Last Updated On February 25, 2019

 

Big shake on the box car moving Big shake to the land that's falling down Is a wind makes a palm stop blowing A big, big stone fall and break my crown -The Pixies

 

 

“Tell me about Erica.”

I am just about to get into the shower. My second one. I’m on a kind of “shower bender” these days. My initial reptilian reaction is of course “I can’t get into this right now.” Because it is always a good time to NOT get into things. It is always a good time for another hot shower, just this side of pain.

I do my best to walk it back. Erica taught me to do this. Erica taught me that its ok to do this. After all, its a rare opportunity to “tell” about Erica. I mean, back home there’s no “telling about Erica”. Everybody knows about her, or at least their slice of her. Its like being friends with a famous person, but our relationship was very not famous. It was intimate, private bordering on insular. I held her and our time together as singular and separate, apart from friends, apart from lovers…as something else entirely.

We navigated a lot of personal healing hand in hand. Especially in regards to our children. We needed our knots endlessly. Holding each other through new patterns and ushering in more softness, more YESes to our repertoires. We did much excavation to uncover go-tos that no longer worked for us but felt as solid as granite. And every time we would create an opening and let the fresh air rush over us, it felt like heaven and it would keep us going. We would share the story between us and keep it real, keep it true. She was my digging partner. My story person.

Stepping back into real time after connecting with her felt like disembarking from a space capsule where the perspective was so broad and altered, where we spoke our own spirit language and felt so…understood? And not just understood in terms of emotional support but also in terms of joint exploration and curiosity about our touchpoints between inner and outer life. The questions. The stories. My closest brush with bilingualism is through my relationship with Erica and I know I will never speak this tongue again. It breaks me and yet I know it is true.

But luckily (?) I am also used to ghost walking with Erica. I checked in remotely on the regular and continue to do so. She has always existed on other planes- maybe we all do? But she is the only person that feels accessible to me in that way. If I lay myself open, I can feel her tugging on the web. I find myself wanting to lay open more often- waiting for the quiver of dewdrops, the slip of silk on fingertips…

But its hard to find entry into this expanse, for my life just seems to crowd in closer obscuring the portal. I believe this is also a gift. Keeping me present, available. If not Erica engineered, this is certainly Erica approved.

Wow. I’m telling you some weird stuff about Erica. This is probably not what you were asking for.

How did we meet?

I posted a free item on her online forum, Hudson Valley Parents. I gave my address and left it at the end of the driveway for pick-up. I knew Erica ran the forum but I had never met her.

Having noted my home address from this post Erica showed up unannounced at my house and with little preamble launched into “I DON’T KNOW YOU BUT I LOVE WHAT YOU WRITE!!”.

She was loud and effusive, tall and gesturing, speaking fast but with great intention. I am tired and half dressed but she is like a shot in the arm. I don’t even know what to do with this exotic creature on my doorstep. But I am racing to catch up, because in my own sleepy, socially deprived way, I am sold.
I want more of this.
And I cannot even conceive of how THIS would want me.
My ears were ringing, I didn’t even have the presence of mind to invite her inside.
When I reflect on that moment,
When she left,
And I only got a taste,
And I didn’t feel like I was
present enough
expressive enough
witty enough
appreciative enough..
As suddenly as she appeared, she was gone.
It echoes through time to my feelings right now
After her death.
Erica! Wait!

“Tell me about Erica.”

The bathroom is filling with steam. I’m wrapped in a towel and tucked in a corner tapping furiously on my phone. The cats are concerned and have started swarming and rubbing their bodies against me like my mental health sentries.

Erica liked labyrinths. Our friend created one on her property that she frequented in walking meditation. There was even a public one near her home that was dedicated to her. Once in the dead of winter I brought her to the labyrinth at the Ithaca Children’s Garden. It was late afternoon and already darkening. I impressed upon her somewhat desperately that its really nice when the bulbs are in bloom and its not shitty and freezing.. It was pretty ridiculous being like- believe me, this is really great, just not right now when you are here. We were smiling and laughing. I was happy that she and my labyrinth made contact, even if imperfectly.

