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

Archive for the category “cure”

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.


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.


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.


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,

Happy Birthday Dad.


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.


“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.


Before I Blow Out The Candles

True love can be vicious.

And true love can be violent.

And just a few years ago, I had no choice but to become the most uninhibited, unconditional expression of viciously violent love.

My dad decided to stop eating.

He wanted to die.

Because, he was dying.

But since we’ve all heard of cancer patients who’ve experienced spontaneous remissions, I sure as hell wasn’t going to let him squander a chance for a miracle.

Even if it was only a one in a million shot.

Or billion.

Of course I understood why he was giving up, and the truth is, I may have done the same.

Then why did I disallow it?

Because he would have done the same for me.

We had each other’s back. Until death do us part. And no one, not even him, was going to talk me out of leaving my wingman.

He was an extremely strong willed man and was used to being in control and getting his way.

No friend or family member could convince him to take even a bite of anything. From a hospital bed, with very limited ability to move, he was certainly still in control.

I asked him kindly to please eat.

He refused.

I asked him again, but this time, to just do it for me.

He still refused.

Vicious, violent love was our only option.

I lunged at his chest and grabbed the lapels of his bathrobe like I was about to destroy a guy in a bar fight.

With one explosive hoist, I lifted his upper body off of the bed so we were eye to eye with me barely hinging at the hips.

With a controlled raised voice I said, “You’re going to eat. And you’re going to do it. Now. And I swear to God if you don’t, I’ll fucking throw you to the floor and if anyone tries to help you, regardless who they are, they’ll end up in this rehab center.”

He tried to say something but I talked right over him.

“This isn’t a debate. You’re eating.”

We just looked at each other and breathed for a moment in silence.

He knew this wasn’t a toothless threat and he nodded in agreeance.

I let go of his robe and his head smacked against the pillow.

I should have been more gentle about, but like Elvis, my gentleness had left the building and my heart was pumping with the toughest of love.

However, within a second, he was feeding himself applesauce.

And before I went home for my daily two hours of sleep, I rested my head on his chest and have him a good hug.

I told him I loved him, and that I was sorry.

He kissed the top of my head.

I cried all the way to the car.

And now I’m going to tell you something that I’m really not supposed to: the birthday wish I’ve been making every year since.

Right before I blow out the candles, I close my eyes and wish that I never, ever have to be that way again. And I wish no one will ever have to be that way for me. And I wish the same for you. Yes you, the reader of these words. I wish you never have to experience this. I swear I do.


P.S. This isn’t a debate were his words. I heard them often as a kid when I unsuccessfully tried to talk my way out of situations. I can thankfully smile about

 it now.


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.


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

Clarence is dead.


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,


A Love Letter

Dear Reader,

I love you.

Yes, you.

The person reading these words right now.

I don’t care if you’re male or female, old or young, straight or gay, white or black, yin or yang, I love you.

Really, I do.

I am so in love with your essence, just thinking about it simultaneously wrecks and rebuilds me.

What do I mean by your essence?

It’s that mysterious force which animates all of life. It flows with such gentleness. Such grace. And yet, such power.

And, in this moment, it’s all I sense in you. Because it’s being sensed with the exact awareness created by the same mysterious, all pervasive force.

But let’s not get anchored with concepts.

Please just know, down to your bones and beyond, you are loved.

Right now, regardless of how you feel or what you’ve been told, you are loved.

Unconditionally. Unequivocally. Unrelentingly.

Underneath all of your feelings, emotions, thoughts, reactions and judgments, you are loved like a mother loves her child. Like a poet loves his poems. Like sunbeams love flowers.

No questions, exceptions or expectations.

Please allow yourself to allow me this.

Although, I will love you anyway.

Every way.

Thank you,


WARNING: F-bomb Dropped Below

If you want to cover me in an avalanche of an anxiety, tell me the summer is ending before it actually is.

And like clockwork, my goddamn grandma has been spewing this rhetoric since mid June.

“Why isn’t my air conditioning working well? Did you touch the buttons?” she accusatorially asks.

“Maybe because all your windows are wide open and the entire sweltering universe is now in your apartment,” I say as innocently as I can.

“It’s probably broken. It doesn’t matter, the summer is almost over,” she relents.

My grandma is proof that those new-agey people are full of shit when they say that your life is a product of your thoughts. Because she’s the most negative person in the tri-state area and if that crap were true, she’d be toast a long time ago.

But she’s ninety-three and still going strong. With her cigarettes, garlic breath and guilt.

On the way to see her today, where I invariably had to explain why I’m a vegetarian for the billionth time, I saw kids on the side of the street selling lemonade.

I pulled over for a quickie down the hatch.

They weren’t charging anything but instead were accepting donations to help fight a horrible childhood disease that took two young kids in their family.

