Archive for March 2019

MY FRIEND NICK SPOONER DIED   18 comments

Not the famous Nick Spooner you’ll find if you google the name, but the Nick Spooner who spent his life overcoming obstacles out of which came more wisdom each time.

Let me tell you more about Nick Spooner who made his living driving a private town car limo service. I met him in spring, 2015, after I had rolled and totaled my car. Finding myself being neurotic about driving, I crunched the numbers about car ownership and decided to stop driving. Then came the godsend recommendation from my friend Karen Noren who gave me Nick’s card. From the beginning he was “my driver,” as long as I made my plans mostly for after 11:00 a.m. and reserved him ahead of time. After all, he worked all night, so he needed sleep time. I wasn’t the only person who claimed him as “my driver.”

So let me tell you more about Nick Spooner. Like the time he drove me to the Chanhassen Dinner Theater. I was accustomed to popping into the front seat and enjoying one of our interesting discussions. There was so much to learn and share about his life, his wisdom, his personal philosophy. Many times we sat for a while to carry on the discussion. That night at the dinner theater, however, he would drop me off at 6:00 p.m. No time for chatting, I started to get out of the car when he stopped me with his delightful laugh and said, “Let me get out and open the door for you. We can let people think you’re an important person.”

Now let me tell you more. On February 6, 2019, he drove me to my dentist appointment at 12:15 p.m. On our return, we sat in the car for a while as he told me his concerns that people might choose to walk home in the freezing cold weather. He remembered in body and mind his own experience of nearly dying in his teens of hypothermia making his way home as a snowstorm blew in. So he had called his referral contacts telling them not to let anyone try walking home. “Call me.”, he had said, “I’ll come and get them. It doesn’t matter if they can pay me.” That was Nick, and that was our last conversation.

He worked as usual on the night of February 6-7, among other things helping a young woman customer whose lock was stuck. That was Nick. He would make sure she was home and safe inside. As he left there, he called in a report to the police that he had spotted a car pulled off to the side of the road and waited there until he was sure officers had been dispatched. A short time later that car spotted Nick’s limo in a snowbank on the side of the road and called it in.

Nick had suffered a seizure, grateful later that he didn’t have a customer in the car. At the hospital he was eventually diagnosed with a glioblastoma – maybe more than one. Senators Ted Kennedy and John McCain died a year after their diagnosis, as did my former husband Lou Affinito. Nick didn’t have a year. He died at 1:18 a.m. on March 23, 2019. Quietly, it was reported, but until those moments, he hadn’t “Gone Gentle into that Good Night.”

I received the news as I was attending a “One Day University” class on resilience- why some people overcome adversity and others do not. Nick had overcome so much with such grace. Resilience.

He was a good writer, with so much to tell. During our years of friendship, I pleaded with him to write. I do have something in a folder marked “Nick’s writings.” In his last days, he had regular entries on Facebook. I want to put together what he wrote there. Someone should know the story of his last struggles. In his last entry on March 21 he complained of falling. Just the day before he had asked, “Who would like to go to Lowe’s or Home Depot with me? I need to find a polycarbonite tool case for a project that I’m working on.” Resilience.

Would someone be willing to check for me on the legality of copying his entries and pasting them into a Word document for potential sharing? I am leaving soon for a month at sea, and I’m struggling with computer/printer problems, so I don’t have the time to do it now.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF A CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION   4 comments

I just broke a couple of my own rules, and here’s the lesson to be learned. It’s important to have a confidential consultant – either a paid counselor or someone in a professional position that requires confidentiality. I’m talking about a place where you can talk about something that you should be working through only with a person who is sworn to keep your issue confidential.

Two important rules (out of many) – two places (out of many) to be careful.

Mona’s broken rules.

AVOID TRIANGLES.  My own thinking convinced me I wasn’t getting caught in a triangle. Primarily my reason was that the issue involved me directly because of my own pain. But a good counselor would have pointed out to me that I was still creating a triangle.

TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION AFTER CONSIDERING ALL FACTORS: I should have spent time with a counselor who would have helped me do a better job of considering all factors and pointed out to me where my action(s) were inappropriate.

CONSIDER THIS A COMMERCIAL. But you don’t need to have a paid counselor, as long as the person is professionally committed to confidentiality. Don’t trust or burden a family member or friend with this job. It’s not fair to them – or even safe – to ask that a secret be kept.

 

 

WHY?   2 comments

I have the feeling I haven’t emphasized enough the importance of asking yourself, “WHY?” before writing that e-mail, or snail-mail, or making that phone call, or taking that action. Why are you doing it? What do you hope to accomplish? What are you asking of the other person?

It’s a little like the editing I’m doing with “My Father’s House.” With each sentence in each paragraph I ask myself that question. Why? Why that word? What am I hoping to convey? Why am I saying it that way? I try to make each paragraph one line shorter.

I’m doing it with each paragraph or section too. What purpose does it serve? Sometimes I’m not sure, so I tighten it up and leave it for when I’ve finished this editing go-round and other people will be willing to go through it. I’ll want them to mark the stuff they find boring, uninteresting, misleading, or superfluous. I will need the help of people who are willing to be honest with me.

But I can’t send out my plea for those consultants until I’ve done my darnedest to clarify it for myself.

My goal is to get 800 pages down to 500 or less. To get down to basics, I guess.

And that’s what I mean by “Why?” Why do it? What purpose does it serve? What do you hope for from the other person?

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