OMGabe

by Gabe Berman – the author of Live Like a Fruit Fly

Archive for the category “cancer”

GOD IS GOOD?

Is God good?

Well, I found a blue, LIVESTRONG type bracelet saying GOD IS GOOD lying lost, or maybe flung to the floor, of a handicapped parking space.

This sums up, and maybe for some, even answers the question.

Maybe God isn’t good. Or isn’t bad.

Maybe, God just is.

Or then again, isn’t.

Who’s to know?

-gb

www.WinTheWarWithYourMind.com

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Download Life’s New Update

The crazy thing is, my mom wouldn’t have had the good time she had today if my dad didn’t die from brain cancer a few years ago.

How’s that for an opening sentence?

Got your attention now, don’t I, you squirrelly bastards…

Anyway…

I just got off the phone with my mom. She played golf somewhere on Long Island today.

She played awfully, since she’s a rookie, but had a lovely day laughing with the ladies she recently met at the gym.

It’s crazy because there’s no way in hell, or even in heaven, today would have unfolded the way it did for my mom if my dad was still around.

They would have been at the beach. Or taking a drive somewhere. Or just sitting around the house together.

And I’m certainly not saying she’s happier to have the opportunity to play with friends and go on little adventures by herself. Neither of us are.

We’re both just relieved that she’s recovered.

Re-blossomed.

Smiling again.

Ahhhh to get chocked up in Starbucks while I write to you, dear reader. Something I’ve grown accustomed to.

So, I said supportively to my mom, “That’s so great that you had fun today.”

To which she said, “Well, I’m making it happen. I’m taking control.”

My God I love when marionettes say this. It’s just about my fav. But that’s a discussion for another time.

For now, “my” strings are being pulled to have this come from these keystrokes: I hate how hard it is to just exist sometimes. Hate. None of us asked to be here. But with that, my love for love
is infinitely more powerful. And I didn’t ask for that either, but I’m so goddamn grateful my cells and soul are arranged this way. And I’ve got more than enough to share with you. So please, in this moment, take a breath with me.

In exchange, all I ask from you is this – the next time you have a choice between kindness and selfishness, please choose kindness.

Because kindness is selflessness.

And selflessness is the operating system of this universe.

Like it or not.

– gabe

Win The War With Your Mind

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So many caring people. It’s the reason for suffering. To give others the opportunity to care.

“So many caring people. It’s the reason for suffering. To give others the opportunity to care.”

Normally, I would have ended a post with a line like that, but this one is just too damn significant and too damn beautiful for anything less than top billing.

And now, with that, I don’t even feel like explaining it’s origin anymore.

So, I won’t.

I’ll just say it again, and pray that it marinates in the minds of those who may see this.

Truth or not, it’s a lovely perspective on this often unfortunate life of ours.

“So many caring people. It’s the reason for suffering. To give others the opportunity to care.”

love/thanks,
gabe

explanation – please, please click and give if/what you can:
https://www.gofundme.com/alifeboat4eric

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Can We Handle The Truth?

In thirty-nine minutes, it’s my dad’s birthday.

Harold Berman.

He would have been seventy-four.

If he hadn’t gotten sick, I’d probably be in Florida right now. And I’d call him tomorrow, like nine hundred times, to wish him happy birthday.

But I flew back to New York the day he was diagnosed. And here I remain. For now.

I still hear him in the back of my head. As clear as ever. Behind my ears. As I always have.

Not in words exactly, but in silent feelings. I can feel his feelings. And they guide me through decisions and situations. Although, obviously and unfortunately, I can’t call him after the fact anymore.

And I hate that.

Hate.

When I was young my dad told me I shouldn’t use the word “hate” because it’s too strong of a word.

Well dad, I really mean it this time.

More so than I ever.

Because all I can do is sit here, listening to Brubeck – your favorite, while writing to a few good people who are now reading these words.

So what would you like me to pass on to them?

You’d often say there are three sides to every story – my side, your side and the right side. The truth.

So, what’s the truth here?

