On forgiveness

• Forgive and forget (American axiom)

• Forgive and remember (Irish expression)

• Irish Alzheimer’s: forgetting/forgiving everything but the grudges

It’s my memory. It’s not me. Me? I’m as nice as a piece of pie. But it’s my memory. My ma used to say that it would be the death of me, my memory. She said it was a curse to remember so much. Maybe it had something to do with being Irish. Or Russian. But I always knew when someone helped me, when they came on board and when they said ‘no.’ She said that I remembered what most people would try to forget. I shrugged it off as some ranting from the original ‘worry-wart.’ Sooner or later, it was the memory that almost did me in. Almost. Turns out that I wasn’t through with my earthly journey yet. And, in all fairness, I think there was something that I was supposed to do before I was called home. Both times the grim reaper came a-calling, he waited ‘til I was asleep. He’s like that. The original coward, that’s his edge, to get you in your sleep. But still, both times I told him to go scratch his behind but not in those exact words.

I did my damnedest to get my house in order; changed my lifestyle, changed my habits and I started loving life again. But, y’know, we’re all wired a specific way—some are hard-wired and there’s not much you can do to change that. I used to work 15 hours a day, I rather enjoyed it, and then I started writing 15 hours a day, again, because I enjoyed it. But that forgiveness thing—I just couldn’t get my arms around that one. I did forgive myself for beating myself up when someone slighted me (I was unable to do that before) but to forgive the offender, no, I couldn’t do that. That’s probably a shortcoming on my part, so if that’s the least that I have to apologize for, then so be it.

Each and every one of us (men AND women) has a set of rules that we must live by and each set of rules is as individual as the person who makes them his/her own. Not that these rules are carved in stone although we’d like to think that should be the case. No, we make rules that we have to live by and we expect that others are doing the same. In due course, we find out that it has only been us that have been living by our stringent rules that others [and these are in the majority] have neglected to put in place. To them, life has always been a picnic or a day at the beach—just one long volleyball game followed by beer and hot-dogs. Then and only then, do you get to take a long hard look at the paces that you have put yourself through.

To keep a tally sheet on those who have helped you and when and how takes an awful lot out of you. If they’re your friends, then they will help you without being asked. If they don’t, then you just picked a fair-weather friend and that’s no ones fault but your own. My grandma used to say if you lend a friend $50 and you never see him again, you got off cheap. And that forgiveness thing? Just let life take care of them. If they’ve been cutting any corners, life will eventually even out the score and believe you me, when life hits you, it’ll hit you like a train. Not that you’re wishing these people any ill-will, but what goes around, comes around. Let life do the rememberin’ then you can start with the forgettin’. At least, that’s how I see it. MLProko (2011) www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 5:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On Turning 60 And Keeping Promises

60? 60? 60!! This was never supposed to be. It was never written like this. Not 60.  When I was a kid, I thought that if I lived to be 17 that would be a big deal. When I hit 17, I figured that 19 was the mark that I was looking for. Growing up in a world of violence, I was raised to be violent and I was pretty good at it. Even though I took on guys that were bigger and stronger than me, I never backed down. If I got knocked down, I always got back up. I would beat opponents by the sheer fact that I wore them down. It would be a trait that would serve me well as I grew older. When I hit the 19 year mark I figured that 27 would be a ripe old age. And then, life threw me a curve ball and we had our first child a year later. Suddenly, everything changed. I was now responsible for not one, not two but three lives on planet Earth.

But, you know, we are all wired a specific way and it’s very hard to change that wiring.  I continued to move through life like a bull in a china shop. My ‘type A’ personality convinced me that it was the right thing to do, the detractors be damned! Through it all, we had a blast. And, I didn’t think twice about working hard or living hard, I figured that guys were supposed to do that. If I got myself into a jam, I knew that I could get out of it.

It had always worked before. But, sooner or later, you have to realize that one day you’re going to go to the well and come up empty. And then, Life came along and knocked me down and I had no way of getting up.

My wife had been hospitalized, couldn’t oxygenate her blood at one of the best hospitals in the country. An afternoon visit becomes overnight, then two days, then three. I know she’s dying and I can’t do anything for her. The years of neglecting my blood pressure had come to a head that night. I went to sleep presumably in good health and woke up paralyzed. In that four hour window, life as I knew it would never be the same. My wife, it turned out, would be fine. I, on the other hand, looked like I’d been hit by a bus. For the first time in my life, I would be completely dependent on others.

The years and years of getting back up off the pavement served me well for my therapy.  I became relentless because I knew that our daughter was going to get married and I wanted to walk her down the aisle. But the stroke had killed something inside of me—my ‘type A’ personality. And people would become almost sacred to me, their lives, their families, their stories. I couldn’t wait to meet new people, try new things, and on and on.

I had a second chance at life, but I had to take a trip to death’s door to figure it out. One of the lines that I kept repeating while I was in the hospital was ‘Life is good- there is much to be thankful for.’ It’s Yiddish but it makes sense in any dialect.

While I danced with our daughter at her wedding, I promised her that I would be around to dance at her children’s weddings. All this from a guy who never thought he’d live to be 19. I think I’ll stick around and see what’s around the next corner—it should be very interesting.

At least, that’s the way I see it. MLProko ©2010    www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 1:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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