifting on every institution, and across them all, in the center of them, we see a cancerous corruption eating it all from the inside out, a rot that has gone on too long to survive much longer. The virus killing its host. Government. Media. Religion. Business.
Truth itself seems to be under audit.
All of the pillars of society are collapsing as the rust and rot has taken it over. We are watching the building of a new society, a new reality.
It is our time now and what we do with it will shape this planet for perhaps the next millennium. It is a time of magick, with the old ways dying off to make way for the new...it cannot be denied, it cannot be stopped.
Death and birth are labor, and with it, there are agonizing pain and suffering involved with both. I welcome the rebirth of our society.
Radio is just one of the tentacles of the Beast rotting away and disintegrating in front of us. It is painful and sad, as is death. But it is part of the cycle. The long tail of the ouroboros, eating itself.
The spiral of all things.
Long live Radio, Radio is Dead.
While I have returned to full time work, I am with this guy waiting for the month of unemployment checks I still have not received. It has been 2 months for me too. I had to call a back line a friend gave me just to get through to this worthless dept to even get my claim filed. I recieved a letter stating my weekly benefits a week later but have still not seen a dime. I drained most of my savings to stay afloat and I'd like to know when the promise will be kept to get my money. Meanwhile I see on the news our governor fighting to keep the lockdown in place, fining hair salons for opening, while ignoring the life raft that most of us need to stay in lockdown. Gov Kate Brown needs to quit the political posturing and help her fucking constituents.
Thoughts are prayers. Words are spells. That's why its called spelling. Every thought is an offering you accept or reject. Choose wisely the thoughts you embrace and the words that you use. They manifest and create the reality you inhabit.
Realize the thoughts are not yours until you make them yours. They are a frequency of infinity and come from the divine realm. We merely receive the thought, much like a radio frequency comes in on a stereo. It is up to us what we do with it from there.
Tune in to the thoughts that make you better, stronger and more resilient. Tune out the thoughts that make you worse, weaker and less resilient.
Accept the thoughts as they are and use them to grow, love and achieve enlightenment.
It takes practice, it takes effort, but it will serve you and those around you, in the long run, to channel your thoughts and words in this manner.
Be well friends.
There are artists in this world and there is the paint by number crowd. America is mostly a paint by number scenario now. Stay in the lines, don't paint the wrong color.
Every thing must be able to be built on a conveyor belt conforming all art toward replication and mediocrity. The only judge of success in America is the almighty dollar.
There's little room for outside the line painting and there's even less room for big bold vision unless it can make a shit ton of money.
All these prebuilt paths to success make it very difficult for the true artists out there to find any success, because success in America means money or power.
Artists need "followers" and "fans" to be "successful" in America. Because those followers and fans are humanized extensions of money and power. So in order for the artist to survive, they must adhere to the paint by number formula.
But what the paint by number folks don't realize is that without the artists, their prebuilt portraits, their prebuilt paths don't exist.
People will say, "the true artist is rare" but they are not as rare as you think. What these people are really saying is "the true artist who conforms and becomes a success in the paint by number world of homogenization is rare" because it is.
There are many true artists. They are all around us. You are probably one of them and you just didn't realize it or you were never encouraged to embrace that part of you. Maybe you just didn't have time, since most of our reality is simply trying to survive. I get it.
But the true artist need not focus on success, but of the creative impulse within, the yearning to participate and channel true divinity. Tuning into the divine channel, the god realm, and letting it move through you.
Art should never be measured by these paint by number standards of "success". In fact, it should never be measured at all. It should not be held in that light. It should simply be embraced for what it is: An extension of a human's soul. A brief tribute to our divinity.
The artist thrives on creative impulse and tapping into the muses around them, making art from nothing and exposing the true essence of this reality in ways that the paint by number crowd could never achieve.
The true artist does not care if what they create generates money. That is not why they create. They create because they must. They create because they can. And they create for themselves and for anyone interested in what they create. Perhaps it has some intrinsic value outside it's mere creation, perhaps it simply exists.
