Yeah, i know, I probably already mentioned…Max and I had a 1984 magnum of champagne we were saving to celebrate a special occasion. We figured it would be a movie role or a script sale for him, a book deal for me, or our combined 64th birthdays. Things change. Max died. The bottle got drunk by some louts who thought their theft of it in celebration of their pathetic lives on New Years eve was more important. And I’m still writing the book. My 64th is coming ,tomorrow to be precise and I’m carefully pondering the manner in which I might observe the occasion.
This year, as last year will be without Max by my side. Will he still need me? No. But he never needed me anyway. Will he still feed me? No, and he rarely cooked or fed me. And besides, he’s not here to celebrate with me. But barring an unplanned demise of yours truly, i will be 64. That’s really okay, since the Beatles song didn’t quite apply to me, a nice Jewish girl from Encino or Max, a handsome goy from harlan, kentucky.
I thought the virile, younger man (he was seven months younger) Max was, would keep up with me, maybe live longer than me, at least make a run with me into at least our eighties. It didn’t happen. I also thought when he died I’d get over the pain easily, which i didn’t, haven’t, wonder when the fuck this crappy feeling will dissipate. It has somewhat. Oh sure, I imagined I’d grieve, but after perhaps a Year or so, I’d be ready to date, or at least get horny or contemplate meeting someone. It hasn’t happened, yet, though I got a hunch it will, one of these days.
The past week I’ve been preparing my home for my kids and grandson to arrive. In the midst of this I discovered yet another box of mementos. “Oh shit, just what I need….” I exclaimed to anyone within earshot. Baby pix of Max, more growing up stuff, like report cards, diplomas, those I never saw before or knew existed. My find opened up the emotional floodgates and I wailed the entire day as if he had been there and hadn’t told me…leaving a frustrating trail that was impossible for me to follow. And still I read the birthday cards and newspaper clippings, the letter from his teacher saying how proud she was of his ability to write so succinctly, the letter from the family doctor apologizing for not giving the eulogy at his dad’s funeral, the card he sent his mother for valentines day when he was seven. Sweet. Max and I had eight years together but this big box of stuff gave me more years to be with him. Max Middleton….The gift to my world, who keeps on giving even now as he resides amongst the stars. (and I don’t mean those in the Hollywood he had once aspired.)
In some ways I know and love Max better now that he is gone off to explore the Great Beyond than I did when he was here living with me. Bittersweet. Touching every cell of my being, this whole damn grief thing is. I’m ready to scan the contents, make books to send to his brother and keep one for myself. Just think, a lifetime in one book. Come to think of it some folks leave nothing behind except bills or dirty laundry. I bet they’re glad you can’t, as we know, take it with you.
In just a few short hours I will reach my Beatles milestone. My manner of celebration will be to wake and give thanks, walk my dogs and give thanks, feed my dogs and give thanks…and so on. Each moment of every day, from this one forward, I commit to be thankful and purposeful. To embrace every second with patience and understanding…especially when change is imminent and to let go of all that encumbers me, contradicts or attempts to control my heart/spirit/being. I agree to release doubt and embrace the change before me with arms wide open.
When I first heard the Beatles sing “when I’m 64” back in the sixties, the thought did not cross my mind that I would be facing my 64th, with no party or partner. Life. Who knew? And now its almost midnight, appearing before me an ancient and mythical uncorked bottle of champagne flowing into glasses in some part of the cosmos celebrating my life. … I lift my imaginary glass and make a toast, to life. See y’all in the AM.