OMGabe

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

Archive for the tag “death”

Live Like A Fruit Fly Epilogue

There’s a young kid on a boat sailing over from Russia.

That kid ends up being my grandfather.

My dad’s dad.

And I sometimes imagine him knowing, right there on that voyage, that his son would inevitably die, awfully, from brain cancer.

And from there I think about what the dead would tell us. If they could talk. Knowing what they know now.

They’d probably say something like, “Lighten the fuck up.”

Continuing with, “Try not to get tangled in situations which make your heart heavy. And don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. They have their own problems you’re just not aware of. And, with that, they’re assholes anyway. Listen up living people, your only responsibility while alive, is to truly live. Because it all ends so fast. Please, for us, truly live. Thank you.”

Easier than it sounds?

Maybe.

Or maybe we need a good old fashioned global intervention of reprioritizing.

Maybe this blog post was written just for you.

– gb

www.LiveLikeAFruitFly.com

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No Weep Till Brooklyn

I didn’t think I was going to be fine.

But then I knew I was going to be fine when I walked in.

And thankfully I was fine.

Until I wasn’t.

So, I left.

My mom, her boyfriend (which is still so bizarre to say), my dad’s best friend and his wife met for dinner at a Japanese restaurant. I knew they were going to be there so I stopped in to say a quick hello to my dad’s best friend, Davie, because I haven’t seen him since the funeral.

My dad’s funeral (which is still so biblically bizarre to say).

After pretending to be their waiter, I exchanged handshakes with the men and kisses on cheeks with the women.

We chatted innocuously for a bit before Davie said to me, “He’s the Harold I knew growing up. He looks exactly like him as a kid.”

He was referring to a photo my mom showed him of one of her grandsons (my nephew).

Harold is/was my dad’s name. And hearing his best friend since second grade say it, an atomic chain reaction of emotion spread through my soul like a neutron bomb.

I felt my dad behind Davie’s eyes

Hence, I had to get the fuck out of there before I started crying. There was no reason to add heaviness to their lighthearted dinner.

I reached over the table and kissed him on the cheek. He put his hand lovingly behind my head, as my dad would have, and kissed my cheek in return.

I never cried, even once I made outside to the safety of the parking lot, but I’m on the verge right now as I write this

Such is life. Such is death.

(Wait, does this piece just end curtly right here? With no tie-up or catharsis? C’mon man, what else would you like me to say? Of course I could easily say that you should make sure to love your loved ones while you still can. But that, like everything else, will either happen or it won’t. And with that, all I want you to know are these three things: 1. I appreciate you taking the time to read these words. Truly appreciate it. 2. I love you, whoever the hell you are. For real.
3. The reality we think is real, isn’t. So, take everything with a grain of salt. But you’ll only do that if you’re caused to. Noodle baked yet? It doesn’t matter. Just know that I love you. Yes, you, you dumb bastard. The person reading these words right now).

www.WinTheWarWithYourMind.com

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“Mr. Nobody”

“I’m not afraid of death. I’m afraid I haven’t been alive enough.”

I sat on the edge of my bed – totally petrified.

Not frightened, but silent and still, like stone. Mesmerized by that quote above.

I heard it at the end of a movie trailer I was watching on my phone just a moment before.

“I’m not afraid of death. I’m afraid I haven’t been alive enough.”

Those words landed in the center of the center of the bullseye so they didn’t even need to be thought about.

They just hung in the air in front of me like conspicuous Himalayan prayer flags.

But they evaporated in an instant when my eyes caught an unexpected sight in their periphery.

It was like a glitch in the Matrix.

A World War II bayonet rested beside my bed.

I felt neurons rushing to make their calculations.

Ah, yes.

My mom and sister were going through boxes of old stuff today and one of them must have left it there for me.

It was my dad’s.

He inherited from his dad who guarded Nazi prisoners with it.

They’re both dead now.

And now it’s mine.

I can’t speak for my grandfather (Abraham Berman) but when my dad (Harold Berman) got sick, he told me that he lived long enough and all he cared about at that point was his family not having to see him suffer.

How brave and beautiful and selfless.

It didn’t even occur to him to worry about suffering. His first thought, as always, was about my mom and my sister and me.

But he didn’t get his wish.

I was imprinted with his suffering. Tattooed permanently by it.

And at this point, I’m not afraid of dying either. I just hope that I (Gabriel Berman) will be alive enough to truly live.

And I hope the same for you.

with love and gratitude,
gb

If you haven’t read this yet, it’s time:
Live Like A Fruit Fly

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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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Abre Los Manos

Genetics, man.

Thank God for genetics.

Those little chromosomes deliver unexpected gifts at times.

Like today.

I went to Mollie’s house.

She’s ninety.

My bubbie’s little sister.

They have the same exact hands and I never realized that until today.

I mean, why would I?

But Bubbie has been dead since January and it’s nice to see her hands again.

So nice.

Mollie is sitting next to me as I write this and she’s reading my new book Love Looks Like This.

Although I make everyone else in my family buy it if they want to see it, I gave her my personal copy.

I really loved her as a kid, and of course I still do, so, she deserves it.

She read it twice from beginning to end and now she’s fixated on the front cover.

And get this, she just said, “Ohh! These long shadows. I see what you mean now. Love looks like this. Love is endless.”

That wasn’t my intended message when I designed the cover but nevertheless, she’s right.

Love is endless.

(And so are post-Passover matzah crumbs)

Love Looks Like This

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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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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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It Doesn’t Matter

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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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“I Will Make You Fishers Of Men”

Forty-two years ago today, my dad woke up and decided to go fishing.

My mom said, “I don’t think so.”

They went to the hospital instead and came home with me.

And just a few years later, he took me fishing.

And to soccer games. And to car shows and to boat shows and to pizza places. And when my sister’s kids were born, more pizza places.

We fought too. A lot.

I miss him a little bit more today than I usually do.

It’s bizarrely warm out now for the middle of October, so my mom and I are sitting on a bench on the boardwalk in Long Beach.

I need to be more forgiving with her. We’re all headed to the same place.

On the drive over here, I was listening to the Blues Brothers soundtrack. It was one of my dad’s top favorites and mine too of course. He labeled the blank CD after burning the album from me on his super-slow laptop many years ago.

I stared at his handwriting before pulling out of the driveway today.

As I was parking by the beach, the live version of Everybody Needs Somebody To Love started playing. It opens up with Elwood Blues saying, “…please remember people, that no matter who you are and what you do to live, thrive and survive, there’re still some things that makes us all the same. You, me, them, everybody.”

— please check out and support my new site www.DoYouNeedAMiracle.com thank you —

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