Sending love to all the artists in my world who struggle with this paint by number world we live in. Especially now when the paint by number scenarios are being destroyed every day and that crowd begins to get uneasy without their guidelines. I see you. I hear you. I appreciate you.
Also sending love to the folks in the paint by number crowd who are waking up to the truth that they are actually artists and painting in the lines isn't and has never truly satisfied them.
Tap into your soul, into your muse, listen to that voice within and from without and just create. Don't worry about making money with it. That should never be the goal. Just manifest and create. Shake off the discomfort of embracing your art and just let it happen.
The exciting truth of embracing your art is where it can take you, how it transforms and manifests not your bank account, but your soul. And that creativity begins to permeate the rest of your life too.
Whether it's surviving a pandemic or just making the mundane routine pattern of your life more bearable and meaningful, becoming a true artist is the greatest gift you could ever give yourself. It will last a lifetime and it will never let you down, it will never stop.
Listen to it. Listen to yourself.
This is a difficult time for us all but I hope that it gives rise to a new generation of artists and art, in whatever way it unfolds.
My mom passed away on St Patricks Day 2020 from multisystem organ failure due to multifactorial caridogenic, hemmorrhagic and hypovollemic shock.
Significant conditions contributing to her death include: Toxic metabolic encephalopathy. Acute GI bleed. Ischemic bowel. Hypertensive emergency. NSTEMI. Cerebral Vascular Accident.
These were the reasons listed on her death certificate. But it is becoming clear that what triggered all of this was COVID-19. My father also fell ill with similar symptoms - pneumonia, respiratory and heart failure - and nearly died too. At one point they even shared a hospital room.
Neither were tested for COVID-19. The doctors were mystified by how sick my mother was and how it kept getting worse. She suffered for 6 weeks, traveling to 3 hospitals and one life flight helicopter trip to her final destination of OHSU in Portland, OR where she died.
She was in ICU for most of February, in Lebanon, OR and Corvallis, OR, only briefly regaining consciousness for a few days and transferred to a PCU in Corvallis. Doctors neglected her for three days, as her health deteriorated into brain damage from strokes, shock, and more. She was transferred back to the ICU and was flown to OHSU a day later.
She suffered horrifically. My father and I were by her side during her final days and I was right next to her as she took her final breaths. This all happened as COVID-19 ramped up across the country and the world. No one was prepared, not doctors, not government. This took down our whole society.
We have not been able to hold a funeral or memorial for my mother. Her ashes rest in a bamboo urn on my dining room table. I can't even bring them to my father. She was supposed to walk me down the aisle this summer for my wedding. A wedding that has sadly been postponed.
In addition to my mother being slaughtered by this virus, I am one of the millions of Americans instantly devastated by the hellish economic damage that is being wrought on this nation.
A week after my mom passed, my work closed their doors and furloughed most of the staff. I was fortunate enough to keep some hours, but they are not enough to cover my bills. I have not received unemployment yet despite filing nearly 3 weeks ago, nor have I received the $1200 that Steve Mnuchin said should last me ten weeks.
We are watching the destruction of every industry from healthcare to manufacturing to retail to well, take your pick. Tens of millions are immediately out of work with no help but a mingy $1200 and maybe some unemployment. If they can get it actually filed.
So many businesses shuddering staff and closing down, some forever. Heritage staples of communities, legendary restaurants, pillars of cities, gone forever. Poof. Like that. How many shattered dreams? How many families are and will lose everything?
Had our president acted properly when the alarms were going off, much of this could have been avoided. We could have braced for this better. But we all know that's not what happened.
My mother's death has been a tragic blow to me and my family. And the reality that it was most likely COVID-19 that caused her horrible death is another layer to our agony. But we may never get confirmation. You can't test ashes.
As I learn more about this virus, I realize it did many of the things to my mom that it has done to many of the elderly and immune compromised. It rips through the vulnerable like a typhoon, from the brain to the toes, every part of the body is attacked. Lungs are flooded, the brain is shredded, the stomach bleeds, nerve endings are eaten, kidneys break down, blood pressure tanks and skyrockets, fevers rage, pneumonia never goes away, the heart collapses, blood starts to clot, all organs fail from catastrophic shock.
