I understand that Donald Trump as plastered an ad on the former post here, and so I must say that I would leave the USA before voting for Trump. He has so many unfortunate character traits that I cannot begin to name them all, and surely don’t know him at all because all I see is bits and pieces of his blather. So if his ad is indeed posted here–it’s outrageous and I’m letting people know how you steal things that are not yours (myspace).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rollercoaster Blues

By now everybody who knows me is aware that my husband Lowell Masato Uda died about a year and a half ago, of leukemia, actually “acute myeloid leukemia.” There are ways, after being with him more than half a century, I still don’t believe in his death. He was so much a part of my life that for the first 15 months after he died, I could not believe–could not tolerate believing–that he was gone. I always felt he was just in the next room, going to call my name or step into the room where I was at any moment. Of course the reality of his death was inside me–imploding my emotional and spiritual life into a shriveled scrap of scorched flesh.

At moments I’d emerge, semi-conscious, but the pain was too great to stay fully alive and aware for long, and I would huddle back inside myself. I learned to playact being “normal me”–whoever that is–because I finally realized that being with a person suffering with breath-stopping grief is a terrible burden on others. Nobody should have to see this, or know what it is like until and unless they are forced to endure it. It can also be truly annoying for those who are irritated by seeing the emotional pain of others.

I tried talk therapy but quit after three sessions–or just didn’t set another appointment. In fact I knew at the time I left the third session that I wouldn’t be going back. I had figured out that the reason I’d enjoyed the two sessions so much was that the therapist had dogs there, full-size poodles, one brown, one black, and I related to them, comfortable stroking their silky pelts while talking with this stranger. The third time neither dog was present. I was bored.

I concluded that the therapist thought I was relating to the dogs to avoid dumping my secrets on her. Hmmm. My real, deep-down secrets are 0 0 0 0, empty set, empty set, empty set. I learned some years ago, as a child really, that every word I said had to be the truth as best I understood it, because (1) my memory wasn’t good enough to remember lies, so sooner or later I would trap myself; and (2) that lies poison everything. Just imagine if our leaders and everybody’s leaders, and all of us, could only tell the truth someone entitled to the truth (by this I mean, for example, there are some personal truths I share only with the appropriate physician). Or maybe I write about them in a journal.

Lowell was cremated, and the good part of that is I have the “urn,” a lead-lined cylinder about 14 inches high and almost 5 inches in diameter. It’s green and my daughter and I decorated it with flowers and tiny lights. On top are a pair of pewter lovebirds touching beaks. Lowell was especially fond of birds.

Now I’m coming to terms with the reality of his absence. I have quite a few photos of him hanging in my apartment. My fave is the one of him as a small child, barefoot, in overalls and a t-shirt, standing on a rutted road with a huge smile on his face and his eyes almost closed. He looks so happy. He used to say that once upon a time he and I met in a sandbox as little children–but of course we didn’t: he was in Hawai’i and I was in Iowa. But we dreamed our dreams, lived and loved.

I’d marry it again in a heartbeat, even knowing about this part of terrible loss.

Old Pali Road

When we were married and went for first time to Hawai’i, this was still the only road over the mountains from Honolulu to Kailua, Oahu. We lived there for three years, and drove that road often until it seemed as familiar as the back of my hand. Now the Pali Highway is much better, safer–but it doesn’t have the thrills of that old road, or the sense of being embedded in the eucalyptus forest. I taught in Honolulu for three years, and my students had marvelous stories about the old Pali Road, stories that I haven’t seen in any books of Hawaiian stories and legends. But my students were clear. Do not carry pork in your car over the Pali, because if you do, the Menehunes will stop your car and will not let you continue your journey until you toss the port out to them. I wonder if today’s Oahu high school students have forgotten the old stories. I hope not. They made life richer and more interesting.

joanmcuda

Old Pali Road

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Too Much Food

Today as Lowell and I were mall-walking in a very large mall, we stopped for lunch at a chain restaurant  with an extensive, probably too extensive menu. We ordered an appetizer, lettuce wraps that you make yourself by stuffing all kinds of veggies and things inside lettuce leaves and dipping in sauce (yummy); and on top of it we thought we should share a hamburger (which came with fries).

It was all to much. We made away with most of our veggies, and then were too full to do the burger justice. We nibbled at that part of the meal and finally waddled away from our table feeling kind of puky-full. Our mall-walking finally took care of the uncomfortable over-stuffed feeling, but what I learned is that Lowell and I really do each have about half an appetite compared to our grandson in his mid-twenties.  There are so many hungry people in this world, even in our own country. Not that our burger would have gone to feed them, but the money we spent on the burger might have.

Silenced

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt absolutely silenced? Where you’d said it all so many times nobody wanted to hear, or where the few people around you only gave you blank looks when you said something?

Where the best thing in your day was a hot shower, because at least there was reliably hot water in the shower if you didn’t try to take it at the end of a long line of leisurely showers?

Where you stared out the windows at a world covered in ice and snow, streets slick as bobsled runs, and you’d been staring out those windows for so long that seeing some stranger walking up the hill became a special event of your day and you watched until the person was out of sight, and you’ve read so many books until the thought of reading made your eyes cross and your mind scream: “No more substituting printed pages for living,” and the sound of a sand truck made you run to the window in anticipation?