I Got Stood Up By a Ghost aka My Adventure with The Big Can o’Max

Yeah, I know. Its been months since I last wrote. Where does time go?
Actually, I’ve been writing elsewhere (though much has been in my head and not on paper- virtual or otherwise). So where was I when last I began this missive?

The first week of March. On the road..to Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort with a big ole Can o’Max. 20140312-134607.jpg. After two days of mind-numbing grief, filling basketfuls of tears and spewing rip-snorting rage at whoever came within meters of my proximity, I wondered, “what the “F” has been happening to me? Is this some sort of exorcizing the demons of mourning for eighteen months? Yes. And. Yuck.”

I thought long and hard. “God it better stop soon. Let it be done before every friend or family member who has been in my line of ire these past days/weeks months either disowns, disavows or dis’es me permanently. This trip will, I hope, help.

We, son Billy and me, headed up to SLO in a Hertz convertible, a big red shiny Mustang. Maxie would’ve liked the ride, I mused. The sun was shining. My hair was whipping around in the wind, at least the tendrils that weren’t covered by my colorful hat. The day, to those of you in weather colder than Global Climate Change Deniers-can-deny-land, was f’g awesome, and I promised to the frozen multitudes I would share, if only I could, the glorious sunshine I was experiencing as we cruised north on the 101.

I asked my kids to join me on this adventure- daughter Julia, son in law Christian, grandson Levi and of course, son Billy, to scatter the contents of the big ole can at a place Max loved and where he said we should go….just a few months prior. You ask me “What? Max died in 2012. Did you have a seance? Did he visit you in a dream? Are you talking to dead people?” No, Max sent me a text. At least that’s what happened back in November 2013 whilst I was sending a note to my friend Genie, a text popped up where I was supposed to write…take a peek.

What can I say? There was no space for me to write…it had been filled in by someone/thing …I asked myself, “Self, am I hallucinating? No. Did I write that? No. Where/when/how the fuck did that happen?” I scratched my head. I cried. I then made a promise to go to San Luis… And so as you can read here, I did, but months later. Why not immediately? Let’s just say I was conflicted, so I’ll explain.

The message affected me in several ways. It freaked me out. It excited me. It gave me something to dread and look forward to. Dread? Yes. For the past year and eight months I’d been riding the waves of mourning, often falling off my magical “healing surf board” and sinking deeply into the seas of helpless depression. The “Let’s Go” message interrupted my very long and good ride of “I’m doing so much better” and landed me with a big “kerplunck!” into a whirlpool of those not so fun feelings I had been saving for some ungodly reason, avoidance being the primary culprit.. As to my excitement. Yes I wanted to go to SLO, nice place and all that it is, but really I wanted to see Max…have a good heart to heart…maybe even some touchy fee-ly stuff…what can I say, I saw “Ghost”, and I believe in magic. I also had a deep desire to move through the unbearable heaviness of mourning like a buzz-saw and blast into the land of lightheartedness and joy and yes, some out of this world magic! This grief stuff ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Just in case you were wondering.

When I first saw that out of this world message I was preparing to travel to Austin for the holidays and no way able to first hop in the car for a solo trip to SLO. Yes, I admit to the world right here and now, yes, I was scared. I kept asking myself. “What will I say if he actually shows up? Hey babe how’s the afterlife? Did you miss me? Can you see me all the time? And Why….now after my hair has definitely gone more grey, my eyes have taken on a permanent state of puffy and I have a monthly delivery of tissues from Seventh Generation did you decide to write for a rendezvous?” Okay that last bit is slightly exaggerated, but you catch my drift.

I figured my fear was the reason I had turned into a total B-I-T-C-H on wheels the weeks prior to the convertible journey up the coast. And I was correct in my assumption. Letting go of the ashes had somehow taken on a double meaning. ‘Let go of ashes =Let go of Max.’ That was freaky. Irrational. Still freaky.

There we were, with that big can o’ Max… Me and Billy…Billy deftly handling both wild red Mustang and his grief crazed Momma coming down from a week of holy mother of god outbursts. Not pretty. We were meeting the others at the resort. I kept a sort of mantra going over in my head as if it were on a continuous loop. “This is good. Dump the ashes. See Max. Go home. Be happy. Repeat.” And for the most part, it worked.

It was good. We ate. We laughed. We soaked in the hot tub. We went to bed. No, I didn’t dream or see, feel or make mad passionate love with Max or hear the birds whisper his name. There was neither hide nor hair of the guy, which was fitting…and a continuation of sad. Thusly my sadness, fear, anger, and disappointment rolled themselves into a big ball of “Fuck you Max, you stood me up. I’m moving forward.” The next morning, we surreptitiously and only slightly ceremoniously dumped the ashes from the big can o’Max over a bridge into a creek, each of us bidding adieu with thanks and love. We then went out to breakfast and drove back to LA. That, was that.

That was almost two months ago and I’ve gained some perspective and I’m on the mend. I’m no longer raging and rarely whimpering.
Time moves us all forward and we can either embrace the changes it provides or fight it. Change is what I’m embracing. Have a good one yourself,

2 thoughts on “I Got Stood Up By a Ghost aka My Adventure with The Big Can o’Max

  1. That is one fascinating text message. I would have been as amazed by it as you were. You are doing a good job of letting your grief and joy take you where it takes you and following the best you can. Your joy is bound to win eventually, and then you can follow it.


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