Friday, February 17, 2012

Channeling Dan

Dear Dan,

Once again, mom was in the hospital. Each time it gets more difficult. The doctor said it because of "sundowners." Older people who go into the hospital tend to become confused because they are in unfamiliar surroundings. Add to this, she had a heart attack. The body chemistry was messed up and the hospital was pumping her full of drugs.

Confusion now goes in to a whole other dimension. Mom "travels" when she goes to the hospital. I can repeat over and over to her that she's in a hospital, but that information doesn't stay in her information banks. In her mind, mom is on a trip somewhere.

This time she was at your house. The house was apparently huge. She kept asking me where she was supposed to stay. In her mind, not only was she asking about guest rooms, she was asking YOU.

At one point she said something about "all the other people." You told her you would just move them out. Not something I ever said.

Later she was talking about all the people in the kitchen. In reality, they were the people at the nurses' station.

The second night, when I was called back after being home for an hour and just falling asleep, she said something about "those women" and "every night when I come down here." I tried to reason with her and tell her she wasn't there every night. At that point she asked how I knew since I was out every night. That statement alone should have clued me into the fact that she didn't know she was talking to me.

Then she called me "Dan." Repeatedly.

A couple days after mom was released and home, she told me she thought she was talking to you. So when she thanked me for always being there when she needed me, she was talking to you.

You might think this upset me and you'd be right to a small extent but I choose to look at the reasons behind it. There have been times when I say a phrase or word and think "Oh my god, that's the same intonation Dan used."

I had spoken to friends of yours right after your death. Several of them mentioned that some of our inflections were identical.

Let's face it, bro, I am now channeling you! And I have to tell you, it can be very comforting hearing your voice, even if it's only in my head and out of my mouth.

I love and miss you, Danno.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Dear Dan,

Dad has been gone 23 years today. 23 years today, you were here to help mom with the arrangements and to get information from the doctor in Memphis. It's odd to look back and see how much has changed in that time.

You were alive, for one thing. You were living in the apartment mom and I now share. I was living in New York. Mom was living in New Jersey. Scott was living in the house where we grew up.

You were in selling real estate. I was a stagehand. Mom was word processing and Scott was a security guard.

In our future was 23 years of changing residences, careers and relationship status.

Health status changed for all of us. Except for Scott's, all were minor changes associated with getting older. I was sure we would lose Scott before you. That would have been a natural progression of events, given his health challenges.

But you just had to go and, quite literally, jump the line, didn't you? Did you have any idea of the hole you would leave? Did what this would do to us ever cross your mind? Or did you think we wouldn't care? Did you think of us at all? Or do people committing suicide not think about the aftermath on the ones who love them?

22 anniversaries of dad's death have passed. You were with us for 18.

Since we don't have a marker for you or a spot to visit, when I go to see dad, I talk to you as well. I guess I could just go talk to my sock drawer, but that would just be weird. No more weird than the fact that some of your ashes are still in my sock drawer.

Anyway, when I visit dad, I talk to you as well. I'm hoping you two are together and getting along.

I think of you every day and miss you every day.

I love you. Say hello to dad for me and tell him I love him too.

Yep, I love and miss you both, bro.