The fact that our nation's response was so slow means the medical staff wasn't even thinking of this. It just wasn't on the radar in any significant way. I asked every hospital and none of them took it seriously. One nurse in Lebanon even joked early on as my mom fought a fever, that, "at least she doesn't have corona virus." Yet the medical record doesn't reflect that. In her only lab results, way back in Lebanon, there's even a note to make clear she was tested for all strains of corona virus. Except for the current 2019 novel corona virus.
From there, no further tests were done, despite a bizarre pneumonia that mystified the OHSU NICU doctors. A sickness that did not end or respond to antibiotics that seemed to spread throughout her entire body, through every system, destroying her piece by piece. Ruthlessly.
Had it been clear in January how serious this coming threat was, when we still had time to prepare and the government could have acted appropriately, perhaps the hospitals would have the ability, the foresight and the tools to fight this. But they did not. And in many cases, they still don't.
And sadly, my mother also faced the tragedy of neglect during a crucial time in her hospitalization. Her medical records expose this quite clearly. For three days in the PCU in Corvallis, OR following a lengthy stay in ICU in two hospitals, her health deteriorated rapidly while her doctors practically did nothing to address it.
It wasn't that they couldn't figure out what was happening, it was that they didn't even admit something was happening. They considered her failing cognitive functioning, her inability to speak, form sentences or swallow anymore, they considered that to be her "baseline" functioning.
It took crucial days for the medical staff to agree to do any basic tests, as they grossly assumed my mother simply had dementia, a disorder that develops over years, not days. They were hesitant to perform even a MRI that ultimately showed the storm of strokes in her brain that exploded during that time. We begged them to do this test. The nearly blank medical record during these crucial days in the PCU speaks volumes.
By the time the medical staff decided to take any action to save my mother's life, it was too late. While they ignored her, her brain was collapsing worse by the day and her vitals were failing, her fever came back and a slew of bizarre health concerns became very apparent until it all culminated in respiratory failure, sepsis and shock. We sat helpless watching as nurses made limited efforts to help my mother as she was dying.
It was clear my mother was in serious trouble and for days, our begging of the doctors to do anything went ignored. It wasn't until I filed formal complaints, threatened lawsuits and media coverage with the hospital administration that they took the situation seriously. Keep in mind, this is before any hospitals had any cases of COVID-19, so there was no reason she should have been neglected at this time.
The afternoon my fiance and I met with patient relations and laid out our concerns, which patient relations agreed were grave and serious, my mother's health collapsed into shock. That evening she was rushed back to the ICU.
By then, the damage had been done. On Ash Wednesday of 2020 my mom was life flighted to Portland, but it was merely her body that went. Her mind was gone, destroyed from the army of strokes and seizures that took her sight, her cognition, her ability to swallow and ultimately her life.
I share my story hoping to put a human element into all the stats and death rates that get shared. My mom wasn't a number. She was a beautiful, kind soul who loved kids, flowers, comedy, reading, cats, Native American and Egyptian culture, vikings, aliens and the paranormal. Born and raised in Florida, she loved going to the beach.
She was an old shaman of the 60s, a flower girl hippy with the soul of a rock n roll sage. A piano player and lover of music who never complained even as she lost the ability to perform, as she suffered crippling pain from multiple disabilities throughout her life, only to succumb to something more horrific and brutal than anything she ever suffered throughout her entire life.
My mom lived for hanging out with family and friends, going out to eat (so she didn't have to cook she would say). She was always the heart and soul of all holiday gatherings. Everyone loved her.
Carla Sundberg was only 66 years old.
She was a mother of three. Grandmother of six. Wife of 47 years to my father, who is now a widow.
I haven't even been able to visit him since she died as I don't want to risk getting him sick or causing his death. He turned 72 a week ago and we all celebrated on chat.
I miss my mom tremendously. I miss my dad. This new reality has been very difficult to comprehend and adjust to. But we're trying.
I don't know what's next but I wanted to share my story. I have been in a very dark place for some time now and I feel like me, my family, and millions of others have similar stories.
We need testing. We need to help our healthcare workers. We need supplies not just for them, but for all Americans. Masks, gloves, etc. should be easily available to us all.
