tightrope walkers

1895, “The Tightrope Walker” by Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931)
1895, “The Tightrope Walker” by Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931)

tight·rope (tītʹrōp´) noun
1. A tightly stretched rope, usually of wire, on which acrobats perform high above the ground.
2. An extremely precarious course or situation.

 “I am always at the beginning,” said The Buddha, on being asked what life was like.

Hello New Year.

Here we are: at the beginning again.
Accidental acrobats.
On this tightrope twined
with the messiness of living,
threads of grief,
and strands of memory. 

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my friend R

Depression afflicts millions directly, and millions more who are relatives or friends of victims. It has been estimated that as many as one in ten Americans will suffer from the illness…which, in its graver, clinical manifestation takes upward of twenty percent of its victims by way of suicide.

– William Styron (1990), Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness


In memory of my longtime and loving friend, Rebecca Pratt (December 24, 1964 – January 28, 2013).


R was one of the wittiest, most intelligent, caring, and beautiful people I have had the privilege of knowing. She was my friend for almost three decades. She was my confidant and sometimes my therapist. She was an incredibly thoughtful card sender. She loved searching for and sending the perfect card in which she’d write, or quote, the perfect words. And her timing was perfect. If I mentioned to her that I had finished a writing piece and felt good about it, lo and behold, a one-of-a-kind congratulatory card would show up in my mailbox 48 hours later.

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save yourself

words that delivered

In her memoir, Lucky, Alice Sebold said, “No one can pull anyone back from anywhere. You save yourself or you remain unsaved.”

It is true.

You have to save yourself (no one can pull you back from this place). You have to trust yourself. You have to be the expert on you and your grief.

In my case, after the sudden death of my son, Sam, I withdrew, cocooned from the world, and ignored those who told me to do otherwise. I was the expert on my grief. This was my way. 

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Dear Willower,

I’ve let too much time pass since writing to you. Every day, I think about writing you. I think about posting and then get busy, or distracted, or just lack the energy. I tell myself it doesn’t matter, anyway. What good is yet another blog post in this overcrowded Twitter world of ours. But then, I come back to this: We’re all searching for that word, that phrase, that nugget of something to confirm that, yes, we are connected. Woven together somehow into this cloth of colorful human beings. And when we connect — to someone who has been where we have been — we’re able to see and find our way, and keep going. Even if our keep going process means more searching. Isn’t that what we’re here for? To search, learn, share, and connect?  

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A few years ago, I saw that someone had added “willower” to UrbanDictionary.com. Okay, it’s a crowdsourced online dictionary of slang words and phrases, but I especially like UD’s tagline: “Define Your World.”

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