OMGabe

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

Archive for the category “death”

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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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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Today’s Soundtrack

It’s the sound of samurai swords clashing.

It’s the sound of six-gun carrying, lone cowboys riding horseback across the Great Plains.

It’s the sound of space battles.

It’s the sound of star crossed lovers seized in their first or final kiss.

It’s Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov.

The word “epic” is thrown around and overused like an old beach towel, and therefore would almost devalue and diminish the sheer magnitude of this colossal, classical composition. But “epic” unquestionably is the only word which fully encompasses how this music feels.

It’s the goddamn sound of sun rays after a violent thunderstorm.

And, it’s tied for first with Brubeck’s Take Five as my dad’s favorite piece of music of all time.

I found his old Scheherazade CD this morning and slid it into the Saab’s stereo. With the convertible top down, I glided to the beach accompanied by a subtle breeze, roadside flowers, epic melodies and of course, epic memories.

“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

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Let My People Go

Looking for Jews, I scrolled through the contacts in my phone.

It was time, once again, for my annual “Happy Passover :)” text message.

I zipped through the A’s, B’s and C’s, but when I got to the D’s, my heart sunk into my guts and I nearly asphyxiated.

I saw “Dad”, and for the tiniest of micro-seconds, the impulse to text him shock-waved through my body as if he was sitting at the kitchen table reading the New York Times and eating a burnt bagel sliced into threes.

But reality kicked in and caught up with me towards the end of that quantum time wrinkle.

I breathed a solid breath and skipped ahead to the R’s to find my dad’s best friend.

If anyone knows what it’s like to miss my dad, it’s him. They were pals since the second grade.

We chatted back and forth a bit and it was, to say the least, really nice. He’s kind of like a conduit for me. And I have to level with you, tears are now on my cheeks as I type this.

He wished me a Happy Passover and I resumed my messaging in alphabetic order.

For those of you who don’t know, or need a refresher course, the holiday is called Passover because the Angel Of Death passed over the Jewish homes when carrying out the tenth plague.

But I got news for you, he’ll be back. For all of us.

I’ll try to live as kindly, forgivingly, gratefully, gracefully, lovingly and thoroughly until it’s my turn.

Maybe you can try as well.

We owe it to our loved ones, lost and current, and we owe it to ourselves.

thank you as always,
gb

www.LiveLikeAFruitFly.com

www.WhereIsGodWhenOurLovedOnesGetSick.com

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Returning To The Lion’s Den

The elevator doors opened on the eighth floor of the NYU Medical Center – the Labor & Delivery floor.

People were hugging. Shaking hands. Wiping away happy tears. A brand new baby was brought into this world of ours.

Like a hummingbird sucking the nectar from a flower in full bloom, I absorbed as much of this lovely snapshot as I could before the doors closed and we continued our descent to the lobby.

I breathed and smiled.

It was exactly what I needed.

Exactly.

A minute before, I was deep inside my reoccurring nightmare of the twelfth floor.

It’s where my dad almost died three years ago in an acute care unit (before he actually died a few months later).

My friend is recovering from surgery, quite beautifully, in the adjacent room and I trekked into the city for a visit.

I hope that perfect new baby never has to see what I saw. Or feel what I still feel.

I wish, just about more thank anything, the same for you.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may…

love and gratitude,
gabe

www.WhereIsGodWhenOurLovedOnesGetSick.com

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Pulling The Strings

I became aware of how unaware I can be when I noticed a spoonful of smoldering oatmeal in front of my face this morning.

There it was, almost levitating, completely catching me off guard.

And there I was, blowing on it, attempting to cool it off. My arm, hand and mouth, completely on autopilot.

How was this happening?

Appropriately enough, I was in the middle of reading a book by Sam Harris entitled Free Will.

He doesn’t think we have any. And that’s just stupid, right?

I pulled the book off of the shelf at the bookstore, just to see how stupid this best selling author really is, and I swear, he had me flipped by the second page.

Of course we can choose between the choices in our head, but where do those choices even originate from? Neurochemistry? The Universe? God? All of the above? None of the above?

And what about this: I didn’t even intend to look at this book. As I was walking through the philosophy section, I noticed my shoe was untied so I bent down to remedy the situation. As I stood up, I noticed Sam Harris’ book and here we are.

Was it all coincidence? Serendipity? Divine intervention or dumb luck?

I stopped thinking about all of this when my mom walked into the kitchen to show me the cranberry colored sun hat she just brought home from Marshalls.

“Daddy would have loved it,” I said.

“He really liked me in hats,” she answered.

And then she went to her room. Maybe she continued to think about him. Maybe she returned to la-la land.

By the way, if you’re assuming I’m going to somehow tie all of this together by the end of this piece, I’ve got news for you kiddo, it’s probably not going to happen. I’m just writing this right now because I know I have to. It’s the choice I’m making between the choices of not doing so and doing so. So, if you want to stop reading right this second, be my guest. It’s a safe bet that you’re not going to miss anything good.

Without knowing I was going to write about it today, I posted this Shakespeare quote on Facebook yesterday:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts…”

Is it possible that each of us, composed of 100 trillion cells, exists just so the Universe can express itself in the most mysterious of ways?

