Monday, September 21, 2009

My constant companion...Pain

Originally uploaded by Lacking Focus

Saturday was Michael's Celebration of life. I couldn't be more please with the collective love and energy that brought Michael's closest friends together to make this day happen. There were people there from the various stops along Michael's life path, and there were many who came that had never met Michael, but who wanted to pay tribute to the man who captured my heart in such a meaningful way.

I certainly felt a spirit of connection between all of us in the chapel that day, and hope that this connection will keep us strong in the coming days, weeks and years that lie ahead of us. I know that I will be looking to each of you in some small way to keep my spirits up, to remind me of Michael's endless stories, and to share with me a sense of his joy.

Right know I am in so much pain. I physically ache for the lack of Michael's presence. I want so badly to be awakened from this horrible dream, and to have Michael back in my arms. I am lost. I know that time has to take it's course, and that time is supposed to make me heal. Yet, I'm not so sure I want to be healed. This pain is real because my love and desire for Michael is real. I don't want to give up that love and desire, so is pain to be my new companion?

I suppose pain has been there all along. Pain has entered my life many times during these past 50 years. Pain most notably made itself known to me on October 16, 2007. That's the day I howled at the morning sky, I cursed the winds, and I unearthed a dark gloom within me never before recognized. On the morning of September 13th that dark gloom found it's way back into my consciousness, and lodged itself in my heart. I feel it's weight. I am almost doubled over by it's volume, not sure how to completely dislodge it from my chest.

Pain such as this, I did not welcome in. Pain such as this, it has me in it's grip. Yet pain such as this, I cannot say is completely unfamiliar. I have met this pain before, and have seen it around me. I saw this pain in others on Saturday, and I have seen it in others who also walk in grief.

In this past week I have felt like a ghost, not fully here, not fully there. I'm not even sure I want others to notice me as I move about my world. I have a need to be lost, to wander without a map, a plan, or a purpose. Yet I cannot fully indulge in this desire, as I am attached to this world. I am attached to you. I am attached to my kids. I am attached to the many people who love me, who loved Michael, and to the many people who don't even know us, but perhaps crossed our paths in everyday life.

As I have been writing this I have been aware of some distant music playing in the background. At first I thought it was coming from Arianne's room, then perhaps a neighbor's home. Just know I realized the music is far too familiar. It is one of Michael's favorite pieces, Songs from A Secret Garden. I had this CD playing constantly during Michael's final hours. I must have somehow accidentally turned the player on without notice.

"Accident?" "Purpose-full?"

As I turn up the volume, and beautiful music fills my room, my constant companion, "Pain," is being soothed. Tears help Pain to be less intrusive.

Earlier I asked Michael to return to me. I didn't want to continue without him, it was too painful. Maybe Michael's love, Michael's eyes, Michael's smile, Michael's joy, Michael's arms will ease me through this. Maybe he can ease us all through this.

Yesterday I fell asleep on the living room couch, and for a split second I dreamed Michael. He stood there before me with a sly grin on his face, and his eyes flickering with humor, and then he was gone. This split second brought me a sense of peace, and for the first time, a smile on my face .

Love. Dan

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Michael's Memorial

Our dear friend David has written detailed information about Michael's memorial service, which I have included. I hope to see many of you on Saturday.

Please know that I, and Michael's family, greatly appreciate the healing words of support that we continue to receive. It is all of you who are keeping me afloat.

With all my love.



Dear Family and Friends of Mike:

Mike's Memorial Service will take place this Saturday, 19 September, from 2-4pm, at 351 Buena Vista Ave. East, San Francisco 94117.

A mapquest link:

The Service is in the complex where David Takacs (a friend of Mike's) lives. His telephone numbers are 415.606.8217 (cell) and 415.487.1017 (home). Please contact him if you need any helpful information.

This may be the only neighborhood in San Francisco where parking is plentiful. When you arrive, someone will be at the door to direct you to the Chapel. Note that it will likely be cooler in San Francisco than wherever you've been coming from, and the chapel is also cool.