We need to pay all essential workers a living wage once and for all and we need to pay all of them back hazard pay for every hour worked during this time.
We all need time to regain our financial footing. The federal government - not the state or local government - needs to put an indefinite moratorium on ALL bills until we can go back to work safely again. Not a forbearance. A total hold.
Also, double the check amounts to Americans and pay that every month we struggle. Or offer expanded SNAP to all families. Federal government can prop up state and local govt under national emergency measure to ensure regular services continue.
Add the months we couldn't pay our bills throughout this time period to the end of the loans, spread the cost of utilities of the missing time out over 2-5 years of slightly increased rates (a few bucks on top of the bill) and no one will feel the pain.
We could weather this storm. There are solutions. But we have to make them happen. If our elected leaders cannot do it, we must fire them. We elect new leaders who can and will do the right thing.
November is coming. The ghosts of the dead will be in every voting booth, on every ballot and in every heart that votes. I know for a fact my mother's death will be behind every one of my votes. She will be guiding my family's votes. We will make sure her death is not in vain. Her voice will be heard. And we will not be alone.
Learning that my mother may have actually caught COVID19 as well as my father, both of whom were on their death beds at the same time battling pneumonia and heart failure and breathing problems. My dad won the battle and survived. My mom did not. My dad was never tested. My mom was in the same hospital. I was told she received an older test version of coronavirus which didn't actually check for the covid19 strain back at the 1st hospital in Lebanon when her symptoms were severe and somewhat a mystery to the medical staff. They couldn't get her to wake up so sent her to Corvallis where she did wake up in ICU and was transferred to the PCU room where my dad was fighting for his life. My mom's doctors neglected her for multiple days (verified by her medical records) then lied to the family about her condition and refused to do testing that we requested. Other doctors did those tests to find exactly what we expected before her health took a horrible turn for the worst and she went into shock after she seemed to recover from a brutal strange case of pneumonia. But at this point, we've yet to find any records of her getting tested for covid19 by anyone, anywhere. I don't know how to process any of this right now...
Finished that tiger show. Initial thoughts did not change through the season. Aside from three of the workers on the "zoo" - two of which were missing limbs and the other just a burnt out shell of a guy - Fuck all these monsters. I hope they all rot in hell. Especially Carol. You know she's a murderer. I thought that before they said her husband was missing. She's a monster as much as the rest of these hideous fucks. They ALL capitalized on the torture and imprisonment of wild animals. I pray that all these freaks end up in the cages they made their living on. What was funny at first became monstrous and gut wrenching. What a perfect metaphor for the sickening times we live in. That show is America. Full stop.
Well today I join the 6.6 million in the unemployment line. We will see if next week is any different. Luckily I've got a meager rainy day fund built and fully stocked kitchen. We shall see if that $1200 ever shows up. Not everyone is as lucky. Sending strength and love toward all my fellow human souls going through these dark times. Many of us are going to struggle, many of us already are, but we will overcome. May you and your loved ones and your friends survive this plague. And for those we've already or may lose from this horrific virus, may the afterlife be worth the pain they were dealt on this planet. And may their families find peace.
Sending love and support to anyone going through dark times right now, in whatever way.
There's plenty of folks who are just taking an awkward staycation and moaning about being bored or cooped up or watching too much tv.
There's plenty more who are terrified of losing their home, losing a family member, having to work at a hospital or grocery store or delivery service or really anywhere that can't or won't let their staff work from home.
There are millions out of work, immediately, who are going to drown in this mess if they don't get help soon. There's hundreds of thousands who are struggling to survive, struggling with this illness and thousands dying from it.
I get trying to keep it light or humorous at times to keep the darkness at bay, but I just want to acknowledge the people who are truly suffering right now, who are lost, in pain, at the end of their rope, fighting the war of a lifetime.
Keep fighting. Hang in there. You are loved.
We will make it.
We will make it together.
As I sit and attempt to work from home, waiting for the painfully slow work laptop to determine when it will access the network remotely, I listen to music, watching the dark grey skies float through the bizarre spring air and wonder what all this is doing to me.
