Its December 31 and I gave Can o’Max #7 away. Well, not exactly away, that sounds flippant, when that’s not my intent, at least here. I gave it to Max’s brother Simmy and his kids Zach and Abby yesterday, to take back to Lexington where they live now and where Max used to, long ago. We were going to plunk cans and drink Budweiser and scatter his ashes in Austin, but that’s been done, by me, months ago and we were too busy hanging with family, sightseeing, taking the duck tour of the city (yes, we quacked and waved) eating Tex-Mex & BarBQ, watching the Hobbit at the Alamo draft house and playing ping pong. We just didn’t make the time and it somehow didn’t feel quite “right” or we would’ve done sent those ashes to the winds to, in time, fall to the ground and blend with the earth.Time is precious. I know that so well, especially now that my sweet Max is in the Great Beyond and what remains of him lies in tiny cans, in the books of photos I finally made for our family and presented this year, our vivid memories of a big and gracious man, and the winds, waters and earth where his ashes have already been scattered. I suppose that makes it seem as if he is still very much “here”, and yes he is but not in the way his “big” physical presence comforted me, nor his voice made me laugh, or the energy that I felt when we touched that gave me the sense we would be together for years to come. I fall asleep now, our hands no longer touching, instead I often roll myself into a ball and imagine we are spooning, as we did, that is when we didn’t hold hands…either way we alway touched each other as we fell to slumber. Do I sound morose? Perhaps. I acknowledge my moments of missing Max, the big guy, whose name Max made him even bigger. Only now I don’t get those huge thundering waves of grief which used to nearly strangle my breath. Instead there are tears which slowly patter pitifully onto the iPad. Will the poor thing get a short from this erratic flood of salty tears or maybe Steve Jobs had instructed his designers to make sure the ipad was tear-proof? I can see Max shaking his head muttering, “get over it!” Then again that may be solely my impatience kicking me just one more time in my emotional ass…I do that on occasion.
Tomorrow is a new year, if you believe in the Gregorian calendar. If not, it’s a day like any other…no matter whether it is or isn’t, it will still be anew day, and so I will treat it preciously, as I now do, even more than I did before, daily, giving thanks, looking in awe at my world, using every word as if it were blessing magically people, places and things – (Did I mention I rarely yell at assholes on the road, even though everyone has one?)
The only thing that gets me pissed off these days is complacency (mine and others) and I’m working on becoming supportive and co-empowering others instead. I admit, I got cranky with my sweet 13 year old niece Abby for not wanting to read or eating junk food, lecturing her ad nauseum on the importance of becoming conscious, in mind, body and spirit. I urged nephew Zach to consider more than football, to know there is no “box” – that the limits we place upon ourselves are worse than the ones others attempt to place on us. I gave Simmy the words of a concerned sister/brother rolled into one, on child rearing and his living the example for his kids?..No more “do as I say, not as I do” bullshit. I can be a pain in the ass. I was for them. I may have been channeling Max – he could be like that. We loved him for it anyway. The jury’s still out on me.
Oh yeah, I also gave them that tiny Can o’Max #7. Letting go of that was a necessary but big challenge for me. In the past year and almost half I have nearly drowned in sorrow, wailing in privacy and public, lived zombi-like for days, and slowly awakened to my world so different and yet the same. I imagine the periods of mourning are not over for me, but each are different and each are lighter.
#7 is not the last Can o’Max on my shelf. There are more. Our tour continues. And I’ve asked Simmy to share with me the ceremony he does so I may record it in my collective commemorative “Max Middleton” space. Now gone from my/our physical world he lives on so much in my often bursting heart, nevertheless, I am grateful.
My son Billy quipped some days ago, that I go on sometimes too much about Max. I responded in the affirmative. I will “get over it”. I’m giving myself the space and time, to feel my feelings, to express my thoughts and be thankful I’m here to do so. Today too we celebrate my son-in-law Christian’s birthday. Life, it goes on.