Forgive myself for all of my mistakes

[I originally wrote this June 9, 2006, not quite six years after my mother died suddenly, and not quite a year after my father died of cancer.  I'm offering this today very slightly edited.] 

Every Halloween we are treated to images of ghosts with rattling
chains.  In Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," Mr. Scrooge is
confronted by the shade of his old business partner.  Marley's Ghost
is chained and burdened by cashboxes, coin purses, locks.  The things
that occupied Marley's thoughts are supposed to bind him to earth
after death.   
Bah, humbug!  The image may function for the plot of Dickens' ghost
story, but it hardly jives with my world-view, let alone my
In my dreams my mother walks without a limp.  In my dreams my father
is healthy, unworried, well-rested. 
No, I don't think it's the shades of those whom we have lost who bear
the chains.   
The chains are the ones I carry.  The chains are the burdens of
accumulated grieving, loss after loss.  The chains are the regrets and
second thoughts and wish-I-hads.  The chains are the freedom I dare
not grant myself -- perhaps the freedom to be angry at Dad.  Or
perhaps the freedom to create my own standard for being ME, a
standard that would not be always a comparison, a relative judgment
about me *as* son, or me *as* friend (or me *as* blogger).   
Are my chains, my burdens, ones I *choose* to carry?  Why should there
be something inescapable, something inevitable, about the burdens
*others* put upon us?  Oh, how I wish I knew the ins and outs of the
countless little habits I have developed over the years, habits for
making my chains seem normal, necessary, even *deserved*.
Many of the links in my chains are negative memories.  Some of the
locks are believing that I failed to meet expectations.  Here is a
coffer full of guilt.  Here is a cashbox filled with the coin of
Every relationship -- even the very best --  has challenges and
difficulties.  I keep saying that one of the principal tasks of grief
is to find a way to keep our love alive in spite of the fact that the
one we love is gone.  I am barely beginning to learn how to deal with
the fact  that the challenges and difficulties, the bumps and
barriers, have not gone away.   
But now the relationship is a bit single-sided, no?  If the bumps are
going to be smoothed, it is I who will have to do the smoothing.  
I know:  how 'bout if I work on forgiving ME for the failures and the messes?   
Mom would if Mom were here.  Dad would if Dad were here.   
There is a song by Aeone that says in part:
From a point of faith within my head 
I believe in all the choices I have made;
From a point of love within my heart
I forgive myself for all of my mistakes.

That would be nice, wouldn't it...  
Peace and happy dreams, 

Point of Faith - Aeone


Ceterum autem censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.

How has it happened that after seventeen years militant Islam is still in the world?  And not the ridiculous remnants that occasionally hold a rally in an Illinois park, like the National Socialists with their Hitler fanboy cosplay.  Seventeen years of Global War On Terror and the goblins continue to issue forth from their hiding places, determined to spread, in their own destructive way, their own particular death-cult interpretation of  "Dar-al-Islam."   Seventeen years.  How can that be?  The mollycoddlers who can not countenance the actual rooting out of the evil have no right go wailing for someone — never themselves! — to go out in peril of death to distant places to perform fractional measures temporarily to safeguard their security at home.  

What follows below the break was originally posted 10 April 2013, under the title "Kill It With Fire."  


"It can only be killed by fire while awake and by using the Rite of Exorcism if found in its grave during the day."
-- Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us, and Hunger for Us
, Jonathon Maberry. Kensington Publishing Corp: New York, 2006. p 16-17, from the Wikipedia article on Vampire folklore by region (South Slavic belief).

At the end of World War II, Hitler's body was burned, pulverized, and flushed into the sewers.  Nazi symbols were destroyed and banned.  Men like Eisenhower forced German citizens to face the atrocities they had actively or passively allowed.  "Never again," they said.

They can never all be found and exorcised while asleep.  The evil is always active while seeming dormant.  We are the ones who sleep.

But the evil continues.  Its undead hunger wakes.  

"I think that September 11 ought to be made a day of mourning everywhere in the West. After all, it will undoubtedly be a day of celebration all across the Dar-al-Islam. 
"We ought never to forget. Never, until the focus of this filthy plague is a hole in the ground, sowed with salt. Never, until Islam is one with the worship of Moloch and Baal. Never, until we can say, 'Mecca delenda est''."
    -- Gerard Vanderleun, What I Saw: Notes I made on September 11, 2001 from Brooklyn Heights, re-posted at American Digest 11 September, 2012.

There is that evil that can only be killed by fire.

 "I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn, and am called Elessar, the elfstone, Dunadan, the heir of Isildur Elendil's son of Gondor.  Here is the Sword that was Broken and is forged again!  Will you aid me or thwart me?  Choose swiftly."
    -- Aragorn, in Return of the King, J. R. R. Tolkien.

Tolkien knew that isolationism did not work — regretted the fact, but admitted it; sometimes the Men of the West have to travel to the gates of Mordor because that is the right thing to do.

North Korean "President" Kim Jong Un threatens nuclear mayhem -- and [Obama's] U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel tells reporters on 10 April 2013 that Korea is "skating very close to a dangerous line."  Hagel does not appear to be preparing use of a big Pacific Theater flame thrower to Kill It With Fire.  His ilk seem to be off on another Carteresque episode of Why-do-they-hate-us and Is-this-Kim-crazy?  Um, guys?  When the man has the loaded gun pointed at you?  Then it really doesn't matter why he wants you dead or whether he is sane.  Kill It With Fire.

Every time.

Find it.  Kill it.  Burn it.  Pulverize it.  Flush it.  Again.


Remember Remember the Tenth of September

September 10, 2001. 

The day before the Towers fell. 

The day before I knew/cared what FDNY stood for.

The day before the Global War On Terror interrupted American serenity and prosperity.

What I remember is that, listening to the radio as I drove to work every morning, I would tune in the Tech Report which included geek tidbits like AMD's new (!) x86-64 CPUs, and ads for Dell desktops with 100MHz clock speeds and 256 GB hard drives. 

The Tech Report also included news about Tech stock prices.  Up and up and up they went.  I would tune in and think, "Wow, wouldn't it be great to be a millionaire with money to invest without a care; wouldn't it be be great to make a bundle on these tech stock things?!"

Wouldn't it be great?

The next day they weren't talking about computer geek stuff.

From the studio in New York City, the tech editor was talking about the World Trade Center.  Both towers were on fire -- somehow. 

I hadn't even had coffee yet.

An airplane hit the buildings?  Somehow? 

And then it happened.

On 11 September 2001, at 6:59AM Pacific Daylight Time: WTC2 (South Tower) collapsed.  Before another half hour, WTC1 (North Tower) collapsed.

That was a strange day at work.  All the planes grounded.  People trying to get news.  Talking about the falling man.  Engaging in conjecture.

But looking back, it's September 10th of 2001 that seems strange.