It feels like, behind my ear, the truth is that only love is real.

But maybe that’s good-ol-fashion bullshit.

Because the fear, and greed, and evil in this world, sure as hell seems just as real.

Wait.

Ahh, I got it.

I can hear you more clearly now dad.

Love might not be the only thing that’s real, but it’s certainly the only thing that matters.

And I love you.

Beyond.

And miss you.

Excruciatingly so.

And I love you too, dear readers, for being here with me in this moment.

I’m truly grateful for you – and that’s the truth as well,
gb

Happy Birthday Dad.

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The Long Island Medium

Unequivocally, I received a message from my dad tonight.

Some people will chalk this up to coincidence or randomness and I have to tell you, I have as much concern about that as I do for the dreams of mosquitos.

I was going to meet a friend at the diner to have one of our late night chats about life but she had to cancel at the last minute because her friend was going into labor and didn’t want to be alone in the hospital.

So, I stretched out on the couch and switched on the TV.

I clicked around until I found thirty minutes left of Apocolypto.

And although I wasn’t in the mood for the violence and stress of it, I tossed the remote to the side and watched until the closing credits.

I did it for my dad.

He loved this movie so much.

It was his cinematic crack pipe – he couldn’t put it down once it was in front of him. Regardless if my mom rushed out of the room frustratedly saying, “Harold, how many times are you going to watch this?”

She hated the violence and stress of it.

And since I decided to keep it on for my dad, I secretly hoped in my heart for a serendipitous message to reveal itself because, between you and I, I was suffering from an unspecific uneasiness underneath my skin.

But I got jipped.

No wisdom. No insights. No nothing, aside from Mel Gibson’s shmucky name staining the screen.

But as destiny and/or fate would have it, the movie started over again and since Apocolypto is one of those flicks you’d normally only catch from the middle, I let it roll.

And then, within the first few minutes, a message from the heavens was revealed in the lines of dialogue between the village elder Flint Sky and his son Jaguar Paw.

– Flint Sky: Those people in the forest, what did you see on them?

– Jaguar Paw: I do not understand.

– Flint Sky: Fear. Deep rotting fear. They were infected by it. Did you see? Fear is a sickness. It will crawl into the soul of anyone who engages it. It has tainted your peace already. I did not raise you to see you live with fear. Strike it from your heart. Do not bring it into our village.

That was my dad talking to me. Right there.

I shut off the TV and here I am writing to you now, with a few tears in my eyes.

Fear, I’m going to conquer it.

I owe it to myself.

I owe to others.

I’m already almost there.

love/thanks and fearlessness,
gb

Love Looks Like This

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No Sleep Till…

My dad would have known in two seconds.

In less than that.

But my mom wasn’t exactly sure.

“Hey, where in Brooklyn is that?” I asked.

We watched the movie Brooklyn tonight and she didn’t know where this one specific scene was shot.

My dad would have said something like, “That’s the corner of so-and-so and so-and-so. I once worked three blocks away from there. And you see that car? It’s a ’49 Pontiac. My father had one.”

I’m truly grateful to have the opportunity to spend so much time with my mom, but I really missed him being around tonight. More so than usual.

I miss, so much, seeing them on the couch together.

And me, being me, knew full well it wouldn’t last like that forever so I took rolls and rolls of mental photos of my parents falling asleep on each other’s shoulders. It’s just that I was hoping to keep those photo books in storage for as long as possible.

But as my dad was fond of quoting, “The best laid plans…”

And listen, I know I’ve been writing about my dad being dead for a few years already. But if you haven’t experienced losing a loved one in such a horrible way, I’m simultaneously envious and relieved for you. But let me just say this – there’s no getting adjusted to it. It’s awful. Always.

I mean, of course I smile and make people laugh and I enjoy existing for the most part, but his absence on the couch is still as shocking as wet sponges hooked up to a car battery.

I’m teary as I type this and got teary earlier when I couldn’t watch him watch the movie.

But these weren’t the only two times I cried tonight.