Erica built a fire every day that she could. I wish like hell I asked her why, what it meant to her but I never did.

Erica always insisted on being mic-ed for any formal or semi-formal talk she gave. It was a matter of standards, of principle. But she was unwavering. I never really understood it. I thought she was over-complicating things, that perhaps she had control issues. Over time I began to see more clearly that her insistence was born of her sincere desire to communicate with every single person in the room. And she wanted to be heard. And she wanted to own it. Not the situation, but rather what she was imparting. It was about more than microphones. It was about more than talks. It was about her boundless energy and capacity for connection. Its almost unimaginable to me. I love my people but she. She loved PEOPLE.

So I finally get it. I get it so much. And every time I step up to the microphone, I get it again. “Can you guys hear me without this thing?”
“Good. So just imagine me WITH it.”
I’d mic drop but I don’t want to. I’ll keep it, thanks.

I turned off the shower finally, I need to do something. It felt oddly urgent, a ritual that needs completing. Throwing on my robe, I seek something to plant. Something to look forward to. Like a bulb. Plant a bulb. In a glass over my kitchen sink bedded with colorful beads. Two for good measure, in case one doesn’t make it. Breathe. Stay present.

Erica was a healer. I’ve always held this truth as an important aspect of who she is but this skill really got pushed into action throughout her illness. I never saw her sick for a day in her life before cancer. And when she did have cancer it was in a way I could have never imagined. Her greatest triumphs, if you could call them that, as a healer were in being a healer to herself and to all of us as we bore witness. I still can’t comprehend her grace and lack of bitterness, her resilience, her unflagging pragmatism, and her ability to derive meaning, humor, and ultimately joy…..how? how? how? While still giving, still laughing. When I hear of reiki masters I smile because she was the master of something. I don’t even know what.

She often said that she needed a lot of support to keep “this” (gesturing vaguely at herself and her surroundings) going. I’ve always respected how she availed herself of many tools to scaffold herself, whether it was energy work or meditation or cheddar broccoli soup from Panera. She always seemed to have ideas and options, rarely getting bogged down for long, never seeming to surrender to paralysis or blame. She didn’t “get” healed in a passive sense, she sought and worked on healing.

I try to remember her example in this. Especially right now. She left this legacy to many. She really grappled with the hard stuff, the ingrained stuff. It wasn’t just on the surface, a sunny optimism and superficial self care remedies. She really worked for it. She had such a short time but the progress she made was astounding. For herself but also for her family and generations to come. She was healing in action. She was bigger than cancer.

I will learn how to do this.
I will.
Its just like anything else.
Its hard until its not.
But unless you allow it to be hard, you’ll never see the other side.
I’m telling you about Erica again.
Someday I’ll start telling without even trying.

 

Last Updated On February 25, 2019

 

Big shake on the box car moving Big shake to the land that's falling down Is a wind makes a palm stop blowing A big, big stone fall and break my crown -The Pixies

 

“Tell me about Erica.”

I am just about to get into the shower. My second one. I’m on a kind of “shower bender” these days. My initial reptilian reaction is of course “I can’t get into this right now.” Because it is always a good time to NOT get into things. It is always a good time for another hot shower, just this side of pain.

I do my best to walk it back. Erica taught me to do this. Erica taught me that its ok to do this. After all, its a rare opportunity to “tell” about Erica. I mean, back home there’s no “telling about Erica”. Everybody knows about her, or at least their slice of her. Its like being friends with a famous person, but our relationship was very not famous. It was intimate, private bordering on insular. I held her and our time together as singular and separate, apart from friends, apart from lovers…as something else entirely.

We navigated a lot of personal healing hand in hand. Especially in regards to our children. We needed our knots endlessly. Holding each other through new patterns and ushering in more softness, more YESes to our repertoires. We did much excavation to uncover go-tos that no longer worked for us but felt as solid as granite. And every time we would create an opening and let the fresh air rush over us, it felt like heaven and it would keep us going. We would share the story between us and keep it real, keep it true. She was my digging partner. My story person.

