Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?
This is the sign that is over the front door of Aileen's and my house, our home, going OUT. Meaning that when someone leaves our house they are going into the ACTUAL Mental Ward.

I've always felt that way. When it is considered how much ugliness and killing and hatred there is in the world today, it actually makes perfect sense that this sign is over the door going out of the house.

Because that's where the real mental ward is.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Respect And Compromise

When you look at American politics, all through history.  There were several times in American politics, where abuse of power really took place.  Where politicians basically lied to the American people, in order to fill their own pockets.

There's something that I have never shared about my grandfather that I learned from his wife.  My grandmother.  And it was also told to me by the man that my grandfather appointed to run the Republican Party for northeastern Ohio.  When he, my grandfather stepped down.

My grandfather always believed that the role of a public servant was to do their best.  Not only to serve the people but to do their best also to improve the system.  And according to Judge Saul Stillman and my grandmother, the wife of Maurice Maschke of course.  He always used to say that it didn't matter whether or not, individuals or groups might attempt to attack him.  Because he really believed his duty was in fact to improve the system and to serve the people as honestly as he could.

So while, according to my grandmother and other published news reports of the time.  There were evidently attacks against my grandfather.  The fact of the matter is that as I have said previously in every single state in this country, where I met anyone who actually knew my grandfather.  As I was growing up, they always said exactly the same thing.  Not in exactly the same words, but it was always the same thing.  That he was the most honest man they had ever known.  And that no matter what, if someone was in significant need they could walk into my grandfather's office.  And he would help them no questions asked.

So the other part of what Judge Saul Stillman told me was that my grandfather believed that part of his responsibility as a politician was to make sure that the people being put in behind him more than he appointed would be as honest or more so than he was.  And in point of fact, when you analyze the career of Judge Saul Stillman and other people that my grandfather appointed.  You find that is exactly the case, that they were all extremely un-corruptible and extremely honest people.  So in that regard, my grandfather did exactly what he said he would always do, which was to improve the system.  To put people in order to have people brought forward in the political process.  That would not be corruptible and who would be as honest as possible and do their best to always serve the people to the utmost of their ability.

Another reason I mention all of this is because overseeing the day in politics is that those kinds of values basically don't exist.  Were seeing politicians being far more concerned with their political Prasanna and catering to special interest groups than they are with fulfilling their duties as public servants to serve their people.  Meaning all the people and not just a segment of the people.  We are seeing politicians cater to the wealthy and basically ignoring their oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution and to secure the rights of the American people.  Because they were securing the rights of the American people.  The hallmark of doing that and the basis of the Constitution and the basis of the functioning of the United States Congress has always been, compromise.

Yet we are not seeing either party compromise.  We are not seeing the Republican Party make any kind of compromise whatsoever.  We are seeing the Republican Party catering to the wealthy and to the banking system and to special interest white supremacist or white Christian extremist groups or right-wing extremist groups either Catholic or Christian.  And they are really representing all the people either in their own districts or all the people in this nation.

In the end result of all of that is that we the people of this country are suffering.  Because we are basically so much in turmoil I'm so much in conflict that we are really behaving as a united nation.  And our children are going to have to pay the price for this extreme selfishness.  And self-centeredness and egotism.

It doesn't matter how I was born or what happened to my mother in the large scheme of things.  Because the Catholics will never come forward and admit to what they were doing it white cross hospital.  It's taken decades for the Catholic Church to even admit to the sexual abuse of children and they only did so when they were forced to do so in a court of law.

So, I know full well that the Catholic Church will never admit to what they were doing it white cross hospital in 1950.  And we're not talking just about my mother were talking about thousands of other women who are subjected to the same treatment that my mother was.  And the Catholic Church has never once ever admitted to what was going on there, nor have they even ever tried to investigate what was going on there.  And when there was any kind of hint as to what actually was taking place, white cross hospital was torn down.  Probably in an attempt to hide the truth.

But in any event, I became part of the Maschke family, whether I like it or not.  And rather than following the life or the behavioral pattern of my mother and father.  I chose to identify with my grandmother and my grandfather.  I never knew my grandfather, but I did know his brother, Dr Ally Maschke.  Who was the director of medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in Cleveland Ohio.  I knew Ally Maschke for five years before he died.  And through him I got to know.  My grandfather, in addition to what I learned of my grandfather through his wife my grandmother.

So as I was growing up, it became very easy for me to identify with truth and honesty and honor and duty, which is what my grandmother and my grandfather and his brother were all about.  As compared to lying and money and power, which is what my mother and father were all about.

