Sunday, November 23, 2008

The last time I saw Mikey.......................

was just about this time of year two years ago. He usually went to Spokane for Thanksgiving and that year his Mom was on a cruise so he was sticking around Seattle.

He had sent an e-mail copied to me intended for Frank, his "shrink". It was insightful, rambling, crazy and funny - all aspects of Mikey. He had stated that Frank and I were the only people who had ever said "I am proud of you", that he loved me beyond measure but that we just couldn't be together. He talked about his present/sometimes girlfriend and that he was trying to be compassionate with her and would, in fact, fund her psychotherapy.

Mikey also talked about his brother Carl who he loved as well - how he was going to set Carl up financially so that he would not have to work so hard. How Carl had comforted him after the beatings he'd received from his Dad.

So what could I do except call him to let him know that I still loved him too!? We had talked several times during the past several years. I had walked into the main lodge at Breitenbush many years back and ran into Peter, his best friend. Peter told me that Mikey had been looking for me - so of course, I got in touch with him again.

Ultimately, Mikey was there to take me to breakfast the morning that my brother went in for prostate cancer surgery - and for the years that followed, he always asked how Jeff was doing. He had worked as an exceptional nurse as a way to "pay back" the lives he had taken during two tours in VietNam. He cultivated compassion but still had that streak of revenge that ended more as words than deeds.

I met him at the insistance of a mutual friend - we met for coffee at Alki Beach and he was sweating bullets by the time we parted company. In fact, he asked if we could cut our time short since he wasn't feeling well - very straightforward! Later we had our real "first date" - a lovely dinner (I even wore a dress!) with lots of conversation - hilarity - and ultimately we fell deeply in love.... don't get me wrong, it didn't happen just that night!

Over time we would rollerblade together - hike in the Cascades and I would have to shake him down to make sure the little tree frogs he had carried around in his shirt pocket were left behind. We made a mad dash to Mt. St. Helen's to target practice with his semi-automatic gun and I laughed like a maniac when we almost got busted.

Movies weren't much fun with Mikey - it was the one place where he could sent aside his "hypervigilance" and he would invariably sleep the entire film. Road trips usually meant that I would drive and many times I would wipe Mikey's drool from his seatbelt before waking him up to let him know that we were home.

One night (in 1997!) we went to see "The Apostle" - it's an amazing movie with Robert Duvall as a preacher - a shocking opening scene with a car accident. As we left the movie theatre on a very dark and rainy Seattle night - we come upon a car accident and are the first responders. BOTH of us leaped into action - tending to the injured folks and once we got back into the car decided that we would be VERY PICKY about which movies we were going to see and laughed that we should pick one where loads of money comes to two nurses who are very helpful.

Mikey's 50th Birthday was a great and fun surprise - his Mom and I planned it and fooled him the whole time! He would comment about that particular birthday as being his absolute best one ever. I'm glad for that - glad for him - glad to have had him in my life and to have given as well as received great love.

Our time togther ended just after I put him in the Seattle VA Hospital for treatment of his PTSD, alcohol and morphine addiciton. I could never figure out why we could only be gone on a trip for 3 days and he would need to be back home - once that came to light and he got into the VA system, the distance between us grew. When I'm honest, I can say that I resented the fact that he was really disabled - he ultimately was given 100% "free money" as he used to call it.

My first visit at the VA was one for the record book - I cleared the entire waiting room of every Vet with my big ass pissed off attitude and demanded that they stop all of the medications and actually treat Mikey. We would laugh about that incident for years and years! Little 5 foot 2 inch Bonnie leveling a floor of the hospital. We stuck together through that time and the bumpy parts of the journey became more than either of us was up for.

My own PTSD would be activated by his issues and frankly, there was no "active treatment" for mine. I'm convinced that any woman who lived through the 60's had her own version of bucking the system of the misogynistic "boss men" we had to answer to. (I did turn one in finally - once I found my voice and I haven't stopped since!).

Years later, Mikey arrived at my door after a Zen Buddhist retreat here in Oregon. We laughed and danced and he played Van Morrison's "Someone Like You" and we both cried when he told me it was my song. He took photos (I've never seen them) and we laughed a lot more and danced and he told me how he had found joy again - through dancing and that he had remembered how much fun that was for him.

So the night that I called Mikey about the e-mail - around this time of year two years ago, he was on his way out to dance. . . . . and that would be our last conversation - he chiding me about being "bunkered up" with my heart and praising me for the gracious way that I dumped my last boyfriend (politely asking him to leave and take the fucking peanut butter cookie with him) and told me that he was going to go have fun.

I get to have that memory forever - - it was strange to not get a Christmas card but when his birthday rolled around in May and my e-mails bounced back to his various accounts and when the phone was disconnected, I realized that something was terribly wrong. Indeed, that night Mikey had been "taken down" by a couple of jealous guys - he had danced with the "wrong woman". He didn't die right away and lived for 3-4 months - I'm glad I didn't see him during that time and get to have these memories.

So my point here (if other than to finally write of this) is - Mikey gave me such a hard time about my Buddha statue collection. Right after I found out about his death, I found a Buddha that really is the representation of Mikey. I kept it inside my house for a full year and finally placed it in the garden.

Just recently I found a website about "Gardens of Forgiveness" and am called to cultivate one for Mikey - for me. I'll post more as this evolves and include photos. This is reaching in and touching a deep wound that can only heal deeply with compassion and love.

To all of you readers - I send healing love to any places within you that need healing too.

Namaste
Bonnie

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