I gave them a couple of bucks and then to make them laugh I said, “Do you guys have any pizza to wash this lemonade down with?”

I really just don’t get how people choose to be negative. About anything. Ever.

And I’m not talking about being happy, because happy is hard when you have deep empathy for those who suffer. What I’m talking about is the incessant judgement, complaining and criticism which has become as commonplace in our culture as, I don’t know, cancer.

Perhaps that’s the link – bad vibes and cancer. But not individual bad vibes per se, but collective ones. And these bad vibes collect into invisible, condensed clouds and pass over each home like the biblical angel of death. And obviously, perhaps, some people are more vulnerable than others.

Which would explain why my grandma, who says stuff like, “It’s a sin to grow old,” has enough energy to fight in the UFC while those little redheads at the lemonade stand had to go to their cousin’s funerals.

Who knows if there’s a link or not, right?

All I know, for sure, is that the constant barrage of bad vibes isn’t helping anyone.

And there are plenty who need help.

So, if you’re lucky enough not to be one of those poor souls who need help, please, for the common good, shut the fuck up already with your negativity.

“Am I bugging you? I don’t mean to bug you, but I’m bugged.” – Bono

In Live Like a Fruit Fly, Gabe Berman shares his recipe for living a more joyful, worthwhile, and abundant life in every way. A witty, entertaining, and insightful read.” — Deepak Chopra, Author, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

And The Killer Is…

Dhani Harrison said his father, George, rarely gave him advice.

“The only two things he felt I had to do in my life were be happy and meditate,” he once told Rolling Stone.

I quoted this to a friend of mine the other day because she was feeling uninspired and directionless.

I then said, “You’re healthy, your family is healthy, you have have money in the bank, why don’t you just allow yourself to sit there in Starbucks and chill.”

She knew this. Of course she knew this.

But she got caught up in comparison. She felt discouraged with just “being” while watching all of the busy people “doing”. They were rushing around, coming and going, typing with intention on their laptops, and seemingly, living lives with some sort of purpose.

And I’m sure she looked through Facebook with all of those pictures of perfect, happy people with their perfect, healthy meals and thought, “Jesus man! What the hell am I doing with myself?”

It’s not her fault to feel this way. And it’s not yours if you feel this way as well.

I know I sure do at times.

Our society is built on comparison. It fuels the machine. 

But comparison, when you’re trying to live a gentle, spiritual life, is the killer.

Do you hear that?

Comparison is the killer.

And what are we really comparing ourselves too? Usually, mere illusions.

A few weeks ago, I typed to an old friend on Facebook, “I’m so happy that you and your wife look so happy. And your kids are so cute. Good for you man, you deserve it.”

A few hours later he responded with, “Thanks so much. But do you really think we’re going to post pictures of us fighting?”

It’s all an illusion. Just a very convincing illusion.

If you must compare yourself to others, skip over the rats in the race. Look for the people who are simply sitting there. Sitting there with a slight smile and breathing just to breathe.

There’s a good chance these people aren’t always happy, because, as you know – life sometimes has a sick sense of humor. But they’ve obviously learned to enjoy the times when there’s nothing better to do than just enjoy the time.

The clock continues to click regardless.

In Live Like a Fruit Fly, Gabe Berman shares his recipe for living a more joyful, worthwhile, and abundant life in every way. A witty, entertaining, and insightful read.” — Deepak Chopra, Author, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success



Steve Jobs: Secrets of Life in 1 minute and 42 seconds:


Attempted Murder and a Death In The Family

“I’m holding a bottle of Fabreze,” my mom said in complete panic.

“Why? Does it smell musty?” I replied calmly.

In between laughter and passing out from fear she said, “No…I’ll try to spray it.”

This was part of our conversation last night. She called at around 11:30pm from her condo in Boca Raton because a gargantuan bug was taking a midnight stroll in her bathroom and she didn’t know what to do.

Not that I wished harm on the little guy, but my dad should have been there to kill it.

I still can’t believe he’s not.

Live like a fruit fly.


On The Way To The Super Bowl

I dropped my Chapstick while driving yesterday.

The little bastard rolled under the seat and since I’m not Stretch Armstrong, I couldn’t get my mitts on it.

Before going to my sister’s house today to watch the Super Bowl, I got down on my knees and attempted to fish out the balm. Not only did I find it, I found another.

It must have been my dad’s.

He probably dropped it years ago.

I just stared at it for awhile. Although I drive his car, wear his jacket and listen to his albums, I couldn’t bring myself to touch it.

And now here I am, pretending to watch a fucking football game.

What does it all mean?

Honestly, I’m sick of asking.

So I’m just going to sit here, try to smile, and have a slice of pizza for my dad.


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