The things that happened during the time my darling Aileen was dying of cancer that I have reported today and yesterday regarding how Republicans in the state of Ohio at one point told her in a recorded conversation that because she was not a Christian.  She didn't deserve to have a hospital bed.  And that she should simply die on the floor.  That's true.  That call was witnessed, and I have a recording of that phone call.  I also have the legal documents from the state of Ohio regarding the entire incident.  So, nothing that the Republican Party your anyone can say is going to be able to make those legal documents on true.

What was done to my darling Aileen or at least what was attempting to be done is unconscionable.  And in human.  And thank goodness because of the hospice team and my efforts along with others.  Aileen was given the dignity.  She deserves not only as an American citizen.  But as a human being, who was dying of a very serious and horrible condition of liver cancer.

People can say anything they want about me.  And they will.  All my life people have talked behind my back saying extremely nasty and hateful things.  A lot of times thinking that I did not hear the more that I would not learn of what they were saying.  But in fact, they were wrong, because I either did hear what they were saying or I did learn of what they said.  So all my life I've been subjected to the nasty mean-spirited and hateful comments by others.

But in my entire life, I have never hated a single human being.  Never.  The only thing I ever had hatred for was the behavior that we humans take on by personal choice.  Whereby as a result of that behavior would cause harm to ourselves and to each other and to the positive evolutionary growth of our species.  Humankind.

Anyone who has known me from southern Arizona school or Fort Lewis college or Case Western Reserve University.  Or anywhere I was ever working anywhere in this country will back me up on what I'm saying.  But I never once ever thought are there any circumstances, nor did I portray myself in any way.  Whereby I thought that any disability or any physical issue I was dealing with was more serious.  Under any circumstances than millions and millions of other amazing children and men and women.  I never made out, what I was going through her what I have dealt with in my life as being significant when compared to what others are in fact suffering.

And as anyone who's ever known me throughout my life will also have to admit.  I've been a pacifist my entire life, and I remain one now and I shall be a pacifist.  The rest of my life.  I've never once dropped anyone.  I don't believe in violence.  And I do happen to respect every single religion in this world.  I just don't respect the behavior that religion has chosen how to express itself.  I don't support or respect the violent history of any religion.  I don't actively support any religion that has ever harmed or killed a single human being.  But I respect the concept of religion, because I respect the need within all of us as human beings.  They have some framework intellectually and spiritually that will give us some degree of assistance in being able to deal with the mortality of our own lives.  Whether that framework is atheist or agnostic or Buddhist or Muslim or Jewish or Catholic or Christian or Wiccan or pagan.  It doesn't matter.  We all believe in something we all use whatever belief we have to maintain some degree of being centered in our own lives.  Because of that one final question, where we no longer become physical, but in fact become part of the entire spectrum of life that in so many different cultures and religions we call death.

If I had gone through my life and never made any mistake I would probably in my own estimation.  Not be human.  So you can bet your bottom dollar I made lots of mistakes in my life.  And I still do.  I don't regret any of the mistakes I made because in my mind.  That's life.  You don't learn from life is.  You never make any mistakes.  Because if you never make any mistakes.  You don't ever have to fix anything if you don't ever have to fix anything.  You don't ever have to think about what you did that caused the mistake.  And if you don't ever have to think about what you did that caused any mistake.  And you don't learn anything.

So I'm never begrudged the mistakes that I've made, because it's part of the learning process.  But at this point in my life as I look at this country.  I realized that I have a responsibility whether I like it or not.  That responsibility is to share in whatever venue I believe is appropriate.  My experiences, having been part of the Maschke family where my grandfather actually did in the 1920s run the entire Republican Party for the Northern Ohio or potentially, what might be considered at this point northeastern Ohio.  And since I am part of the Maschke family I have a responsibility to talk about that.  If I believe doing so might in fact help.  My contemporaries, and this country in any way.

So when I see the kind of uncompromising extremely selfish behavior is going on in this country.  The only venue I really have that I feel is appropriate, where I can discuss these issues is in my own Journal.  And I can do that privately on my computer in which case perhaps after I'm dead.  One way or the other some of what I have written may in fact, make it to a point where it might be used for helpful in some way to the people in this country.  Or, I can write in my Journal online, letting God be my guide and letting God decide whether or not anything I write might in fact be useful or helpful.  In any way.  And that's what I do.