For those who wish to make a donation in Mike’s name, please do so to the National Brain Tumor Society. See

Hotels: In the event that you are staying the night, here are the names and contact info for a few convenient, affordable (by SF standards!) hotels:

The Metro Hotel, 319 Divisidero St., 94117, 415.861.5364,
The CarlHotel, 198 Carl St. 94117; 415.661.5697,
Le Grenier Bed & Breakfast, 347 Noe Street 94114, 415.964.4748
The Parker Guest House, 888.520.7275, 520 Church St. 94114
Travelodge Central, 1707 Market St., 415.621.6775,


From the North Bay: Note that the 19th St. Off ramp is closed until noon on Saturday. Instead:
From the right-most toll booth off the bridge, make your immediate right onto Merchant Ave.
Right on Lincoln Blvd.
First left (note: Not the first left you come to, which is one way the wrong way) on Kobbe.
First right onto Washington.
Follow Washingtonthrough the Presidio.
When Washingtonends, merge right onto Arguello.
At the stop sign (golf course on right), continue on Arguello for another mile or so until Arguello dead ends at Golden GatePark.
Left on Fulton.
First right, on Stanyan.
At the second light (major intersection), left on Oak Street.
In a little less than a mile, the Panhandle (green space on your left) ends. At that light, you make a right onto Baker.
Follow Baker up the hill. It turns into Buena Vista East. Take Buena Vista East up until you see a huge pink building. That's your destination.

From the East Bay: Give yourself extra time for weekend traffic on the Bay Bridge
After the BayBridge, go several exits until the exit to "Golden Gate Bridge/101." Exit there.
Stay in your left lane.
The off ramp will eventually dump you onto Octavia Blvd.
Take Octavia until it ends. It will force you to take a left onto Fell St.
Take Fell St.for about a mile. Cross Divisidero (two gas stations on left).
Then take your second left, onto Baker Street. (DMV on left.)
Follow Baker up the hill. It turns into Buena Vista East. Take Buena Vista East up until you see a huge pink building. That's your destination.

From the SouthBay
Take 280 until the highway splits right before you reach the city.
Take the right fork, towards "80/Bay Bridge."
Exit at San Jose. Avenue.
Stay in your left lane.
Immediately after the light, make a left onto Dolores.
Stay on Dolores about 1.5-2 miles. After Dolores Park, left on 18th Street.
Stay on Castro about 5 blocks, and make a right on Castro Street.
Stay on Castro about a mile. Left on 14th Street.
Take 14th to the very top of the hill. Right on Buena Vista Terrace.
At the stop sign, left on Buena Vista East. Take Buena Vista East up until you see a huge pink building. That's your destination.

From SFO:
Supershuttle (the blue and yellow vans): Tell them "Buena VistaPark, between the Castro and the Haight."
You can also take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to 16th Street and then take a cab. Supershuttle is easier and about as cheap.
If driving, follow directions above from SouthBay.

Public Transit:
MUNI to Church Street.
At the base of 14th Street, in front of the liquor store, you can catch the 37 bus. Tell the Bus Driver you're stopping at Park Hill. Warning: The bus runs only about once/half hour.

We look forward to seeing you.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Journey is the Reward

the journey is the reward
Originally uploaded by Toni_V

"To love for the sake of being loved is human,
but to love for the sake of loving is angelic"

~Alphonse de Lamartine

"Say not in grief 'he is no more'

but live in thankfulness that he was."

~Hebrew proverb

"The journey is the reward"

~Tao saying

Celebration of Michael's Life

A Memorial-Celebration of Life will be held for Michael Lowrie in San Francisco on Saturday, September 19, 2009, from 2 to 4pm. Details regarding the location will be forthcoming.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

An Angel earns his wings

Bring me back to life,
originally uploaded by Lacking Focus.
A Warrior becomes an Angel...earns his wings.

Michael left this world at 6:05 am.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sitting vigil with Michael

Originally uploaded by andrewlee1967

Sitting vigil with Michael.

He sleeps, quietly, trustingly.

Michael is no longer able to tell me what his needs are. He has put his trust in me, and I must trust my instincts when it comes to maintaining the optimal level of medication throughout the day.

This is actually my second attempt at a journal entry today. My first draft, I'll call it, was mistakenly deleted. Each time this happens I find myself about to react, and can feel my blood pressure rise. Then I reconsider the lack of magnitude that such an matter is, take a deep breath, and start over.

In writing these journal entries I am often questioning just how much to share. Then as a writer (I'm getting some lofty ideas) I remind myself that art, like love, should have no boundaries. With this in mind I'll share with you my finding that you can squeeze a lot of love into one small hospital bed. As of last night Michael still had strength in his right arm. I was able to lay beside him, held in his embrace. I share this as a testament of how this relationship continues to be one of mutual love and affection. Michael continues to give me so much. And though I know that this same arm has lost it's strength today, his occasional gaze can still cause me to bend at the knees.