Stepping back into real time after connecting with her felt like disembarking from a space capsule where the perspective was so broad and altered, where we spoke our own spirit language and felt so…understood? And not just understood in terms of emotional support but also in terms of joint exploration and curiosity about our touchpoints between inner and outer life. The questions. The stories. My closest brush with bilingualism is through my relationship with Erica and I know I will never speak this tongue again. It breaks me and yet I know it is true.

But luckily (?) I am also used to ghost walking with Erica. I checked in remotely on the regular and continue to do so. She has always existed on other planes- maybe we all do? But she is the only person that feels accessible to me in that way. If I lay myself open, I can feel her tugging on the web. I find myself wanting to lay open more often- waiting for the quiver of dewdrops, the slip of silk on fingertips…

But its hard to find entry into this expanse, for my life just seems to crowd in closer obscuring the portal. I believe this is also a gift. Keeping me present, available. If not Erica engineered, this is certainly Erica approved.

Wow. I’m telling you some weird stuff about Erica. This is probably not what you were asking for.

How did we meet?

I posted a free item on her online forum, Hudson Valley Parents. I gave my address and left it at the end of the driveway for pick-up. I knew Erica ran the forum but I had never met her.

Having noted my home address from this post Erica showed up unannounced at my house and with little preamble launched into “I DON’T KNOW YOU BUT I LOVE WHAT YOU WRITE!!”.

She was loud and effusive, tall and gesturing, speaking fast but with great intention. I am tired and half dressed but she is like a shot in the arm. I don’t even know what to do with this exotic creature on my doorstep. But I am racing to catch up, because in my own sleepy, socially deprived way, I am sold.
I want more of this.
And I cannot even conceive of how THIS would want me.
My ears were ringing, I didn’t even have the presence of mind to invite her inside.
When I reflect on that moment,
When she left,
And I only got a taste,
And I didn’t feel like I was
present enough
expressive enough
witty enough
appreciative enough..
As suddenly as she appeared, she was gone.
It echoes through time to my feelings right now
After her death.
Erica! Wait!

“Tell me about Erica.”

The bathroom is filling with steam. I’m wrapped in a towel and tucked in a corner tapping furiously on my phone. The cats are concerned and have started swarming and rubbing their bodies against me like my mental health sentries.

Erica liked labyrinths. Our friend created one on her property that she frequented in walking meditation. There was even a public one near her home that was dedicated to her. Once in the dead of winter I brought her to the labyrinth at the Ithaca Children’s Garden. It was late afternoon and already darkening. I impressed upon her somewhat desperately that its really nice when the bulbs are in bloom and its not shitty and freezing.. It was pretty ridiculous being like- believe me, this is really great, just not right now when you are here. We were smiling and laughing. I was happy that she and my labyrinth made contact, even if imperfectly.

Erica built a fire every day that she could. I wish like hell I asked her why, what it meant to her but I never did.

Erica always insisted on being mic-ed for any formal or semi-formal talk she gave. It was a matter of standards, of principle. But she was unwavering. I never really understood it. I thought she was over-complicating things, that perhaps she had control issues. Over time I began to see more clearly that her insistence was born of her sincere desire to communicate with every single person in the room. And she wanted to be heard. And she wanted to own it. Not the situation, but rather what she was imparting. It was about more than microphones. It was about more than talks. It was about her boundless energy and capacity for connection. Its almost unimaginable to me. I love my people but she. She loved PEOPLE.

So I finally get it. I get it so much. And every time I step up to the microphone, I get it again. “Can you guys hear me without this thing?”
“Good. So just imagine me WITH it.”
I’d mic drop but I don’t want to. I’ll keep it, thanks.

I turned off the shower finally, I need to do something. It felt oddly urgent, a ritual that needs completing. Throwing on my robe, I seek something to plant. Something to look forward to. Like a bulb. Plant a bulb. In a glass over my kitchen sink bedded with colorful beads. Two for good measure, in case one doesn’t make it. Breathe. Stay present.