I've been tortured my entire life, internally and live lives incredible pain.  Pain to only probably a small minority of people in this world might ever really understand.  But even though the people who might understand or relate to my pain are extra small minority.  Relatively speaking with the world being approximately 7,000,000,000 people that small minority is actually a very large number of human beings.  So there are probably a lot of people who can relate to and possibly identify with and understand the degree of torture I have lived with in my life.

But just because my life has been tortured.  And just because I've dealt with and live with various forms of mental illness since I was about four years old, doesn't mean I'm stupid.  It just means I'm tortured.

Nobody becomes passionate about something unless they really care about the thing that they are becoming passionate about.  And the more they care about any given thing, the more passionate they are about that thing.  Seeing some of the things or actually a lot of the things I have in my life losing the friends I have lost watching my darling Aileen died.  Being in the hospital ward for almost a solid year.  Watching nine children died during those eight months.  These are things that ended up torturing me terribly, but also changing in every conceivable way.

My mental illness or my mental illnesses have always made me feel throughout my life that I more times than not would much prefer not to be a lot of.  But even though I have entertained thoughts of not wanting to live.  I haven't really visibly displayed suicidal tendencies except for a very few times.  And I'm not suicidal now at all.

But as I read the news and I see the direction that our nation and the world is going in.  I begin to understand with absolute clarity that the world doesn't really care for it much about honesty anymore.  Just like the world doesn't really want to try and work together as one global community to fix some of the really massive problems in this world.

Those people who knew me at Fort Lewis College in Durango Colorado, know full well that I always talked about people being our greatest resource.  And I always will feel that way.  And I'm not delusional, because I don't have illusions of grandeur.  Because I don't believe I'm anything special to this world.  If there's any significance in this world relative to my life.  It's that I was adopted by the Maschke family whereby as a result.  Maurice Maschke was my grandfather and in the scheme of things.  That's not any more significant than a number of other political families.  And it certainly isn't as significant as political families that produced presidents were governors.  But I was adopted into a political family.

And as a human rights advocate.  I've always been outspoken.  I've always been incredibly ardent in my advocacy for the American military.  Our police officers our firefighters, our veterans, the homeless.  Women and children.  That's just part of who and what I am.  Regardless how many years I lived in this world.  I'm probably not ever going to change.  I've always thought incredibly honored to have known my grandmother and to have been considered by her as a valid member of the Maschke family.  We're a number of other members of the Maschke family never really considered me a Maschke.  My grandmother always did.

I've wondered all my life, what would have happened on June 1, 1968.  When I met with Dr. Herndon at University hospitals of Cleveland.  I've always wondered what would have happened if I would've told him that instead of doing the operation, what would have happened if I had told him to do nothing.

That question has followed me my entire life.  It's not like it haunted me.  But it has followed me throughout all the years I've lived.  Always wondering what would have happened if I had chosen not to do anything.  By all accounts, on June 1, 1968.  The conditions of my hunchback condition or scoliosis were so severe that Dr. Herndon and the other doctors who were part of the team that worked on me believe I probably would not live beyond Christmas of that year.

But I've always wondered.  I've always wondered what would have happened if I would've chosen to do nothing.  But I didn't.  I chose to go through with the operation, which in many ways basically ruined my life.  And of course saved my life by all medical and historical accounts.  But in a host of other ways.  It ruined my life.  Which is okay.  Again, like I say, nothing I have ever experienced in my entire life can ever come close to the level of suffering or the difficulties the millions and millions of Americans in this country and around the world and people all over the world.  Men women and children are dealing with every second.  Nothing I have ever experienced can come close to how difficult things are for so many millions of men women and children everywhere.

I personally it's been a very long and extremely remarkable.  And unbelievably difficult journey.  Where I always had to be much more strict and harder with myself that a lot of people could ever understand.  And again there is that minority of people in this world, which is a huge number but is also a very small number when it is compared to the total number of people in the world.  And that minority actually does understand what I'm talking about.

So if this point in my life trying to cope with and to deal with living alone in this house.  After losing my darling Aileen is truly a new adventure.  And one that is incredibly hard.  And as one where I really don't have the opportunity to spend my time being as magnanimous as I would like to be.  Because I made promises.  I made promises to my darling Aileen.  I made promises before she died.  That no matter what I would keep those promises.

And in that regard I'm no different than anyone else right now, who is dealing with a loved one who is dying from one form of cancer or another.  You're in that position, watching someone you deeply love with all of your heart and soul battling every day against one of the most horrible diseases that we have in this world.  Knowing that nothing you can do is going to save them.  Nothing.  And so if you are like most people, like I am in so many ways.  You made promises.  And if you're really honest with yourself that you keep those promises, no matter what.

