The Other End of Sunset

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Exit, stage left

First of all, let me start off by thanking British Airways for having gluten-free bread that I could eat with jam and some butter-like spread. Very nice surprise for me.

I'm flying back from the Roadshow From Hell (hereafter, referred to as RFH). In about 3 weeks, we did presentations in London, NY, LA, Tokyo, Paris, Milan and Cologne. Doesn't sound so hard when written out, but believe me it was very hard while doing it. I'm extremely tired, and my brain is no longer working too well. More on that later.

I'm not sure why, but long flights make me depressed. I spent the first few hours listening to a greatest hits compilation of Bruce Springsteen music. Given a predilection for depression, this is a poor choice of music.

Do you ever let your lover see the Stranger in yourself
-- Billy Joel

I know I said I wouldn't write so much about Jeanne... but I don't think I promised I wouldn't!

I'm starting to forget things about Jeanne. I can't remember her eyes, the way they crinkled at the corners when she laughed. The way she lilted her voice when she was "talking" to the dogs. Or which was her favorite pair of boots.

And even more terrifying, I had trouble remembering her birthdate. I remember what I did for her for the last birthday, and how much she liked her birthdays with me, but I couldn't remember the date. In fact, I'm going to have to check to make sure what I remember is correct.

Dates are the kind of thing I remember. Maybe I'm just tired? Or maybe I'm getting old, and my famed powers of memory are fading?

Now all them things that seemed so important
well mister they just vanished right into the air.
Now I just act like I don't remember,
Mary acts like she don't care.
--Bruce Springsteen

I'm abnormally afraid of getting old. I don't want to give up my passion, my energy, my hopes for growth. I'm not ready to be... stagnant. Or is that really being content?

They all live out in the suburbs,
where their dreams are in their children at play
--Mary-Chapin Carpenter

I listen to songs about family and children, and instead of hearing hope, I hear nothing but wistfulness and a feeling of loss. Are people indeed more content in their children than they were before? How do people become more content with your partner after there are no secrets or surprises left?

Now those memories come back to haunt me
they haunt me like a curse.
Is a dream a lie if it don't come true?
-Bruce Springsteen

I've never been especially good at commitment. Yes, yes, I know, that's a bit of an understatement. But I've decided to work on it. I'm reading books, thinking, talking... and, yes, writing about it.

SL wants to have children, and I am getting myself there. I wonder if I will be a good father, or if I'll be the kind of father that hides at the office with scarcely concealed annoyance with the "rugrats".

I never married Jeanne, and I never told her she was my life. When she first got sick, before we knew she was going to die, I told her I'd be with her until she got well.

I meant that she didn't need to fear being sick and alone -- she had that experience earlier in her life, and it scarred her.

But that's not what she wanted to hear from me. As soon as I said that, she would respond "what about after I get well?" I never answered, I just smiled. Because I wanted to have one foot out the door, all the time.

Would she have gotten well if I had told her I'd be with her? I don't really believe that, but I still wish I had said so.

And, even more, I wish I hadn't had one foot out the door.

SL, my feet are both inside, and the door is locked.

(Sidenote: my new house has a set of electronic locks. I can't figure out how to open them. Thus, even if wanted to have one foot out the door, I couldn't manage it.)

It's Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for a lot. My friends, my fiancee, and those in my past who have loved me -- even those I have lost or who have lost me.

Go hug someone, and tell them they are your life. And hug your kids.

And, if you feel like it, reassure me that I can keep both feet inside. I'm planning on it.


  • I'n so glad to see that you've begin to update your blog again.
    Now the reading experience is happier for me.
    I surely hope that you'll be a good dad in the future.
    a reader from China

    By Blogger Anemone, at 5:12 AM  

  • I've always thought you could do anything you set yourself to do.

    Consider yourself hugged--and one for your fiance too.

    By Blogger Sue, at 12:01 PM  

  • You know I too lost many people I loved and I've always wondered if I had done anything differently would the outcome have changed. The reality is no.
    The only thing that changed is being more aware of those I love now and those who love me.

    I forget and forgot the little things as well but I realize I would have forgotten them if they were still alive also. It's just them being alive erases our guilt in forgetting.

    I read your blog constantly and I can tell you emphatically you will be a wonderful father and you should entertain that joy in your life as soon as possible.

    What we learn (the hard way) and what we pass on to our children is the greatest legacy we can have.

    I don't know you sir, but I do know you are kind, sensitive and emotional, exactly what good parent needs to be.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:15 PM  

  • When you and SL decide to have kids, don't travel as much for work, if possible. Take it from someone whose parents divorced at six, it's not good to have a dad not present(hundreds of reasons) for those early(and later) years. SL is perfect for you. Both feet firmly planted, like on the wakeboard! ;-)

    By Blogger Damon, at 11:30 AM  

  • I loved your post :) It was honest as usual and I support your decision of making a commitment to SL. I'd hug you just for that if I could!

    I hope you start a family and learn the joys and pains of being a parent. You'll be just fine!!

    By Blogger Jessie Cherian, at 6:36 AM  

  • I'm happy to hear that things are looking up for you. Congratulations on your engagement - sorry about the pain of the past. I hope you know now that 'Settling down' doesn't have to mean you are settling down. It hopefully just means you have someone to share it all with who can go through the ups and downs along side you.

    I went to wish you Happy Holidays and found that you have taken up a new challenge in Music - you never disappoint.

    It has been a couple of years since we had lunch. My last baby just turned 1 year old and I was taking some time to connect with the people I have missed.

    Take care of yourself and Happy Holidays!


    By Blogger G, at 10:29 AM  

  • So nice to see you're blogging again. You take a few months off and I think you've given up on it in favor of your mysterious new project involving an editor. Wishing you many blessing at Christmas and in the New Year.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:20 PM  

  • Doug,

    Congratulations on your engagement!

    Jeanne knew you, so I suspect she knew she was your life (even if you couldn't articulate it or even recognize it).

    And, should your future include children, I know that you will give them your heart and soul. It's just how you roll.

    Btw, you'll find your youth again when you're experiencing things for the first time with your kids. It's pretty amazing (as is getting a killer hug from chubby little arms that refuse to let go).

    All the best,

    By Blogger Christie, at 1:37 PM  

  • Two feet on the inside? You can totally do it! And you'll be the coolest dad on the block one day. No doubt about it. Well, naturally, you'll also be with the coolest (and hottest) mom on the block but I think that goes without saying! Miss you guys!

    By Blogger forsie, at 3:27 PM  

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