Sunday, March 12, 2017

Cry if I Want To

"It's ok to cry."

I sometimes have to say these words to myself out loud.

David, my amazing husband, just got home from the gym.  He walked through the door of our Brooklyn apartment singing along to his music.  David went to the gym this afternoon (yeah...I will get back to the gym soon, I know).  I was crying on the sofa.

"Don't cry, honey"

"I'm good, I swear."

"What's wrong?"

"It's just this television series I'm watching."

"Why do you watch things that make you cry?"

"David, sometimes I just need a good cry.  How will I ever truly experience the good and awesome things if I don't let myself experience the sad ones."

MOM - don't read the rest of this if you are reading my blog.


I'm watching this television series on Hulu that our friend, Jan, has recommended.  It's called "This is Us."  It really has hit a lot of my emotions.

Today, though, it touched all of my buttons.  Over the past few episodes, we have fallen in love with the sweet old grandpa who ends up being gay.  On this episode, we follow him to the end.  As he is about to die, he tells his son, "I am scared."

These words opened my flood gates today.  You see, those were the last words my sweet, loving, awesome grandmother said before she died.  It was two years ago, and she was on the phone with her son the day after Christmas and had a stroke.  I miss her.  I miss her a lot.  I was missing her every day.  Now I only miss her when I'm reminded of her.  My mom collected a bunch of little things from grandma's house when she passed.  She had an angel collection and a bell collection.  I have one of each in my living room.  She had dozens of salt and pepper shakers, and I have a pair of those.  In fact, my twin brother bought me a pair of new ones that remind me of her too.  Every time David and I cook a meal, we have her spoon rest on the stove, so that her love is in our food too.  At every party, we put out a green carnival glass dish full of nuts or candy that was in her house.  I want her at all of my parties.

You see, my grandmother was great at parties.  No matter how much people didn't like each other, had bad blood, didn't trust each other, were poor, or rich, clean, or dirty, smelly or sweet smelling, grandma wanted them all to get along at her parties.....AND WE DID.  For grandma, we would put away old grudges.  In fact, if grandma came to my parent's place, we put away our fighting, too, just to spend time in her loving company.

That's who I want to be.  I struggle sometimes.  I fight with my brother, or snap at my mom.  I decide not to invite someone over because they were rude to me at my last dinner party.

Thanks, grandma for being at all of my parties and reminding me to be loving.  Yeah, I'm going to cry a little today as I miss you.  I'm sorry you were scared at the end.  I hope you are in a better place now.

As I finish this, my husband just came back in from outside again....
"I don't like this thing you are doing."
"I know, David, thanks for loving me even when I cry."

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Cathartis - Come From Away

It was cathartic yesterday afternoon, to sit in a darkened theater with two dozen college friends and hundreds of strangers and cry.  We were there to fete an old friend.  Some of us went to Hartwick College with him, were fraternity brothers with him, performed with him over the years and had followed his career trajectory.  Others didn't know him or any of the performers on the stage, but instead came to see a show on Broadway.

What, I think, we all shared was a moment or a string of moments where we relived that painful day on September 11, 2001.  Come From Away is finishing previews on Broadway.

As I stepped into the theater, I was hoping for a good show.  I wasn't expecting much.  I read the reviews, looked at the news articles, and read the story that the show was based on.  I didn't think that the writers would be able to pull enough out of the story to put together a musical, let alone an entertaining one.  I was there to support my friend and see some other friends.

I'm pleased to say that the writers and performers proved me wrong.  I'm usually an emotional person.  I admit that freely.  I've seen quite a few broadway shows in the past two years.  I've enjoyed some of them (Kinky Boots and Lion King) while hating or sleeping through many others (Cats, On the Town, etc.).  This is the first time in my two years of living in Brooklyn where I've been glued to my seat.  I didn't want to miss a word or a note.  The tears started flowing as the second song began and kept on flowing through the end of the show almost 90 minutes later.  I even had to get up to use the bathroom (no intermission) and didn't want to miss anything.  I cried while I ran down the steps to the restroom and cried when i entered the theater again.

This isn't a sad show.  Don't get me wrong.  This show is beautiful.  The story line has been weaved into a magic tapestry of humanity and human goodness.  Our friend Tom summed it up best at the end of the show when he said, "We, each one of us, was remembering where we were, how we felt, and all of those crazy emotions on that day."  In this political climate with vitriol and hate, we are reminded that there are good people out there.  It's fitting that our neighbors to the north are highlighted so well in the musical.

Come from away is the story of 38 planes stranded in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada when the USA closed it's air space on September 11th and how the tiny villages welcomed the strangers from around the world with open arms and hearts.

The writers have peppered the show with kindness and humor.  They have also captured the emotions and feelings that so many of us went through when we found out that planes had been used as weapons in the Pentagon, NYC, and Pennsylvania.....feelings of confusion, fear, disgust, anger, anguish, and hurt.  The actors bring you almost to the point of sobbing before you hear some heartfelt jokes and uplifting music.

The people of Gander, and this truly inspiring show remind us of who we are and who we are called to be.  People from all races, cultures, genders, sexualities, and religions prayed together, ate together, and mourned together on that day around the world.  They supported each other with open arms, hearts, a warm place to sleep, and home-cooked food to eat.

I have been replaying scene after scene from the musical in my head over and over again since the matinee yesterday afternoon.  I'm inspired to try to be better, more loving, and more caring.  We all have the ability to be welcoming and loving.  Now let's show the world that's who we can be too.