Time for Harry

My therapist died one week after I finished my book. Demoralizing is not the word. Harry died on Tuesday morning right in the middle of the session. Thank goodness, it was not my session.

This was a horrible time for Harry to die, right before the holiday season, just when I finished my book. Harry had some horrible muscle eating disease, his entire life was painful. It was a horrible way to die, especially if you happened to be the client who witnessed his last struggling breath.

Devastating is not the word.

My head was always full of ideas -- one idea was that I would carry on, pretend Harry was still alive, grab life like a bullet – act the heroine – the reality pathetic, illusionary nonsense. Like picking up broken burning candles dripping hot wax, the pieces slipping through your fingers -- there is never a good grasp.

This happened during the nightmare tour, when my mind fell off the stage for a while. I went to visit Harry and he fixed me… told me it was okay to be me… told me it was okay to be free…. for to be free is to find out exactly who you were meant to be……one good story… just one…


There was this moment.... right before her mind let go…… before the cerebral meltdown… when she could not see the patterns and the colors did not matter. Shapes in front of her eyes were difficult to discern and were in fact, different in appearance than yesterday. It was impossible to reconcile the moment. There was this dualism of seeing the before and the after at the same moment simultaneously, without any loyalty to the past or the present.

There was this stretch in time as her mind let go….. this keen vision of awareness pulling back from the picture right in front of her. Reality became that she could not leave the picture or she would leave it at a moment’s notice. This was empowering and unnerving……. hallucinatory and bewildering. She told all this to her shrink Harry…. that perhaps she should stay and visit her life for awhile.

She was powerless to shed light on her own situation and that is why she talked to Harry. Together, they simply watched her life unfold. Alternative days she would prevail, then falter…. sometimes she would stumble…… slightly then tumble down the volcanic spiral cliff.

She felt the need to overcome this crazy disease that had attacked her mind – her private subterranean refuge robbing her soul of hope. She felt alone, she felt completely abandoned. She wanted to end her life.

She needed to escape the collapse of her brain.


When the crash came – down went the brain in mindless shuffle, an invisible dance. There was no way to revisit her life. There was in fact, no life to resurrect – the pieces did not fit anymore. There were no memories to remember, no place to revisit – she was not just one person anymore – she was now three people - the person trying to catch up with her life, the person living a life of fantastic moments; and the person wanting to run away from it all.

The pleasure of living had escaped her soul.

She could not place the pictures in her mind with the life that surrounded her soul. She could only think in photographs. The photographs on her walls vibrated within her mind as the interpreter of time and places, circumstances – though she felt no connection to her life, past or present – only the photographs could jar her memory, evoke strong feelings. So every person became a photograph.

What a pleasure, every person becomes a photograph.


The hospital looked clean enough but she would not take a shower…. and not because the bathrooms were dirty. There was just no privacy – the nurses would not leave her alone. She could not be trusted alone with a bar of soap, hospital policy. As a writer this was the ultimate insult – not to have privacy. She had spent her whole life trying to create a guarded world, a book now and then to sell. Now she could not be trusted alone with a bar of soap. Hospital Death March (no music).

She had to recreate herself because her story was gone – lost in the brain shuffle was the meaning of her life, her writer story. In that moment –the moment of the crash, she evaporated – gone with mindless thoughts, numbing nervous television chatter – ranting newspaper articles that appeared as hieroglyphics to read and reread but not to comprehend. She became a lost soul.

She was now a ghost who lived an empty zen to zen, moment to moment life. Feng Shei mysteries of life became apparent – life was an empty shell – our job is to fill up the shell during life the best that we can, simply giving it our best. Holy Guacomole!


Harry was dying... every moment he was dying and of course he was aware of it. We use to step outside to the second floor deck and find a safe place to stand on the precarious wooden deck beneath our feet. We would share cigarettes blowing smoke rings into the wind. In silence, we would blow our smoke rings and look at the bare thin branches of decrepit trees lacking in leaves. Barely, we spoke. When we did it was always heavy, philosophic, socratic.

Harry puffs smoke rings into the air. Make sure you reveal your soul. Your soul, your truth is what you have to offer to the world, nothing else matters. We smoked and smoked.. my head started to roll from all the smoke.

Harry, doesn’t smoking make it worse?

It doesn’t matter, it will happen when it happens.

Do you have any regrets?

That I don’t have more time.

You want to live more with your pain?

Always, everyday, every moment, every breath.

Silent, silent moments.

Don’t waste it, don’t waste one fucking moment.

Then we finished our cigarettes and headed back in for our session. Me to ponder my future, Harry to ponder his almost finished life.