I also lost it a little when I saw Tony look at Eilis in Brooklyn. He fell in love with her, deeply, before he was even conscious of it and it was portrayed so perfectly and delicately and beautifully.

I’ve been in love like that and it’s the goddamn greatest ever, but that wasn’t what pushed tears through my tear ducts.

I cried because I’ve loved like that. And I’m in love like that, everyday. Incessantly. With just about everything beautiful. And that made me cry when I realized, for the first time really, that’s all I have.

That’s all I have.

Love.

That’s all I got to offer. And I know, thoroughly, down to my bone marrow, that it will never, ever be enough in this world.

And that’s sad.

It’s just so sad for so many reasons.

But at least I know why I’m here. Finally.

So, if you’re reading this now, there’s a pretty good chance that I love you. Whoever you are. And if you’re thinking these are just words, think again.

Please.

thank you,
gb

Love Looks Like This

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Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian Are Fucking!


Bubby’s plants must have been thirsty.

It’s been weeks since they’ve been watered.

I was never alone in her place before and, at first, it was a bit unsettling.

Talking to her plants made me feel better pretty quickly though.

I told them not to worry. That I’d take care of them.

I watched her die and was the one to identify her body before it was lowered into the ground, but it was still shocking to me that she wasn’t there. Offering me non-vegetarian food I wouldn’t eat. Asking me, again, if I like All In The Family.

Her toothbrush is still in the bathroom. Her white sneakers are still lined up perfectly in the closest. The package of menthol cough drops I recently bought for her is still on the table next to the recliner – the chair which was once my Pop-pop’s.

I looked around a little more, locked up and left.

I thought about how she’d always walk me to the elevator. Sometimes she’d tell me about all of her friends who have died. But she’d always tell me she loved me as the elevator doors opened. I’d always hug her and say it back.

These sweet moments will forever eclipse, easily, how disappointed she was with me.

I know she couldn’t help it. Nobody can.
It’s okay though.

I know I’m enough.

And regardless of how anyone feels about you or has felt about you, or has made you feel about yourself, please trust me when I say that you’re enough as well.

I swear to god you are.

And I know these are just words on a page, but I hope at some point they really resonate with you. Resonate and then soak deep into your cells and soul.

Because…

You

Are

Enough.

And before anyone jumps down my throat for telling people they shouldn’t try to be better, I assure you I’m not saying that. 

What I’m saying, which should be obvious, is that you don’t exist to prove yourself to anyone. You’re here, regardless of whatever the fuck anyone says, to witness the good in the the world and to add to it as often as you can. The end.

Because our toothbrushes and cough drops and plants and the rest of our stuff will outlive us and none of that shit will matter anymore.

But maybe people will talk about how loving you were. And that certainly doesn’t suck.

Anyway, I got outside and there was a spoon on the floor near my car.

Which is just perfect.

“There is no spoon…” – Neo

thank you all for your sympathy and your love and your time – I am truly grateful,
gb

P.S. I’m sorry about the title. But just a little. Maybe it got someone to read it who needed to.

buy my goddamn books here:
www.LiveLikeAFruitFly.com

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Bye Bye Bubby

My mom is in the den watching The Martian with her boyfriend.

From the kitchen I can hear David Bowie’s “Starman” pulsing from the TV’s speakers.

Poor Ziggy Stardust.

One day you’re healthy, as right as rain.

Then you feel a lump.

And then you’re dead.

Hopefully you were loved.

Hopefully you loved.

I was thinking exactly this as I held my grandma’s hand as she passed away the other day.

“I love you” was my calm, inner mantra. I repeated it to myself, but for her, as I felt her slip away.

What wrecks me the most about this is how easy it was.

How easy it was for me to just be there for her without dwelling in my own, awful sadness.

I hate that it was easy.

Hate.

And it’s not because she was ninety-four and lived tip-top for ninety-three and a half years. Although, that certainly didn’t hurt.

It was easy because I was face to face with my dad as he breathed in for the last time and watching my grandma die, in comparison, was like buying a snow cone from the ice cream man.