Yes.

Not only is it possible, I think it’s highly probable.

And if that’s the case, all I can say is this: I’m goddamn grateful I’m me.

I’m goddamn grateful I’m me and not the lunatic I was talking to the other day at Starbucks. He’s a nice enough guy, not at all malicious, but relentlessly repetitive and it takes an amazing amount of willpower not to cut him off and say, “Dude, c’mon man. Give it a rest. I’m just trying to sit here, listen to a little music and enjoy my coffee.”

But I force myself to remember that, unlike you and me, his head isn’t going to give him a choice between shutting the fuck up and not shutting the fuck up. Apparently, like it or not, it’s verbal Pompeii.

Doesn’t it seem like the universe has a mind of it’s own?

This morning, after talking about the hat, my mom came back into the kitchen to tell me about her friend who needs surgery. His eyelashes, out of nowhere, have decided to point backwards and are now growing into his eyes.

Later in the day, as I was sauntering along the Long Beach boardwalk, I stopped to watch hotel employees setting up chairs on the beach for a wedding. And, at the exact same moment, somewhere in Michigan, my friend was at her best friend’s house, because her best friend’s brother hung himself this morning.

Maybe the choices everyone was given in all of these scenarios, and the choices made from those choices, lead to their outcomes. 



Who the hell knows really. 


I’m just grateful I always have the choice to be kind and I am grateful that I usually choose kindness over anything else.

Maybe the choice of constant kindness hasn’t been available to you.

Until now.

And now that it has, what are you going to do with it?

If you’re still here reading, thank you. The universe thanks you.

Together, we shall see how it all unfolds next.

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

www.LiveLikeAFruitFly.com

www.WeightLossCoffeeMiracle.com

www.WhereIsGodWhenOurLovedOnesGetSick.com

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June 14 2014

As of twenty-three minutes ago, my dad would have been seventy-two years old.

If he was still around, I’d probably open my eyes widely in his direction and instigate a bit with, “Seventy-two, huh?”

But per usual, he wouldn’t take the bait. He’d just smile and shake his head at me.

“It’s better than the alternative,” was his famous line when people complained about getting older on their birthdays.

A few nights ago, I watched up to the part when Michael confronts Apollonia’s father in GF1 (the original Godfather). Alone in the dark, I cried until I was out of tears.

Like most father and son teams, this was our movie. If we found it on TV while clicking through the channels, control of the remote control would be relinquished and it would remain untouched until the closing credits.

And now here I sit at the kitchen table, in his seat, listening to his favorite song Take Five by Dave Brubeck, in efforts to somehow…I don’t know…invoke the spirits maybe to give me a meaningful message.

But the truth is, the spirits revealed their message before I even knew to ask them to tonight.

While mindlessly making a cup of tea before starting to write, I noticed these words printed on the tab of the teabag: The purpose of life is to enjoy every moment.

The purpose
of life
is to enjoy
every moment.

I think I can feel my dad agreeing from the other side.

With that said, remember to be loving to your loved ones. Even if they make it really hard for you to do so.

They sometimes leave you faster than you’d ever imagine.

Happy Birthday Dad.

I love you and miss you immeasurably.

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…to get to the other side

I saw a frog in the street as I was getting in the car to drive my nephews to their little league game.

He stayed motionless for a moment, but then hopped a pathetic hop.

His back left leg looked a little mangled and it dragged on the asphalt as he attempted to move forward.

It broke my heart.

It broke my heart and I’ve been thinking about that little guy all day.

I wish I could have taken away his suffering.

I wish I could take away all suffering.

But penguins continue to freeze their little asses off, tigers eat baby dear, frogs hurt their legs on the backstreets of Long Island and sons lose their dads to brain cancer.

For now, this is how the universe is unfolding. And all we can do in its wake is alleviate suffering when we can, do our damndest not to add to suffering, and follow our passions profusely.

“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

www.LiveLikeAFruitFly.com

www.WeightLossCoffeeMiracle.com

www.WhereIsGodWhenOurLovedOnesGetSick.com

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Consider The Roses

I drove by a funeral today.

Forty or so people were crowded around a tombstone with their heads down.

I was driving my mom’s convertible, blasting the Oceans 13 soundtrack, and until a moment before, smiling my ass off.

If I were one of the mourners seeing me drive by with the top down and music blasting, I’d probably think, “Jeez, look at that guy. I hope he knows how good he’s got it right now.”

Trust me man, I do. I’ve been exactly where you are.

So, dear reader, do you know how good you’ve got it right now?

I hope so.

Maybe this is a good time to take inventory of your prevailing thoughts.

Because, as much as I hope this doesn’t happen, you might one day find yourself praying for the “problems” you may now have.

In other words, if you have time to stop and smell the roses, do so.

Rip mirrors off the walls, chop the red petals into dust with a razor blade, and snort the fine, flowery lines with a rolled up C-note.

There really isn’t time for anything else and this is the youngest you’ll ever be.

This. Is. The. Youngest. You’ll. Ever. Be

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

www.LiveLikeAFruitFly.com

www.WeightLossCoffeeMiracle.com

www.WhereIsGodWhenOurLovedOnesGetSick.com

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