And because the physical conditions of my life has become more challenging.  I have to focus my energies on keeping those promises.  Rather than perhaps being out in the world, experiencing life and meeting other people.  I have to focus on those promises, because I love and I still love my darling Aileen that much.

Just like as my grandmother was getting older and I was going to start college in Colorado.  I made promises to her.  Only with my grandmother.  I had no idea that the last time I saw her before I started college in Durango Colorado.  That would be the last time I would ever see her alive.  But it was.  There are a couple of experiences that took place during that first year that were quite extraordinary.

But when my grandmother died.  I knew those promises, I had made to her.  I had to keep.  Otherwise I wouldn't be being honest with myself.  So with all the turmoil in my life and all the twists and turns.  It was the promises I made to certain people that actually gave me consistency.  So when I look about what's going on in our country.  I get caught up in forgetting that I'm 62.  Feeling sometimes emotionally like I'm still 30 years old, but I'm not.  And I've made promises.  Promises I have to keep if I'm going to be true to myself.  I have to keep those promises have I'm going to be true to whatever relationship I have with God.  I have to keep those promises.

In point of fact, nothing I can say in my Journal.  And nothing I might do will have been a real effect in this world.  People and humanity will do what people and humanity will do.  If we as a global population continued to make the choice of being strident and polarized and in conflict with each other than the conflict will continue and compromise will become smaller and smaller, more and more invisible.  And if compromise becomes truly invisible than perhaps compromise won't even exist anymore.

And that's not my concern.  It's only my concern from the standpoint that I'm a human rights advocate, but it has no bearing on the promises I made to my grandmother or to my darling wife Aileen.  The promises or one of the promises I made to my grandmother was that I would always defend her and grandfathers honor, which I've tried to do all my life.  And I probably have been really clumsy at doing.  But I made a promise I made a promise to my grandmother that I would do that.  And I did so not knowing that when I made that promise that I would never see her alive again.  And that truly affected me far more than my parents ever understood.

But now with cancer becoming so prevalent in our world with so many products in so many different types of food infected with one form of carcinogens  or another.  A lot more people are finding themselves in exactly the same position.  I have been in where they are watching someone they love with all their heart suffering horribly.  And knowing that there's nothing they can do that will save them because they are in their last time.  Or their last months or years or days in this world.  And so those people like any of us.  When their loved one asks them to do something.  The matter what those people like me will make a promise.

And if they're not really honest with themselves they might not keep that promise.  They might forget that promise after a certain amount of time after their loved one leaves this world.  But the majority of people in that situation like me are honest with themselves.  And when their loved one asks them to do something.  They make that promise, and they keep that promise, no matter what.

A lot of my passion over the last few days of course has been because I have been experiencing rather extreme and significant pain in my left leg.  And unless you are someone in sports where you've had major knee injury.  Or unless you have had your sciatic nerve explode inside your left leg or your right leg.  It's probably hard for you to understand the level of pain that comes from something like that.  But those who have had knee injuries like what I have or who have sciatic nerve damage know exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about.

And nobody responds to pain the same way.  It's a very unique experience.  Plus what's really remarkable is that about 80 to 90% of any pain that we experience is actually psychosomatic.  With only about 10% of the pain we are physically experiencing being real.  And there's a big huge long psychological explanation for why that is, but it basically breaks down to the fact that when you have any particular pain.  You don't really begin to physically feel that pain until you become aware of the point of where the pain is.

So if you have pain in your back.  It's only when you figure out where that pain is coming from or that you actually feel something different in one place of your body or another that you begin to define inside of your mind that the feeling you are having in one place of your body or another is uncomfortable.  And then your mind goes for a whole number of changes, where the discomfort becomes more significant to where it then becomes pain.

But it's the mind that defines pain not the body.

So I fully understand the regardless of whatever synchronicity or lack thereof that my life might have as a result of my having been associated.  However, directly or indirectly with my grandfather that the affected anything I might say is not really that significant.  Because people will continue to believe what they want and say what they want and make the choices that they want.  Because that's what all of us do in our own lives.

