We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.
On Columbus Day of 2010, the love of my life, my wife of fifteen years, died suddenly of a double pulmonary embolism. This is the story of a man shattered by loss who somehow comes back to life. It’s a memoir and a survival guide, with humor and a breezy, irreverent style that mitigates the sadness. It’s about relationships and finding love again, about insomnia and a mind that won’t go to sleep. And it’s a love letter to my wife who’s no longer here. And through it all, the quest for the perfect cocktail as an antidote to, as the subtitle says, “life’s pummeling.”
People who haven’t experienced horrible loss in their life do not know that there is no manual for grief. That it is a faking-it-until-you-make-it kind of thing. And when the loss is so great, to the point of it threatening to destroy the one who suffered it, then that person must look everywhere for ways to save himself. So when I am at the gym, then being at the gym is the most important thing, and when I am making a cocktail and having a few to forget, then this forgetting for a while is the most important thing. Yet behind it all is the loss that’s always there, like this shadow or cloud or blanket ready to drop. What I tried to show is how I did it, how I had to become a different person and reinvent myself, because the old me no longer existed the way it did when Michelle, my wife, was alive. Hardly anything in our lives is linear. It is intersecting spirals of the sublime, the ridiculous, the superficial, the profound. And when one has had a true soulmate who loved him without limit for fifteen years, then not having this anymore is at times too much to bear. And I realized that I must find or create luster in my life, or risk succumbing to the sadness of that dark blank space where Michelle used to be.
TALES OF INSOMNIA DESPAIR & THE PERFECT COCKTAIL is now available in paperback!
A delicious recipe from the memoir…
1 part St. Germain
1 part Domaine de Canton
1/2 part Absolut Hibiskus Vodka
2 parts Ocean Spray White Cranberry Juice
1/2 part fresh-squeezed Lemon juice
2 dashes Tabasco Sauce
Shake over ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish by floating a slice of red pepper on top.
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Photo credits: Tuxedo (Monica Raab Wilson Photography). Cigarette (Melisa Cai Photography).