Erica was a healer. I’ve always held this truth as an important aspect of who she is but this skill really got pushed into action throughout her illness. I never saw her sick for a day in her life before cancer. And when she did have cancer it was in a way I could have never imagined. Her greatest triumphs, if you could call them that, as a healer were in being a healer to herself and to all of us as we bore witness. I still can’t comprehend her grace and lack of bitterness, her resilience, her unflagging pragmatism, and her ability to derive meaning, humor, and ultimately joy…..how? how? how? While still giving, still laughing. When I hear of reiki masters I smile because she was the master of something. I don’t even know what.

She often said that she needed a lot of support to keep “this” (gesturing vaguely at herself and her surroundings) going. I’ve always respected how she availed herself of many tools to scaffold herself, whether it was energy work or meditation or cheddar broccoli soup from Panera. She always seemed to have ideas and options, rarely getting bogged down for long, never seeming to surrender to paralysis or blame. She didn’t “get” healed in a passive sense, she sought and worked on healing.

I try to remember her example in this. Especially right now. She left this legacy to many. She really grappled with the hard stuff, the ingrained stuff. It wasn’t just on the surface, a sunny optimism and superficial self care remedies. She really worked for it. She had such a short time but the progress she made was astounding. For herself but also for her family and generations to come. She was healing in action. She was bigger than cancer.

I will learn how to do this.
I will.
Its just like anything else.
Its hard until its not.
But unless you allow it to be hard, you’ll never see the other side.
I’m telling you about Erica again.
Someday I’ll start telling without even trying.

Last Updated On February 25, 2019

Big shake on the box car moving Big shake to the land that's falling down Is a wind makes a palm stop blowing A big, big stone fall and break my crown -The Pixies

“Tell me about Erica.”

I am just about to get into the shower. My second one. I’m on a kind of “shower bender” these days. My initial reptilian reaction is of course “I can’t get into this right now.” Because it is always a good time to NOT get into things. It is always a good time for another hot shower, just this side of pain.

I do my best to walk it back. Erica taught me to do this. Erica taught me that its ok to do this. After all, its a rare opportunity to “tell” about Erica. I mean, back home there’s no “telling about Erica”. Everybody knows about her, or at least their slice of her. Its like being friends with a famous person, but our relationship was very not famous. It was intimate, private bordering on insular. I held her and our time together as singular and separate, apart from friends, apart from lovers…as something else entirely.

We navigated a lot of personal healing hand in hand. Especially in regards to our children. We needed our knots endlessly. Holding each other through new patterns and ushering in more softness, more YESes to our repertoires. We did much excavation to uncover go-tos that no longer worked for us but felt as solid as granite. And every time we would create an opening and let the fresh air rush over us, it felt like heaven and it would keep us going. We would share the story between us and keep it real, keep it true. She was my digging partner. My story person.

Stepping back into real time after connecting with her felt like disembarking from a space capsule where the perspective was so broad and altered, where we spoke our own spirit language and felt so…understood? And not just understood in terms of emotional support but also in terms of joint exploration and curiosity about our touchpoints between inner and outer life. The questions. The stories. My closest brush with bilingualism is through my relationship with Erica and I know I will never speak this tongue again. It breaks me and yet I know it is true.

But luckily (?) I am also used to ghost walking with Erica. I checked in remotely on the regular and continue to do so. She has always existed on other planes- maybe we all do? But she is the only person that feels accessible to me in that way. If I lay myself open, I can feel her tugging on the web. I find myself wanting to lay open more often- waiting for the quiver of dewdrops, the slip of silk on fingertips…

But its hard to find entry into this expanse, for my life just seems to crowd in closer obscuring the portal. I believe this is also a gift. Keeping me present, available. If not Erica engineered, this is certainly Erica approved.

Wow. I’m telling you some weird stuff about Erica. This is probably not what you were asking for.

How did we meet?

I posted a free item on her online forum, Hudson Valley Parents. I gave my address and left it at the end of the driveway for pick-up. I knew Erica ran the forum but I had never met her.

Having noted my home address from this post Erica showed up unannounced at my house and with little preamble launched into “I DON’T KNOW YOU BUT I LOVE WHAT YOU WRITE!!”.