It has to be hard for people to understand how excited I got or became.  When I finally got this leg brace on my leg.  But then a lot of people don't realize that most of my life in one way or another I was an athlete.  I was never a professional athlete.  But I was an amateur athlete in a number of different ways.  And I don't respond to pain the way that other people do, partially because I had to change the way that I respond to pain.  I didn't have any choice.  I've been to eight different pain clinics in 45 years since my operation.  And of course I learned a lot.  Otherwise, I would not have gone to those pain clinics.

And wherever I was living.  I always tried to be a good neighbor.  Meaning, if someone needed a favor or needed a helping hand.  I was more than willing to lend assistance.  It's just the way.  I always have been.  Just like I am now.  I don't go out much because I know people have a hard time seeing me live as a transgendered woman.  And because I'm very respectful of other people's feelings.  I try not to be a burden to them.  But I also made promises to my darling Aileen.

So, I have a lot of plans that I have to take care of a specially this summer.  Things were I've made a lot of notes on different projects to I'm going to complete.  Because I promised her I would maintain this house.  And as a good neighbor in this neighborhood.  That's my responsibility as well.  To maintain my property and not be a burden to my neighbors, which is exactly what I try to do.  Shielding the Windows is actually because I live for the most part, or practically all of the time on the first floor.  And not only am I agoraphobic.  Meaning I am afraid of people.  But I'm also very modest.  Additionally, whether anyone really knows this or not.  Although people who knew me in southern Arizona school in Tucson Arizona, will know this.  I actually suffered a form of Sun blindness during the first year I was at southern Arizona school.  So I became to a certain extent, light-sensitive.

And because of some of the dumb stuff that I have to deal with with regard to the various physical issues that are part of my life.  I have to sometimes take naps during the day.  So there are a number of reasons why the Windows have been sealed.  But what I'm outside, if someone ever needs a helping hand.  I'm always more than willing to help out.  I always have been.  That's my nature.  I don't hate anyone.  And I never have.  And I never will.

Growing up.  Not only did I go to temple every Saturday, which is what of course good Jews do.  But, because my aunt Helen was Catholic as well as my mother.  I oftentimes went to Catholic mass on Sunday.  And while I never accepted Jesus as my personal Savior, nor will I ever.  I certainly grew up respecting a lot about his life.  Like the fact that no matter what anyone did to him.  They could not make him hate anyone.  And I thought, and I still do, that was amazingly brilliant.  And it is something I have always maintained in my own life.

So all the plans I have lived, what I'm going to do with this property have nothing to do with trying to compete with anyone else or anything like that is because I made promises, promises to my darling Aileen.  Just like inside of myself I really don't care about some of the physical issues I'm dealing with.  But I made promises to Aileen that I would not only maintain this house but that I would maintain myself.  And I have to smile and laugh slightly.  Because Aileen understood and knew very well that would be one of the harder promises I would have to keep.  That's why I'm, very reluctantly seeking assistance to be able to get to the doctor so I can resolve some of these physical issues.  Not because I really care about the issues but because I promised Aileen and I would maintain myself.  Which means I have to fix those issues, if and when and where possible.

Over the years dealing with constant pain since I was 17.  I became to a large extent numb to a lot of the pain that I deal with.  Which is only natural.  If you live with constant pain all the time, you simply end up turning some of that pain off or at least, you learn how to ignore some of it because it just never goes away.  That's how your mind deals with some pain.  Your body deals with pain differently.  Because of the pain level that I'm dealing with gets to a certain extent.  I can actually pass out from the pain that I am experiencing which people have actually seen happen.

And because I am so committed to keeping all the promises I made to my darling Aileen.  I'm determined that if I don't get the assistance to get to the doctors, what I need that I will walk there.  Because I know I can.  And I know that the places I have to go in order to see the doctors, whichever one I need to see is generally not further then about three or 4 miles, which I know I can do.  Even though it might be difficult.  I know I can do it because I've done it before.  And if I hadn't made those promises to Aileen that I wouldn't even be considering that.  But I did make those promises.  I made those promises to the one person who I loved and still love more than any other human being I have known in my life.  Or at least so significantly that the love I feel for her is different and more powerful than any other love I have felt for any other human being.

So of all the promises I have ever made.  The ones to my darling Aileen are the ones that I will never break no matter what.  So something as possibly silly or as insignificant as simply a knee brace really becomes incredibly significant.  Because it gives me the ability to stay on my feet and to continue to try and keep those promises I made to my darling Aileen, which I will do.