At the cemetery, on a brutally cold day, her pine wood coffin was lowered into the frozen ground and I thought to myself, “And there also goes all of the worthless worry about worthlessness.”

But it wasn’t her fault. She literally couldn’t help it.

Like mostly everyone else, she was operating on autopilot.

I hope more joy and less turbulence unfolds for me before it’s my turn.

And I hope the same for you.

thank you, as always, for joining me here, and please, resist being like everyone else,
gb

buy my goddamn books here:
www.LiveLikeAFruitFly.com

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How I Wish You Were Here

Just giving you a heads up, this isn’t going to be worth reading.

And yes, I know that sounds like a ploy to actually get you to read, but I swear it’s not.

It’s just something I know I need to write, so I’m going to. But it’s not going to be good. I really have nothing of value to say to anyone right now.

I’m just sitting here. On the couch. In the dark. Watching Good Will Hunting. With tears in my eyes.

A perfect movie. Which I won’t do a disservice to by talking about.

It’s just perfect, that’s all.

Especially tonight.

At the end of this day.

Three years exactly since I stood over my dad and watched him take his last breath.

I miss him so much.

Also, coincidentally, today is the day that I found out that I’m not sick.

I had a bit of a health scare but like I said, I’m good.

Before I was wheeled in for the endoscopy, a few days after the esophagram I had to have, I thought about the time in college I had surgery on my right arm after breaking it rollerblading.
I dreamt of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were during the operation. At least, I thought I was dreaming about it. In reality, I was waking up from the anesthesia and the doctors were listening to it in the operating room.

And check this out, a moment before they induced me into to la la land today, I noticed a framed photo of the moon on the wall. The caption read: The dark side of the mood?

More evidence pointing to how the universe is intricately connected and more proof that every “coincidence” is a reminder of that connection. Winks from an ineffable intelligence.

And, just maybe, a wink from my dad. Letting me know it’s all going to be okay.

Which, I’m so grateful to say, it was. Is.

love/thanks,
gb

“Just do what’s in your heart son, you’ll be fine.” – Sean Maguire to Will Hunting. And just maybe, another wink from my dad to me. I’ll choose to believe it was.

www.LiveLikeAFruitFly.com

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Tramps Like Us

“Love me tonight for I may never see you again.”

In my teens, when I heard Springsteen sing this line, it sounded to me like he was pleading with a girl to let go of all future expectations so they can intertwine in the moment as young lovers do.

But while shaving this morning, and listening to this old tune for the first time in many years, I processed it differently.

Not necessarily in a more mature way, but maybe through evolved senses.

I put The Boss on because I was on the phone with a good friend whose son is a cancer survivor and she said a few final words, rather intentionally, right out his lyrics.

She wants to shave her head to raise awareness, which is a noble gesture, but unfortunately, we’re already aware.

All you have to do is listen to live ‘E Street Band’ introductions from back in the day.

“On the organ, ‘Phantom’ Dan Federici.”

Dan’s dead.

Melanoma.

“Do I have to say his name? Do I have to speak his name? The Big Man, Clarence Clemons.”

Clarence is dead.

Stroke.

And someone, in just about every family everywhere, is suffering from something as you read these words.

So, if we still have our hair, lets allow it to blow in the wind as long as we can.

Instead, lets be more loving to our loved ones in the moments we have with them.

Obviously, that’s obvious.

But what’s not so obvious, is that moment with them, which sometimes turns out to be the last moment.

With that said, I don’t think Bruce was just trying to get laid.

I think he was letting the listener in on a secret that we already know but refuse to process.

“Love me tonight for I may never see you again.”

And he ends the song with the heartfelt,
“Oh, love me tonight and I promise I’ll love you forever.”

I’ve heard that lyric thousands of times since my first experience with it in 1985.

But today it permeated my soul and caused my tear ducts to open up and overflow because it resonated automatically as the highest truth.

thank you for being with me in this moment,
gb

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