She was loud and effusive, tall and gesturing, speaking fast but with great intention. I am tired and half dressed but she is like a shot in the arm. I don’t even know what to do with this exotic creature on my doorstep. But I am racing to catch up, because in my own sleepy, socially deprived way, I am sold.
I want more of this.
And I cannot even conceive of how THIS would want me.
My ears were ringing, I didn’t even have the presence of mind to invite her inside.
When I reflect on that moment,
When she left,
And I only got a taste,
And I didn’t feel like I was
present enough
expressive enough
witty enough
appreciative enough..
As suddenly as she appeared, she was gone.
It echoes through time to my feelings right now
After her death.
Erica! Wait!

“Tell me about Erica.”

The bathroom is filling with steam. I’m wrapped in a towel and tucked in a corner tapping furiously on my phone. The cats are concerned and have started swarming and rubbing their bodies against me like my mental health sentries.

Erica liked labyrinths. Our friend created one on her property that she frequented in walking meditation. There was even a public one near her home that was dedicated to her. Once in the dead of winter I brought her to the labyrinth at the Ithaca Children’s Garden. It was late afternoon and already darkening. I impressed upon her somewhat desperately that its really nice when the bulbs are in bloom and its not shitty and freezing.. It was pretty ridiculous being like- believe me, this is really great, just not right now when you are here. We were smiling and laughing. I was happy that she and my labyrinth made contact, even if imperfectly.

Erica built a fire every day that she could. I wish like hell I asked her why, what it meant to her but I never did.

Erica always insisted on being mic-ed for any formal or semi-formal talk she gave. It was a matter of standards, of principle. But she was unwavering. I never really understood it. I thought she was over-complicating things, that perhaps she had control issues. Over time I began to see more clearly that her insistence was born of her sincere desire to communicate with every single person in the room. And she wanted to be heard. And she wanted to own it. Not the situation, but rather what she was imparting. It was about more than microphones. It was about more than talks. It was about her boundless energy and capacity for connection. Its almost unimaginable to me. I love my people but she. She loved PEOPLE.

So I finally get it. I get it so much. And every time I step up to the microphone, I get it again. “Can you guys hear me without this thing?”
“Good. So just imagine me WITH it.”
I’d mic drop but I don’t want to. I’ll keep it, thanks.

I turned off the shower finally, I need to do something. It felt oddly urgent, a ritual that needs completing. Throwing on my robe, I seek something to plant. Something to look forward to. Like a bulb. Plant a bulb. In a glass over my kitchen sink bedded with colorful beads. Two for good measure, in case one doesn’t make it. Breathe. Stay present.

Erica was a healer. I’ve always held this truth as an important aspect of who she is but this skill really got pushed into action throughout her illness. I never saw her sick for a day in her life before cancer. And when she did have cancer it was in a way I could have never imagined. Her greatest triumphs, if you could call them that, as a healer were in being a healer to herself and to all of us as we bore witness. I still can’t comprehend her grace and lack of bitterness, her resilience, her unflagging pragmatism, and her ability to derive meaning, humor, and ultimately joy…..how? how? how? While still giving, still laughing. When I hear of reiki masters I smile because she was the master of something. I don’t even know what.

She often said that she needed a lot of support to keep “this” (gesturing vaguely at herself and her surroundings) going. I’ve always respected how she availed herself of many tools to scaffold herself, whether it was energy work or meditation or cheddar broccoli soup from Panera. She always seemed to have ideas and options, rarely getting bogged down for long, never seeming to surrender to paralysis or blame. She didn’t “get” healed in a passive sense, she sought and worked on healing.

I try to remember her example in this. Especially right now. She left this legacy to many. She really grappled with the hard stuff, the ingrained stuff. It wasn’t just on the surface, a sunny optimism and superficial self care remedies. She really worked for it. She had such a short time but the progress she made was astounding. For herself but also for her family and generations to come. She was healing in action. She was bigger than cancer.

I will learn how to do this.
I will.
Its just like anything else.
Its hard until its not.
But unless you allow it to be hard, you’ll never see the other side.
I’m telling you about Erica again.
Someday I’ll start telling without even trying.