Like I say.  I always wonder what would have happened if I had told Dr. Herndon.  On June 1, 1968 that I wanted him to do not.  Because of course if I would have said that.  Then I probably would have of course, died that Christmas.  But it also means that I would not have died on September 2 at 12:02 AM in the morning for five minutes without anyone being able to bring me back.  Which means I would never have seen what I saw during those five minutes.  Which means I would have never have been blind for the next week.  Which means I would never have experienced what I experienced in the Ward.  And I never would have suddenly developed some kind of photographic memory.  And I would have never developed other peculiarities to my perceptual and intellectual abilities.  Because I would simply no longer exist.

And all through the years I've asked myself more times than most people could ever imagine why it was that I made that choice.  Why did I make the choice to tell him to go forward with the operation.  Knowing that what he told me was that doing so, I would only have about a 40% chance of survival.  I mean, when he said those words I was of course filled with a kind of terror about my own mortality.  And I didn't have a lot of time to sit there and reflect on what to do.  I had to make a decision right then and there.  I wasn't given a couple of days to decide.  I had no advance warning that the choice was going to be given to me that way.  On June 1, 1968.  I was told for the very first time that if I didn't do anything about this hunchback condition in my back, this scoliosis that I would be dead by Christmas.  Although I have an indication that I probably wasn't going to live very long because of things that were taking place.  Like how my body was turning blue if I tried to walk upstairs.

But I wasn't given any time.  I had to make a decision right then and there.  I think the only amount of time I was given to make that decision was probably not more than about 10 or 15 minutes.  That's not a very long time to figure out in your mind whether you want to take the risk of only having about a 40% chance of surviving an operation or what do you want to simply say the hell with it and let yourself die.  But that's how it was presented to me.  So all my life, I wondered, what would have happened if I didn't make that choice

Well the obvious is true.  If I had made that choice.  I wouldn't have had any of the experiences I had in my life.  And I would never have met and fallen in love with my darling Aileen.  I would not have been here for her when she was dying to use everything I ever learned in my life to try to extend hers.  I would never done some of the most amazing things I ever thought possible.  I would never have met some of the most incredible people I ever knew were seen some of the most unbelievable things anyone could ever imagine.  In this country.  I actually have photographs that I have never shown anyone of some of the most incredible and magnificent sights from the travels I've been on things that are just unbelievable that when I sometimes look at them.  They almost seem alien.

So obviously, if I had made the choice to do nothing.  Not of that would've happened.  But then, what?

That question.  But then, what?  And that question has followed me my entire life.  So when I look at our world the way our world is today.  My heart really breaks.  Because I know what it's like for someone to be in the very last moments of their life and not really being given the time they need to figure it all out or to adjust to that choice, because I wasn't given any time at all.  Dr. Herndon said this was choice number one choice number two and choice number three and he spelled them out also clearly.  What a great deal of kindness and compassion, but still very clearly.  I remember my first reaction.  I began crying hysterically.  I just sat there for almost 5 minutes crying.  I looked over at my father and told him I didn't know what to do.  He was so sober so stoked.  You could tell he was sad, but there were no tears and all he said was that it had to be my choice and I had no idea what to do.  And I had no time, Dr. Herndon expected an answer.  And I think I asked him about choice number three, which was that I would be in a full body brace for the rest of my life.  And that I probably wouldn't live beyond 25 years old.

But that's how it was.  No time.  I didn't get a couple of days, I didn't get a week.  I didn't even get a couple of hours.  I had to make that choice is a matter of minutes.  I had to make a life and death choice at 17 years of age completely alone in a matter of minutes.  And I had to do so completely terrified out of my wits.  So when I say, the really do understand how men women and children in their last moments are feeling with a don't have any time.  They don't have weeks or days or months or even hours.  They have minutes, and sometimes only seconds to make their peace with God.  I really do understand how they feel, because I was right there.

So I said the words.  I don't even know how I gained composure.  I don't even know how I was able to even talk.  But I did, I said the words I said the words that would change my life forever without any time to be able to think about the ramifications of that choice without being able to discuss it with anyone without being able to figure out how to make peace with my own soul about it without being able to do a damn thing except make a choice.  I remember in the midst of it all.  I remembered my very good friend Richard, who died just the year before of emphysema.  I remember his last words to me.  His last words, the very last thing he said to me was, I see it so clearly Mickey.  It all makes sense.  It's only choices Mickey.  That's all it is.  Just choices.  Mine are done Mickey.  Yours are coming.  So be ready.

