Gone Too Soon

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The first time I talked to Alex, he was curled up on a camp chair, trying not to cry. It was February, 2006. We were both part of the SCA and this was our big Estrella War event . That particular day, Alex wasn’t allowed to go to a volunteer pizza party, because of some nonsense. When I asked him what was wrong, he responded with a defensive, “Why do you care?”
“Because,” I said. “You’re my son’s friend and if you’re upset, it bothers me.”
The honest truth is, it took all I had to have this conversation with this 12 year old. I am not the best at dealing with children, who aren’t my own, especially not someone who didn’t want comforting.
From my  Livejournal:

“Meanwhile, Alexander the Great was lying on two camp chairs in the kitchen area looking very sad as his family left for the pizza party. He was grounded because of his attitude.
It felt tense with just him lying in those chairs. We began to talk a little. I also found out he had paid a lot of attention to Moses. He said he thought that Moses had been lonely when he was there. He would whimper when the children in the encampment left. He also talked about how cute he thought it was when Moses would twitch his paws in his sleep.
Soon he was introducing Matt (who had been brought back) and me to his Mastiff, Thor, and his other dog, who kept jumping.”

He became affectionately known as my sixth child, the day I took a playground headcount of my children and accidentally counted him.
He was always part of our lives. He had seen our family’s best and our absolute worst. Even when he was busy, he would suddenly come around, just to remind us he was still there.
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In recent years, he would send me IMs and emails, just to chat. If I needed help with my website or computer, he was at my house within 24 hours. I think we spent more time hanging out, playing music, and having witty conversation, than actually getting anything done, but that was the way things went and he was always fun to have over.

In November, Alex sent me an IM asking if my daughter would like a lucet for her birthday. I answered by telling him I was about to have a nervous breakdown trying to get everything ready for her surprise party.
“I’m eating, right now. I’ll leave in 10 minutes, then I’ll be over in an hour.”
What looked like a daunting task became easier and fun. There was still plenty of music and witty conversation. He was the “keeper of the flame” as he tended the fire pit for the party.  After the party was over, he lingered on, playing games with the kids and my husband. As always, we told him to let us know he got home okay.

This is about where the story has to end. That night, I realized Alex wasn’t just my son’s childhood friend or the “sixth child” of our family. He was my friend. A friend , who would drop everything and help me, whenever I asked. Yet, never bothered to ask anything in return. Our last conversation (via IM)  was about books.  I wanted classic book ideas. He couldn’t think of any fantasy I didn’t know (his favourite) that was before 1960. We also talked about how weird it was to meet anyone that couldn’t talk about music.

Last week, Alex was killed in a motorcycle accident. He did everything right, but was hit by a negligent driver. It’s difficult to not think of his motorcycle sitting in our driveway or him not rolling his eyes about my musical tastes and plugging his phone into my speakers to play classic rock or some obscure band I just “had to hear”.

The lesson here is about fun. Alex made every day fun. He didn’t care if people thought he was weird. He revelled in the thought. He did what he wanted and as long as it hurt no one else, he went with it.

We give ourselves so many obstructions to appear “normal”. But, one of the happiest, most unconditionally loving people I ever met, didn’t care what others thought. He went past those barriers and lived every day to the fullest.
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I’ll miss you,  Alex. My dear friend and brother.

Weekly Inspiration: Crusader (Black Gryphon)

Sunday’s Inspirational Women feature has changed to the Weekly Inspiration. Being Artemis isn’t just about women. It’s about all of us who have ever needed that extra boost in life.
Inspiration can come from a woman, man, child,  animal, or as this post proves — music. 

Send in what inspires you this week to lmarie333@cox.net and it will be featured in next week’s Weekly Inspiration.

 

One of the things that keeps me up and going is this song by Black Gryph0n. It’s a song about three friends (who happen to be ponies) trying to find their destinies.
We’ve all been there or we are there. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pre-teen or if you’re over 40. Who am I? What is my purpose in life? We all go through it.

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It’s sounds like a cliche, “Focus on the journey, not the destination.”  Enjoy the moment.  What good is it to keep moving to the destination if you miss the great moments along the way? You’re young and free — no matter how old you are. Get out there and make the most of today.
It doesn’t matter if it’s just something as simple as reading a book, playing with your kids, or watching a good movie. Don’t fret so much about who you can or will be. We know you’ll get there. Enjoy TODAY!

Thank you, Black Gryph0n, for the reminder on my playlist, this morning. ❤

 

 

Too Busy to Live

Over the weekend, I went to grocery and saw and heard a most beautiful thing. A little sparrow sat on the peak of the roof singing its little heart out. It was the sweetest thing to hear such a lovely sound coming from a creature that is so tiny.  I enjoyed the bird song before I went into the grocery and the sparrow continued its performance as I was leaving.  In the busy morning of picking up breakfast and coffee,  no one else in the parking lot looked up to see that little bird.

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An experiment, a few years back, called Stop and Hear the Music, in which Joshua Bell performed in a Subway station, without too much of a notice, showed how overly busy and distracted we are.

Yes, we have places to be and things to do, but a few moments of stopping to breathe and listen to the music could bring down our stress in amazing ways. We all have the same 24 hours per day.

Currently, I am practicing the skill of living in the moment. It’s difficult, because my mind often races about ten steps ahead of itself.  Part of this practice is taking an evening walk in the local park. Instead of walking from Point A and getting as fast I can to Point B, I am walking to pay attention to the wildlife around me. The bunnies, the ducks, and even the people. The people are the most fascinating.

Last night, my youngest son and I walked around the lake when I heard the most beautiful music. It had a lovely otherworldly sound that brought me back to happier moments of my childhood. A flood of memories came back to hear it. Memories of my father and listening to the Big Band station after church when I was little. My son was sure it was a radio, but I wanted to be sure. We were almost to it, when the music stopped. Then, a moment later, started again.

Under one of the ramadas not far from where we parked, I saw a gentleman speaking with a teenage boy. The teenager had a trombone in his hands and the gentleman had a trumpet in his case.  The gentleman said he practiced at the park every evening. When the boy had seen him playing, he couldn’t help but get his trombone. Not only did they play some beautiful music, but I know that boy scored some points with his girlfriend.

In our hurried busy world, we are running back and forth,back and forth, like a group of ants. Constantly working. Constantly running. No time to stop.  Then, studies are released to tell us we’d be healthier, happier, better if we only changed things in our life.

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What we need to do is slow down. Listen to the music. Pet a kitten. Watch a quail family. (I stopped writing for a few moments when I saw a movement outside my window. I saw the family of quail, that lives in my yard, going out for their morning breakfast. It’s fun to watch those tiny balls of feathers walking around.) Sit still and just breathe.

Have a Great Day!! 🙂