Life’s Celebration

Posted on August 26, 2010

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We left for San Francisco early Friday morning, sometime around 6am, and made it into my hometown by 12:30. Mr. Man has never seen Moraga, the town I spent my high school years wandering about, and even though it was under unpleasant circumstances, I was proud to walk Rheem shopping center with him. Take him for a Nation’s burger. Lament about how Fudge Alley has closed down, a small candy shop with sharpie scrawled names of the kids who grew up in the town covering the walls. Frank had run the shop, gave us sour belts and ice cream, hot dogs and milk shakes. We’d sit in the booths and laugh, carving our initials into the table. Mr. Man didn’t get to see that part, but he saw everything else, the rolling hills covered in brown dying grass, the 35 spot where I’d sit and sell weed after school, the woods we ran through as teenagers. He saw my high school, Campolindo, shining for all it’s glory with new pools, a theatre, and perfectly manicured baseball field. He laughed when we sat down for lunch, saying “So, this ghetto gangster girl you like to throw at me occasionally, she didn’t grow up here did she?” More is always revealed.

We spent the night at a girlfriends in east Contra Costa, and the three of us headed to Ocean Beach in SF Saturday morning for the memorial service. Jordan had wished to be cremated, so his friends and family gathered on the beach, seven of his best friends adorned in wetsuits, nearly three hundred people stood around a bonfire as Mr. Anderson thanked us for coming, how touched he was that his son had such a broad life, and impacted so many people. The surfers took to the ocean, with ashes and baseballs in their wetsuits. Jordan was a huge SF Giant’s fan, and most of the people on the beach stood in Giants gear. The men paddled out to the ocean, one of the surfers had a hard time breaking through the waves, and two others paddled back and brought him in with the rest of the group. We clapped and cheered from the beach as these men poured his ashes into the salty water, gave Jordan back to the ocean which he loved so much. The guys threw the baseballs into the sea, they’d written messages to Jordan with the same sharpies as in Fudge Alley, and I cried with friends I’ve known for nearly 14 years. They swam back in, and the crowd embraced each of the men who’d paddled out. Bleeze was one of the surfers, his eyes red from tears and salt, we hugged and everyone he hugged left with a wet mark down their front. Mr. Anderson welcomed the party to The Cliff House, for drinks, food and stories, and as we walked back to the restaurant, we saw a huge 30 foot graffiti mural of Jordan’s name on the sea wall. Someone had spent over 25 hours paying tribute to our friend. It was Giant’s colors too. Jordan would have loved it.

Grief and death have a funny way of inspiring you to action. Some people lashed out in anger, while others decided they were done wasting their lives by being stagnant and apathetic. I had already decided it was time for some serious change, but it took this celebration to understand what that change was about. I ran into old girlfriends, one little cheerleader who always played the ditzy card is now an attorney, another just received her Masters in molecular biology. I’d cut off all my friends from high school who went on to do something with their lives because I was afraid to share what I’d been doing in mine. An adventure, yes, productive, not so much. Now I see them and am excited to say I’m going back to school, excited to be a part of society, the society that helped shape them into well rounded and intelligent young women. All the friends I’ve kept in touch with seem to be doing very little. Except Jordan. He was doing exactly what he wanted to be doing at the time of his death. He wanted to move to San Francisco, be a bartender, and surf Ocean Beach. He did it. It makes it a lesser shade of sad.

So it’s time for some additional action. One more re-write on the proposal and it goes out to publishers. I’m in talks about starting a Sex and Relationship advice blog with an old friend. I begin the fall semester on Monday, taking three classes, working part time as a hostess, and continuing on in life. I had recently decided to sell of the things in my storage unit because Mr. Man and I officially decided to live together. No more of this temporary agreement. So we are combining our lives one plate and cup at a time. My coffee tables are being sold today, I’m hoping the couch goes soon, as well as the scarf/hat/coat rack, and if it really comes down to it I will take it all to Goodwill and donate my life away. The only big things that remain are these giant paintings, two of the canvas’ are 5 feet by 4 feet, and there is just no room in our home for them. Perhaps I can sell them to someone in LA for cheap. Everything must go. It’s time to purge myself of the things I don’t need, and focus on the things I have. Which is quite a bit.

Thank you all for your kindness and support. This has been an incredibly difficult few weeks, and knowing that I have friends here helps me at every given moment. Tell the ones you love that you love them today. I love you all.

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Posted in: Beautiful Days