The apocalypse is no longer a future event, it is now. I am not sick with the virus, yet. My father has not acquired it. None of my family. We are sheltering in place. Stocked on food for a little while. I have arms and plenty of brass in case this gets really ugly. At least I'll go down guns blazing protecting myself and my family. My job, like millions of others, is in a state of limbo in a way that horrifies me thinking of what happens if none of us find our way back to real work. I know these are not the most rational thoughts, but when one even peeks at that jackal of a president and how he's treating this, it's clear that we have no leader and are on our own now. It's not hard to imagine we're totally and utterly doomed.
My mother's death hangs in my head draping around it completely like a long curtain, a tapestry of sorts. All the memories from childhood, from young adulthood, adulthood and most recently, those six weeks when she faded away in front of my eyes, cruelly, unnecessary, due to shockingly poor medical care, something that hurts to even say during this unprecedented time, where I do indeed see doctors and nurses as the new class heroes. But not the ones who let my mother die. No, they are monsters and I fear they will let far more people just die when the waves of this virus comes crashing down on everyone. I fear for their patients. I will not go into the specifics here. I don't have the stomach for it and it's not the time.
I don't know what's next. The start of 2020, I was planning a wedding with my fiance, who said yes just before Christmas. I was building a new era of a marketing department for a company that I love and respect. I just got back from a sunny and wonderful trip to California. There were good plans in the works. We built wedding playlists with songs for my mother to walk me down the aisle and dance with me to. We were just starting to do well the two of us, not just emotionally and physically, but financially. We were going to go on trips with our dog. Visit friends. Build our family and home. I was recording music for one band and practicing with another. My parents were alive and well, just a quick drive out of town to visit. My sisters were slowly getting better. My nieces building their lives out. There was a path of sorts we were all on. We had a bit of a roadmap to where the future was headed.
Now that's been blown to pieces. There's no more paths. There's just chaos, confusion and darkness. It seems the gods have abandoned me. Abandoned my family. Abandoned the world.
And I shift between pure all-encompassing sorrow and grief that cripples me, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically and furious rage at how this all happened and continues to happen. I can't think straight. I can't see past the moment I'm experiencing. Those now hideous Buddhist noble truths and the first 4 phases of the grieving process thrown in a blender with a pound of my heart for flavor.
I feel selfish in my pain, as I know there are so many others who are in worse shape than I am. There are people going through immense stress and suffering. Countless stories exist, and mine, in some ways is so cliche and pathetic. Who am I to feel this way when there are nurses working 24 hour shifts with no masks, taking care of the dying who are passing their death to them, to take home to their families, who aren't working anymore, who are in the same place as much of us wondering if they will lose their house and everything they've built?
It's moments like this where I would end with some positive twist, some meager, yet poetic attempt at optimism. It's Friday after all. There's a new Pearl Jam album out today. There's other things I know I should be happy and grateful for. But I'm not. Not today. Not now. I want to feel this blackness. This death. I want it to envelope me in it's cold cocoon. I want it to take me with it. Take me far from this place. Where we are eternal spirits without fear, without pain, without suffering. I want to be there right now. Not here. Not anymore.
I hate this world now and all the people in it. Including myself. I hate our ignorance and our inability to transcend this physical reality any more than we have. That we've not yet learned the tricks of immortality all these years into our time. We are still pathetic and weak and stupid and mean. And in the end, none of it really matters anyway.
This is not a cry for help. This is not a warning. Do not fear for my safety. I am not a rash person like I was when I was dumb and younger.
My anger will keep me alive. I have that inherited survival mechanism that my mother had. I won't die without a fight. I have fought my entire life. It is my nature.
But today, I don't have much fight in me. I am weak. I am broken. I am butchered into thousands of pieces. I'm sure, this too, like all things, will pass. And I guess that's all I can hope for on this overcast, chilly spring day. Until then, I will remain functioning as best I can in a world that stopped making sense a long time ago.