Michael's breathing is getting heavier, and in the background is the lovely voice of Julia Fordham. Today we have been enjoying the purity of her voice with our CD collection. I have been playing all of our favorites throughout the week, knowing that he can hear them. I can feel that someone, or something, is communicating with Michael about his impending journey, but while we are sharing his attention, Michael will have music.

Throughout last night Michael was focused on one particular area toward the ceiling. He was clearly enthralled by something, as he was looking up with the curiosity of a child. His guide must have arrived.

Keep your love flowing, yet consider this. Michael has benefited so much by all of our love. In his honor, as he prepares for his departure, lets start sharing some of that love with others who might also be in need.

Love. Dan

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Time to let go

• Tuesday, September 8, 2009 12:23 AM, PDT
I sit here after a long day of keeping close to Michael, and tending to his needs. Michael is no longer able to communicate, other than an occasional whispered word, or motion of his right hand. He sleeps for most of the day, yet will open his eyes to gaze upon us. At times he reaches out for an embrace, which fills my heart with the purist of love.

Yesterday the kids and I spent the afternoon and evening gathered around Michael. I taught the kids how to care for him, and each was able to contribute and show their love. We all had tears in our eyes whenever Michael would awaken, or when he was in distress. It is a day I will always remember, and I know the kids will cherish the memory of our shared caretaking of Michael during this special time.

Having Michael in our lives has truly been an honor. And we consider ourselves equally as honored to be by his side while he begins the process of moving on from this life. Our hearts are breaking, yet we know there is so much more ahead for Michael.

Yesterday I was able to let Michael know that I was ready to let him go. I told him that he was free to move on whenever he felt ready. I wanted him to know that I love him so much, and losing him this early in life is something I never imagined possible. Yet, I say again, I am blessed. What a joy to have Michael as such a significant part of my life. Never did I truly believe that someone would come along and love me the way he has. Saying goodbye to Michael is, and will be, the most painful experience thus far in my life. I have to believe that I will see him again, and I have to believe that part of him will always be with me.

Send him your good thoughts through prayer or meditation. The power of your love will reach him, and each of those beautiful thoughts will help carry him to his next destination.

Love. Dan

Friday, September 4, 2009

The painful finish line approaches

• Friday, September 4, 2009 11:17 PM, PDT
Tonight I sit and take a big deep breath. Life this week has been an endless sprint. I feel like a long distance runner who is trying to find an even pace so I can make it to the finish line. Unfortunately, the finish line will be very painful, as I know that in the end I will lose.

For Michael's sake, I need to focus on what sounds horribly wrong. I need to focus on the win. I need to remember that Michael has had a good run. He has had a life full of adventure. Throughout his adventurous life he has touched the heart of so many people, and I am blessed to be among them. It was almost two years ago that Michael was dealt this life altering blow. He was told that his time would be limited, and that his time would be riddled with many challenges. Michael chose to move forward, and to expect the best. For quite some time he was fortunate enough to do well, and to enjoy many new experiences, and these days were filled with joy.

As you know, his good fortune has taken a turn. It is now time for Michael to begin the process of leaving this us. I have to believe that there is another adventure awaiting him. I pray that Michael will be met by a loving guide, one who will make his departure from us easier.

The difficult realities of this stage in his process are that he is no longer able to walk on his own. His brain has pretty much stopped communicating with his body, and he has lost most of his muscle strength. While his brain tells him he still able-bodied, his efforts are not met with success. His brilliant mind, and longterm memory, are still present. His ability to communicate however is quickly fading. Throughout this challenging time his mother and I have been at his side, making sure all his needs are met. It is both exhausting and rewarding. It gives us some comfort knowing that we are being present to him, that we are giving him the love and attention so well deserves.

I should take this time to let all of you know how grateful I am for the ongoing pouring of love and support you continue to bless me with. Michael, myself, and all of our family, are so nourished each day by your collective love.

I don't know how much longer I have with Michael, so I am doing my best to find joy in each day. My hope is to slow down, to not keep running so fast that I miss out on what is before me.

Before me is a man that offered me his heart, a man I will always love.