https://www.thesun.co.uk/video/fabulous/holocaust-survivor-leslie-kleinman-bem-who-lost-his-entire-family-in-auschwitz-tells-his-astonishing-story-of-survival-to-the-sun/ When I think of the people who have gone out of my life as a result of this new time of naked ugly truth–“family”, friends, those who cannot find their voice of empathy in this new America; those who in a different time might have been okay with families being carted off on trains–there are moments when I chastise myself for being unable to love bigger; I feel bad for being unwiling to accept another’s path, knowing from my own experience that often the journey is one moment then another of flawed thinking. I feel bad that I don’t have contact with my brother, and my dad, and my mom; I feel like I “should” be making amends, reaching out in compassion. I worry; what if they’re scared or grieving and my actions are heartless? What if I’m being the same person I despise, lacking the tolerance that affords the wiggle room of compassion which allows painful times
December 17, 2016 As I was driving to a pet sit this morning–in the frigid air–I passed a bus stop on 5th East and saw a woman of smaller stature all bundled up with backpack holding a plastic doll the size of a real baby. While waiting for my light, I stared at her–at first, just trying to figure out if it was a real baby, then after realizing it wasn’t, wanting to join her experience for a moment, to see if she was okay; if she was hopeful or despairing; what the story was; just to be with her for a minute before I had to drive off–and as I did, I saw her look at the baby adoringly, and snuggle it to her, then watched as she gave it quick little playful kisses under its purple, fleece, hooded onesie, as if she was trying to distract it from how cold and boring it was to be waiting out
According to the birth certificate tucked inside my baby book, I was born October 1, 1968 at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View California and my name was “Amy Brook Palleson”. I don’t remember any of the other fluff on it—height, weight, etc.—just that the paper was black with white printing and hard to read—which even seeing it at a young age had seemed odd—and that the book itself was a mess of white out and scratch outs and corrections. We can fast forward now, through memory lane, through years, through the solidification of who I was—via Rose and Martin Palleson (grandma and grandpa), Leeroyce and Deck Hogin (gammie and gampie); through aunts and uncles and cousins; through my brother Jeff born in early ‘71, my sister Alex in ‘75, and Clancy and Cindy, my father and mother—all the way to the couch in gammies living room where I lay quietly crying at 13 (or 12? I can’t even remember)
http://themoth.org/stories/the-house-of-mourning Press the link to watch Chaplain Kate Braestrup’s video from The Moth “House of Mourning”. I really got this video, and understood it from a deep place. For there was a time–after my soiree in college studying Native American and world religions and post-my first daughters birth–when I couldn’t see another path in front of me that didn’t lead to me becoming a non-denominational pastor. So to engage as Ms. Braestrup does with her world from the caring of a larger sphere of knowing is the most comfortable place of experience for me. And often I feel like a foreign visitor to a new planet when people talk of vacations and cars and hedonistic-esque material things for those to me are
Saturday 11/25, 9:53 a.m., Salt Lake City. It’s hard to know what to do with the grief of this world. I look at this man and his dog and feel the pressure of disappointment on both his heart and my own; I can feel the loss of the dream he had for his own life and experience that loss with him. For I don’t move about my world so as to push it away from me; I welcome it to settle within me and become part of my experience; I let it teach me and humble me so that I can grow more each day in understanding and perhaps one day maybe we humans can be a collective, empathic, love-filled whole again.
[FB post from yesterday, 8/27] This morning at 5:04 AM I got an email via my yelp account from a recently-homeless woman who wanted to get a quote on how much it would be for me to board her two “beautiful” adult cats in my home. It was already a weird morning because my friend Graham sent me a link to my old Garfield house which is now for sale again and seeing the interior sterility and the back yard–which the summer after James moved in 2007 was the site of a “healing through manual labor and sunburn”–with its huge tree gone and most everything I planted looking dead really put the punctuation on the end of that chapter in my life. It was the punctuation you typically see after “you stupid fucking idiots; what the actual fuck.” And so it was that I started my day. Sunday. An easy work day before the madness starts up tomorrow and moves
[I’m a pet sitter and the above picture is Sophie–a Siberian Husky I’ve cared for many times–who took a turn for the worse while I was sitting for her and, in dramatic fashion typical of this charismatic girl, her last day on earth was spent with her parents racing back from their honeymoon–driving all night–in order to get to her, after which just a few hours later–time they said was wonderful–she collapsed and died peacefully. I knew they’d get back in about 2:30 a.m. so during my evening visit Tuesday night, I said goodbye to her, and told her that in whatever world she ended up in, to come see me, for I’ve known her in better times, and long for her to walk and eat and prance and do her barkbeg for treats, and maybe even keep stealing her sister Greta’s chewies and hoarding them in her bed, and walked away in tears, hoping she would come see
Last night my girls, Ellen, and I watched Thelma and Louise together, and because I’d forgotten how long the movie was, the event lasted into the early hours of today, at which point my youngest–who’d been hesitant to even watch it at all for the last scene she’d heard so much about–excitedly chatted to me through my bleary-eyedness, saying that along with Donnie Darko, it was now one of her two favorite movies. None of them had ever seen it, and Livy asked me in one of the first scenes when Thelma’s husband Daryl was being an asshole to Thelma, “Is that just the way it was back then?” The movie was made in 1991. No, baby; Daryl’s just a dick. In the midst of girl power and Thelma and Louise gunning it to their chosen end, Ellen held my left hand still and, as I watched the movie, drew upon my skin the pattern you see in the picture
[703 words; 2 min 34 sec]
I’ve never cried so hard as that day in 2007 when James drove his moving truck down the street.
He was moving from Salt Lake to live with his office assistant/girlfriend and her son 2000 miles away, just weeks after we told the girls we were divorcing, a divorce which blindsided me, James and Sarah probably beginning their relationship that summer we
[802 words; 4 minutes; society, homelessness, events, Salt Lake City]
8/31/2016: Jesus. At the Smiths [grocery store] at 9th and 9th, a homeless mom pushing a shopping cart filled with their stuff and her dazed-looking teen son with auburn hair and freckles following her riding his bike, bags hanging from the handlebars and backpack on