Among the most painful realities of witnessing death — one particularly exasperating for type-A personalities — is how swiftly it severs the direct correlation between effort and outcome around which we build our lives. Though the notion might seem rational on the surface — especially in a culture that fetishizes work ethic and “grit” as the key to success — an underbelly of magical thinking lurks beneath, which comes to light as we behold the helplessness and injustice of premature death. Noting that “the mourner’s mind is superstitious, looking for signs and wonders,” O’Rourke captures this paradox:
One of the ideas I’ve clung to most of my life is that if I just try hard enough it will work out. If I work hard, I will be spared, and I will get what I desire, finding the cave opening over and over again, thieving life from the abyss. This sturdy belief system has a sidecar in which superstition rides. Until recently, I half believed that if a certain song came on the radio just as I thought of it, it meant that all would be well. What did I mean? I preferred not to answer that question. To look too closely was to prick the balloon of possibility.
But our very capacity for the irrational — for the magic of magical thinking — also turns out to be essential for our spiritual survival. Without the capacity to discern from life’s senseless sound a meaningful melody, we would be consumed by the noise.
A wonderful take on grieving: https://www.themarginalian.org/2014/06/09/meghan-o-rourke-the-long-goodbye/
Yesterday, a week after my mom passed to the immortal realm of the gods, my company made the difficult, yet wise decision to close down temporarily at the end of the day for the next two and a half weeks. Today I'm waiting to hear from our IT dept as to whether my work laptop can vpn effectively from home and whether my boss even wants me to keep working on my projects or if I should just hit the pause button on my job until this all dies down.
Depending on those two conversations, I'm either going to be lucky enough to work from my home office and keep a much needed paycheck coming in or I'll be joining many of you in the unemployment line and figuring out which bills I can defer this month (and maybe next).
What an insane time we are going through.
PS: if you're one of the people who hoard toilet paper, food, belittle essential workers, ignore social distancing measures, or think old people should die to save the economy, go fuck yourself.
Today I went back to work.
I had to. Since I'm still new there, I haven't built up much pto, so I've had a lot of unpaid time off lately with my mom's descent into a brutal unnecessary death. I won't have enough to cover my portion of my mortgage or most of my bills. I have some savings and credit cards, so I'll figure it out. Yes, we're still going in to work. Manufacturing aren't required closures under the order.
But it's hard to complain since I need the money and at least I still have a job. So far. And hey, at least traffic is better. But it's all different now. The darkness of my mother's death is sinking in like the days after a hideous car crash. Right after it's not so bad, strangely.
But today, trying to be "normal" doing "normal" things in the darkest chapters of American history, at least in my life, well, it was difficult to say the least. My faith in god is gone. My patience with stupidity is shot. My anger is ripe and the shock waves of despair, while less frequent, still hit me like tsunami waves I have no way of dodging. I seize up. Forget what I'm thinking. Get that throw-up feeling of tears well up in my throat again, my eyes fill, my head throbs, and I am crippled, taken right back to those...moments.
When she is in that bed.
Eyes floating around in their brain shattered blindness, seeing nothing. Mouth gaping, gasping for air.
That smell of antiseptic liquids and sickness. Her life slipping away in front of me as I sat there, day after day, night after night, praying to a fucking god that isn't there, that turned their fucking back on us and her, as I was staying positive that she might just wake up. But she's not. She's going to die. Just like you will one day. But not like she's dying. No, she's really dying.
Painlessly they say, giving you the game show buzzer of dilaudin, that you can send into her body every six minutes. They keep adding atavan to relax her shredded, broken mind as she lives through god only fucking knows in that limbo of hell she described before her mind was ripped away. When she could still talk and tell jokes.
And I am frozen at my desk, the dual monitors waiting for my next command and I'm not even there anymore. I'm there. Again. Right there. It's clear as the screens in front of me. And I have to thank well...not god anymore, but maybe my "good" fortune that I still have a job right now. I have to remind myself that this all too shall pass.
Perhaps I will have a better day tomorrow.
All I really know, though, is that tomorrow is a long fucking time from now and I am doing everything in my power to make it to the next minute.
Even the next hour is too far from my ability to process right now. But I'm also lucky to have a beautiful woman and dog and neighbors who brought me whiskey and friends who check in with me even when I don't have the strength or time to reply right away.