And in the midst of those few minutes, sitting there.  I wondered how the hell he knew.  Because he died before any physical reaction had taken place in my back.  That would have given him any indication of what was going to take place in my life.  Yet he knew.  So I said the words.  I told Dr. Herndon, the choice number one was a given choice number three was a given.  That the outcome was certain.  But that choice number two seem to have the least a chance.  So I said, I guess, any chance is better than none.

I have a tremendous amount of empathy for people in situations where they are faced with just minutes to make that kind of choice, for obvious reasons.  But all my life I've wondered.  With all I have learned about spirituality and religion.  I've wondered would if I had said, do nothing.

People look at me and they see so many things.  They see exactly what they think they want to see or what they believe they want to see.  Or perhaps what I do my best to allow them to see but only a very few actually really see me.  Which is okay, because it's really impossible for me to relate what those few minutes were like.  On June 1, 1968.  And yet there are millions and millions and millions of people in this world, past present and future who are in that exact same position every second.  Yet compared to the overall amount of people in this world, the amount of people who are in that exact same position as I was on June 1, 1968 is an incredibly small number because of the amount of people there are in the world.  So the amount of people who actually really understand what those few minutes were like.  Even though it is a very large number, relatively speaking.  It's also an incredibly small number.  So I always wonder.  I always wonder about that choice.  I always have.

So when it comes to making promises.  I'm not unlike anyone else in this world really not at least in that regard.  People make promises all the time and a lot of promises that people make.  They don't keep.  I've made promises to I could not keep.  And of course I've always wondered about that too.  And I've also wondered when I was not able to keep a promise, whether it was because of what was going on with me in my life because of all the junk I deal with, or whether it was simply expedient for ego oriented.  It would be easy, and probably expected, if I said, some of those that I did not keep were ego oriented.  That would be the expected answer, and it's probably the answer I have applied more times than not.  And yet when I stop and think about those few minutes on June 1, 1968.  I wonder.  I wonder about all the different choices all the different promises all the different times in my life where I've made promises to someone where I had to make those promises.  In just about the same time I had to make the decision or make that choice.  That I had to make on June 1, 1968.  And that believe it or not, is one of the many demons that has chased me all my life.  The demons I have never really been able to get free of.  The demons that steel into my dreams when I'm sleeping.  The demons that will sometimes cause nightmares which leaves me always wondering, what if I had said nothing.  What if I had said do nothing.  What then?

Silicate 62 is a huge part of me that fights with accepting my own age.  Because inside my mind, I don't feel like I'm 62.  It's just my body that feels that way.  But just like those few minutes back in 1968 when I was sitting there with Dr. Herndon.  I don't have the time, because I made promises and more importantly, I made promises to the most important person in my entire life.  I made promises to one of the most unbelievably courageous women I've ever known was there looking up into my eyes.  And there I was again.  No time.  I didn't have hours to go over and over in my mind about making whatever choice I would make.  And she didn't have very much time either.  She was slipping away.  The one person I loved more than anything else in this world was dying right in front.  And there was nothing I could do.  I didn't have anyone I could talk to.  I didn't have time to go to temple talk to a rabbi.  I didn't have time to get to a church and talk to a priest I would have relished the opportunity.  If I could've just sat down and talked to a priest or talk to my rabbi.  But there was no time, my beloved asked me questions.  Only this time, I couldn't do what I did in 1968 on June 1.  I couldn't break down into tears.  I had to be strong.  I had to find some kind of strength inside of myself to, I didn't even know existed, because her life depended on that.  So I made those choices, and I did so with the exact same deliberation and commitment that I did in 1968.  And I took them just as seriously.

It was in the movie.  There was no one around.  It was just the two of us.  Husband and wife.  Friend and friend.  And again, I don't even know how I was even able to talk to, but I had no choice.  And I didn't have any time.  And of all the times in my life.  That was one of the many times when I could feel God.  Right next to me

So as a result of that choice that I made in 1968 on June 1.  My life was completely and forever changed beyond anything I would ever be able to imagine.  The matter what.

These are things I have never told anyone except my darling Aileen.  No one.

So, indeed years now in this house our home.  I feel my darling all around me and hear me all the time.  And I feel God all around me as well.  And it's an entirely new sense of spirituality that I have never known before.

People look at me in a think they see everything that they know all about me that they have me figured out.  And they come up with all sorts of ideas of what I am about like they see everything.  And yet most of the time they see nothing.  Because I've never talked about this with anyone.  Not a living soul except my darling Aileen.  And so I guess I'm like a lot of people.  When we look at each other and make all sorts of judgments and develop all sorts of notions about what we see thinking we are seeing everything when in fact.  Most of the time, we aren't seeing anything at all except what we want to see.

