Slaying Dragons

It’s been a very long 364 day journey to get here.  The many battles have tested my determination, my faith, and my will to live in ways I never could have imagined.  My legs and heart are tired from the tribulations but my mind, I feel, has grown stronger, sharper but at such a huge cost.  Still, I carry forward, undeterred by the suffering and heartbreak I’ve seen, refusing to entertain thoughts of failure.  The journey forced on me must be completed.

Slowly, I creep into the doorway and down the stairs.  Each foot I grind into the stone to break the gooey hold of the slick moss that taunts me to fail.  Cob webs pull at my hair and face while no-see-ums nibble at my flesh.  The darkness eats away the light from my barely-lit torch and all I see is down, down, down.  And spider webs.

Worn and badly in need of repair, my armor is noisy and stiff.  I can’t remember what it looked like new.  The fresh chinks in my armor, memoirs of three long years of battles, shine from the flame of the torch and conjure hundreds of little sprites that dance on the walls of the dungeon and chase me down the stairs.

At the end of the stairs a large door blocks my path.  With pounding heart, I unsheathe my sword.  It, too, has seen shinier days but it’s my only weapon and despite the abuse it’s both given and received, it still cuts quickly to the bone when whipped around.  While I’m definitely not ready for the fight, I’m going to pick one anyway.  Let’s roll.

I shove the door open with all my force.  Cold, dry, life-less air blows me back and the overwhelming stench of plastic and money disgusts me.  Undeterred, I shout into the darkness “I’m here to disconnect the phone of Maggie Weaver!”  A voice, shrill and thick with an Indian accent cries back “Hello, thank you for calling AT&T.  My name is Shakrisha Nimbutu.  I am happy to be helping you with that today.”

And so the battle begins.

Melodrama aside, it was a quite difficult phone call to make.  Despite overcoming the emotional challenge, technical challenges abound.  As of tonight, her phone is still not turned off.  The process is complicated, apparently.  I had to talk to two representatives, both of which wanted to speak with Maggie.  Both of which were polite and very respectful when I told them they could not (and why.)  See, back when we got the phones, right around the time I started the Acton MBA program, Maggie claimed responsibility and got our phones (meaning, she really, really wanted an iPhone.)  Thus, they were both in her name.  To cancel hers meant to cancel mine, too.  Boo on that.  Therefore it became a two step process:  1) Transfer my phone number to me (in AT&T speak: “Wireless Transfer of Billing Responsibility”), and 2) Disconnect her service.  I’ve completed Step 1 (with two fun-filled hours invested.)  Step 2 comes tomorrow.

To AT&T’s (and Shakrisha’s) credit, they waived the Transfer of Billing Responsibility charge of $18.50.  Oddly enough, it wasn’t because of WHY I was transferring billing responsibility, but (and you gotta love this) because I had spent so much time on the phone with customer service.  Beautiful.   Thank you, AT&T and Shakrisha for the $18.50 ‘gift.’

I’ve tried to make some forward progress every week lately.  Some weeks have been more progress-rich than others, especially lately.  But this particular step has been a biggie.  It’s a really big dragon.  There are just a few more that are really, really tough, most notably, the closet.  All in due time but not insignificant.

For tomorrow, I’m still not sure what to do.  There are a few upshot celebrations/tributes/thingies that friends have loosely organized.  For me, where my head is right now, I think I’ll just pretty much live it out like just another Tuesday.  Crap.  But it just doesn’t feel right to do that.  Maybe I’ll spend the day on the motorcycle.  Crap.  I don’t know.  I suppose I’ll just see what happens as it happens.  What’s ‘right’ is whatever I end up doing.

I do know this, though.  Tomorrow is just one more (big) step in the process of saying goodbye.  But damn.  It’s hard to leave the leader behind.

17 thoughts on “Slaying Dragons

  1. You move forward after your leader has fallen because you had been groomed along the way to be able to take the lead when that unfortunate, yet fateful day came. But one can only be a leader if there is someone to lead, and you have an army. A rag-tag band of fighters you picked up along the way. They each posess a piece of what will get you through these battles, some have swords, some shields, some sheer strength, others just fill the terrifying silence with distracting noise. Individually they might nott last long in this kind of fight, but collectively they form a chorus of fierce fighters who stand behind you ready to do whatever it takes to fight for and support their new leader. Terrified, exhausted and bruised they press on, you press on, because you all know your dragons must be slain, period, if there is ever to be peace in the land again.

    With sword in hand,

    (ok who am I kidding, we all know I’m better at filling the silence with noise than weilding a sword, but it just didn’t sound as awesome for a closing)

  2. BD and Meme are standing beside you, too. Keep pressing forward. Our love is always with you.

  3. On this Angel Day, I highly recommend a good long ride on the Hog. The wind in your face, the hum of the motor, and the buzz of the rubber as it hits the road can clear and focus the mind and soul like nothing else. It’s therapy in a gas tank, my friend. When that bell rings, you know who’s hand is on it.


  4. Chris –

    I just wanted to tell you how much I think of Maggie, not just today on her Angel Day, but in so many, many moments throughout the past year. Although I miss her terribly, I’ve found that I think of her most during happy moments — over a dinner with friends, a great conversation over a bottle of wine, or when someone gives me a really amazing hug. That shouldn’t surprise me, I suppose. Maggie was one of the most joyful people I’ve ever known, so it makes sense that I would think of her during joyful moments.

    I can only imagine what a rollercoaster of emotions today will be for you. Please know that Scott and I are praying for you and honoring Maggie on this special day.


  5. Hi Chris,

    I found your blog through a series of links (actually someone mentioned it in the comments of this post: I ended up reading the entire thing over the course of two days. Your writing conveys a really strong, unique voice; and of course the story itself is compelling, bittersweet, and thought-provoking. I really appreciate how you didn’t resort to cliches or worn-out sentiments (I liked what you wrote about “everything happens for a reason” — I’ve always hated that phrase). I am surprised at how glad I am to see you’re still writing a year after Maggie’s death. I feel reassured knowing that you’re still out there, trying to strike the proper balance between grief and progress. Anyway, I really just wanted to say that I hope you’re doing well today, and finding comfort in the sunshine and the warm embrace of friends.

    1. Alex, thanks for writing. I’m surprised at how much comfort I’ve derived from your note. Thank you.

  6. Hi Chris,

    I’m thinking of you and Maggie today. I know that she is smiling down on all of us right now, but especially, and always, you…

  7. I hope our mosh pit of love (did I quote that right?) helped carry you through today. I know seeing you this evening and looking around at all the greatness that only Maggie Mae could have brought together, warmed my heart. I am eternally grateful for our friendship and all the wonderful people in my life because of you. For me it all started with you then you introducing me to Maggie. I’m so happy you shared her with me! I know for me I filled the day doing Maggie things and created some new Maggie memories.

  8. Thought of you yesterday and my heart is still sad for your loss. Your a wonderful person, always have been. Just know you and your beautiful wife are remembered.

  9. What a beautiful world this would be if every person was like Maggie!That smile and her hugs. Every time she hugged you it was like she hadn’t seen you in years, and like she’d never see you again. A HUG is a gift that one size fits all…….and what a gift she had!

  10. Hi, Chris!

    I miss our Maggie now one year after God took her to heaven on May 4, 2009, but I know that she is spiritually looking down at you and all of our successful accomplishments. Only faith will help us to move on and survive. I will never stop praying for you.


    Mary K.’s sister and Maggie’s Aunt
    Pat Valente

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