And I'm trying now, tonight, to meditate on that.
Because the alternative, well, it's unfathomable.
If the government bails out the airlines who were all buying back their own stock to inflate their rates, then the government can absofuckinglutely cancel all student loans. Or at the very fucking least allow them to be included in bankruptcy. Every other cost a human incurs can be written off in bankruptcy, every business in America can declare bankruptcy, but the ONE bill we can't write off is education.
Think about that for a second.
People who went to college to be more educated, to be a productive member of society, most of whom chose that route because the work they wanted to do, work that could make a living wage...those jobs REQUIRE higher education. Medical staff. Engineers. Scientists. The people who are furiously seeking out a cure or an antidote to this virus. They all require higher education. If something is required, then it should be at the very least, able to be declared in bankruptcy. Especially now. Especially when the vast majority of people working in America who are now sidelined will most likely have to declare bankruptcy.
My very own household of two people, if we were to declare bankruptcy today or this year due to this horrific tragedy befalling on this world, would STILL owe nearly $800 in student loan debt every single month. For decades. And here's the big catch. My parents, grandparents, they weren't crippled by student loan debt. They didn't need higher education to have a decent job.
But that trend changed in the 70s and 80s. A basic 4 year college degree costs $80,000 at the low end now. Forget masters degrees or phds. Its appalling to me that we have made multiple generations of Americans prisoners of their own debt by trying to make something of themselves. The cost of education is beyond acceptable. It is continuing a trench between the haves and the have nots and it needs to stop.
We should be ashamed of ourselves. We should all be fucking ashamed.
It's time to end student debt. Or at least allow it in bankruptcy.
Th US government is pumping $1T per DAY into the banks as we speak.
Not week or month.
In one and a half days of bank bailout, boom.
All student debt could be absolved.
Millions of Americans immediately have hundreds or thousands of dollars PER MONTH back into their bank accounts. For GOOD. Not for a month. Forever.
And at the same time, we must continue forth with temporary financial distribution to every single American (legal or otherwise), as well as increases in unemployment, food and healthcare assistance too for every month this goes on. Especially those literally contracting this fucking virus.
And if the banks want to avoid an actual revolution, they will absolve all debt during the window of time this has taken hold, from the inception of this virus to the end of it. I'm not talking delaying or forebearing so it can balloon out and rupture the very fabric of our society as it works to piece itself back from ruin. I'm talking about nothing due.
They're getting their bailout.
They will be just fine.
Let's fight for the rest of us who aren't so fortunate. Who have already and may soon lose the job we live paycheck to paycheck on. Let's stand up for ourselves and each other and not let politics play out as usual, where we all get fucked with the wink and handshake that "everything's fine" while the rich do a little bit better, like always.
Unless we hold the fools who run our government accountable, the fools who have the keys to the solutions, we know they won't address these matters and take this stance or one like it. And if that's the case, it's my belief that all of them, every last one of them, yet again before the gods and humankind, are worth literally less than TOILET PAPER right now.
Took a few days off to mourn and reflect on my mother's life. Forced myself out of the house to get some much needed time in the trees today. It's where I feel closest to the Divine. Took Kea and the dog to hike up by the hospital where she passed. It's a beautiful place with the city below and Mt Hood in the distance. But going up the mountain you can get lost in the forest where I am most at home. I swear I could feel my mom in the gentle breeze...
Carla Jean Larisey Sundberg passed through the akashic field to the immortal realm of the gods yesterday. My father and I were with her as she took her last human breath at 4:10pm PT, which just so happens to be my father's birthday (4:10 = April 10). I still can't believe she has left this mortal coil. But I can already feel her presence around me protecting me.
I love you forever mom. I'll see you again one day.
Until then, I hope you are enjoying the new freedom and those beautiful new wings.
Dad told me he wanted my mom to go out in style. He didn't want her to rot away in some fucking nursing home. It's no Florida beach, but it will have to do. At least my mom's room has a nice view of a pretty mountainside, as she prepares for her journey into the next world. I love you forever mom. I'm gonna fucking miss you.
Who Am I?
I am Ahab.