And so with all the conflict that goes on inside of me with the demons that chased me in the night.  I stumbled through my life constantly bumping into trees.  Only being able to get through by being able to acquiesce to constant change.  Because my life was changing every single second.  And it has never stopped, which I suppose is true about everyone's life to be fair that has to be true.  And yet the number of people who actually have been in my position, while an incredibly large number is also incredibly small.  So it has to be hard for a lot of people when they look at my life where they looked at me thinking they see everything to suddenly realize within their own minds that they have seen nothing.

Let's look at reality.  Think how hard it has been for me to talk about what I have so far today, many words I have had to use to describe what I have talked about.  Think I'm much trouble I have had to go through to try to explain as clearly as I could then ask yourselves.  If it doesn't make sense that I just didn't talk about it very much.  Why would I?  It would take too many words and take too much time to explain what I have just explained here.  And usually in one situation or another in my life, while I was working or stumbling through my life.  I never really had the time to be able to try and explain what I've talked about here.  Plus, this is really difficult stuff.  This isn't your run-of-the-mill considering which school to go to war which job offer to take.  It's not like that.  That's not the choice, I was given in 1968 on June 1.  And it sure the hell wasn't a choice I was given when my darling was looking up at me three days before she died.

So I'm sure that I appear a number of different ways to a number of different people.  I'm sure there are millions of explanations for how I am or what I am or how I up here or what I look like.  And yet most of those are completely inaccurate, because most of the views of me.  Don't even take into consideration that one single moment on June 1 in 1968 none of the views are hardly any of the views that anyone ever had of me took into consideration what those few minutes were like.  Just like hardly anyone really considers what it was like looking into my darling Aileen's eyes.  My true love my wife, my friend.  My other heart beat, seeing her die right in front of me with nothing I could do.  Not being allowed to really show how much pain.  I was feeling, because I had to be strong no matter what I had to be strong.  And it wasn't a multiple-choice question with my darling Aileen.  She asked me to do certain things.  She was my wife.  She was the other part of my heart.  The only answer I could even say or even put into words was yes.

And so I look at our world today and I see all this hatred.  And I see all of this ego driven, money grabbing really negative behavior.  Behavior that really decides so many futures choices that take hours and days and weeks and months and even years to finally arbitrate to a decision and what do we have.  We have ourselves at a point where we are trying to murder each other.  Because of our own misunderstanding and mistrust of each other.  And I'm absolutely amazed, because I've been in that situation.  So many times in my life with myself and other people were sometimes I only had seconds.  Or even just a few minutes, and I had to come up with an answer.  No arbitration no hours or months, no days or weeks.  I had to come up with an answer right, then.  So naturally I'm amazed when I see all of this arbitration going on all of this discussion all of the justification that all of the money grabbing and all of the selfishness of all of the ego and all of that negative behavior.  When most of the time in my life, I didn't really have very much chance to even think about that because I never had the time.  And when I did have the time.  It never made much sense, nothing made any sense after June 1, 1968.  The only thing that made sense was to always say yes.

So some people think I have all this hatred in me.  Some people think I'm really angry.  Some people think I am resentful.  None of that's true, those are all nothing more than visions that people see in their own minds of me in order to excuse within their own minds to make some kind of justification for what they see.  But without really ever seeing me.  Because if you see me if you really see me.  You at least get a glimpse of those few minutes in 1968.  Because it's there in my face since they are in my eyes.  It's there and how I want.  Just like all of that is there from three days during those few minutes.  When my darling Aileen and I were talking and she was asking me to do certain things.  The matter what and all I could say was yes.

So maybe I am, whatever anyone else might think.  But I don't believe that.  I can't.  Because of I do believe any of those things that I deny myself if I believe any of those things that I deny what Aileen and I were together.  What we were to each other by believe any of those things then I deny my own life.

So I continue on bumping into trees, chased by demons demons in my sleep comforted by God and my darling Aileen.  Because now I'm not alone as those demons chase me.  God is there and so was my darling Aileen and as those demons approach return and drive them off.

So something as small as a knee brace really has a lot more significance in my life than most people might understand.  Because it means I have a better chance of keeping those promises, which to my dying breath.  I will always keep your the matter what.

Because the reality of it all is that when you are really confronted with those seconds.  Those few minutes, with that kind of choice.  Instinctively, like we all have that common denominator within us.  The only word we come up with is always the same.  We say yes.

Thank you very much for listening.