Monthly Archives: February 2013

February 28, 1996

I try to teach my teenage son that every experience is an opportunity to learn and grow. . .

The part I leave out right now, is that sometimes the pain of that growth is so debilitating that your heart is begging for another way to “learn the lesson”.

Seventeen years ago today when my dad died suddenly at 56, it felt like someone took a knife to my heart and twisted it. I had a conversation with him on the phone at 9:30pm on a Tuesday, and Wednesday morning at 8:30am my brother called me to tell me he died. That was it. That was the end of the book. I didn’t get a do-over, I didn’t get a warning. Just over.

My dad died when I was 30 years old, and it threw me for a loop. The kids I work with experience a much greater agony at 2, at 9, at 14. I’ve heard children tell stories of holding their best friend in their arms while they bled out on the street, or watching their father gunned down in front of their home. I remember the gamut of emotions that followed my loss. I can’t even imagine the emotions that follow in acts of senseless violence. And people wonder why children kill. When I meet a 14 year old killer I don’t look at them as “an adult monster”, I want to know what happened to them in 14 years to give them the pain of a 40 year old.  Because only in recognizing the brokenness, can we find healing.

My son will never know his Pop-pop, and God-willing, he will never know violence up close and personal. But he will benefit from all that I learned from my dad. Most importantly, he will benefit from the lesson I learned from his passing:

Love the people you have in your life, so if and when it’s time for you to depart from one another, you can more easily get to that place of peace where you say, “We had a great life together.”

I had a great life with my dad.

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Showtime. . .

Why would I write about the passing of Dr. Jerry Buss?

Because my brush with him and the glamour of the Los Angeles Lakers “Showtime” world in the 1980s, illustrates a dichotomy of my life that has always fascinated me (when it wasn’t traumatizing me, of course). In my “previous life”, my 20s and 30s, I had the privilege of enjoying many dinners at Dr. Buss’s private table in the Forum Club, and then watching the game from his box. A “box” in the Forum days, was as VIP as it got before someone came up with the brilliant idea of luxury suites. This is not about throwing names around or bragging. It’s about how I felt being both comfortable and uncomfortable in this awesome fantasy world. As a young woman, I was terribly insecure hangin’ amongst the company of Playboy playmates and stunning models, with guys making every play they could think of to garner their attention. Trust me, the only reason I was there was because of my boyfriend. I couldn’t even pretend to pull off that image.

The conflict existed because I was more interested in hearing what Dr. Buss was talking about with respect to the team and basketball business. The chatter of the girls got on my nerves because they were distracting him from what I really wanted to hear. I wanted to be in my seat before the game started and sitting there until the final buzzer went off. I didn’t have time for all the “stuff” that made the ‘Showtime’ world, all the more enticing to the masses. I was enamored with watching Magic, Kareem, James and Byron.

For me, sitting within breathing distance of Dr. Jerry Buss was a privilege. . .as a basketball fan. He was a brilliant man, a kind heart and the epitome of what a sports franchise owner should be. . .

From the chick who fit in, but didn’t fit in. . .

The Right Thing To Do?

Is there ever a time to NOT do the RIGHT thing?

I know that may sound like a stupid question, but it comes up often, in my life. Perhaps the concept that there is “no choice,” is new to me because I know I haven’t always made my decisions in life with that mantra.

I’m talking about the big stuff. The “I saw some girls teasing another girl at school, but I don’t want to get on their bad side” “I think he’s had too much to drink, but I don’t feel like having to drive him home and come back and get his car tomorrow. He’ll be fine” “That lady just yanked her toddler out of the stroller by the arm, but it’s not for me to say something”– kind of stuff. As a culture, we turn a blind eye. . .every single day.

We don’t care about one another enough to get out of our comfort zone and speak up. I have heard too many times, the sentiments of people who wished they’d done something to help someone…after it’s too late. Maybe it’s age. Maybe it’s wisdom. Maybe it’s a spiritual awakening. Maybe it’s just the exhaustion of all of the coulda-woulda-shoulda.

One night before she went out to a party, I remember telling my friend’s teenage daughter that she and her friends need to look out for one another. As parents we can’t always be there. We can’t give you every single scenario that could go wrong. So you have to look out for one another, and be willing to pull each other’s coattails when someone is getting out of control.

Care enough to speak up. Care enough to get muddy with the people you love.

Before it’s too late.