My winter break this year wasn't much of a break. What it was much of was crying, whiskey, heaviness, confusion, and a broken heart. I hardly remember a thing from that week, the week after Jake died before I left the country. What I do remember is a balance between epic pain and the love and compassion of friends.
So I came back to Colorado again this week to have the break I didn't have, to mourn in the ways I've not yet mourned, to spend time with the people I love, this community of Jake's family and friends, in a clearer headspace. The service we had for Jake last night at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver was so important to me. Terrified as I was, I got up and spoke in front of Jake's people. Once I was up there at that podium, I still felt grief, but I felt so safe looking out into that audience. The community Jake has built is an astounding one. It is filled with so many different types of people with so many different interests and types of knowledge and ways of being in the world. Hearing from Jake's friends and family helped bring Jake back to me in a way I haven't been able to experience since I left this place and these people at the end of December. I almost feel closer to him now in death than I did in life, because in addition to my own experiences of Jake, I now have insight into the experiences so many others had with him. And with that comes stories, further evidence of his generosity, of his grace, of his magnificent presence, even in his death, here in Colorado and across the country.
It's been hard to navigate this mourning process. First because I was so shocked, then because I was so drunk, then because I was so far from home, then because I felt like I was grieving too publicly, intruding on the greif of others, wearing thin the patience of those who can't talk about death all the time [and who can blame them?]. Yesterday afternoon and last night were so very right. For the first time, I felt like I was beginning to mourn in a way that feels appropriate. Sharing my version of Jake with everyone, taking in everything they all shared about Jake with me. In us he is alive. In this community of his family, friends, writers, artists, and intellectuals, he has instilled in people the desire to carry on his legacy, to celebrate him in the midst of our own work, our own teaching, our own lives. I am certain now more than ever that as long as even one of us is alive to remember him, we will do justice to his memory.
On Jake's website, there is a quote from him: "Memory lives in the breath we breathe, in the air we make together." Thank you everyone who helped celebrate and remember Jake last night, whether you were there in person or there in spirit. Thank you for breathing this air we've made together.
Below is a video that the folks at the MCA put together from clips of Jake's many lectures at their Mixed Taste program. It captures everything Jake was in his community. And if you watch it, you will without a doubt understand why he is so terribly missed every single day.
So now, I am spending a week in Colorado remembering, mourning, and celebrating. And I am also spending a week relaxing. Taking some time for myself that I wasn't able to take in the chaos that began when I left my LA apartment for the airport back in December. Aside from Jake's two memorial services and some time with wonderful friends, I am sleeping, I am drinking water, I am breathing, and I am watching Downton Abbey. Winter Break redux. I am hoping to return to the world, to LA, with some peace at the very beginning of February.
The only photos I've been able to take are the following four photos from the 2200 block of Larimer Street in downtown Denver from my Friday night dinner with my parents at Twelve Restaurant.
Tuesday, Tiny Brother showed up in Los Angeles. Drove from Oakland. I immediately took us to The Alcove since I had no food in my house. Then Trader Joe's. We watched movies On Demand in my living room. Whenever TB is around, there are always movies and there is always music. And breakfast, since he makes that every morning, unlike me who eats a bowl of cereal and consumes no coffee. He was appalled at my lack of any kind of device with which he could make coffee.
I made a little guest room in my "office" using my twin sized inflatable mattress and some sheets I bought after his arrival.
Things we did:
Saw Damien Jurado play at The Troubadour in West Hollywood.
Ate at Pho Cafe, an unmarked restaurant on Sunset Blvd that was full of light and hipsters and good pho and possibly Ricky Gervais.
Walked to Intelligentsia and wandered Sunset a bit. Saw the new art that has appeared since I left LA a month ago.
Drove to Moon Juice in Venice, then to Mendocino Farms, my favorite sandwich shop ever, in Marina del Rey.
Hung out at Marina del Rey beach for the sunset.
Stopped at Canal Club for happy hour while we waited out traffic.
Explored the old abandoned Los Angeles Zoo in Griffith Park.
Navigated traffic up to the Griffith Park Observatory, where we ended up exactly as the sun was about to set. I was really only there for the telescopes though. And there was a star party on the front lawn! So I saw Jupiter and the moon through telescopes. Have you ever seen the moon through a telescope?
Mexico City for chips, salsa, and margaritas which were the only things I wanted in the entire world yesterday evening.
I cooked Brasilian food using the farinha de milho that I brought home from Brasil. It was super delicious and way better than I expected I'd be able to manage.
Between being in Colorado with my friends and family, traveling in South America, and this visit from my brother, I have spent almost the entire past 6 weeks with other people, 24 hours a day. And it's been wonderful and full of adventure, but I am more than ready to settle back down into my solitude. I'll have a few days of that this week, but I'm returning to Colorado on Friday to attend Jake's memorial services. February first will be my fresh start, my new year. I will return to the things that keep me sane: solitude, reading, yoga, quiet. And though I've never made resolutions [and don't intend to start now], I've started waking up earlier because of the six hour time difference between here and Brasil. And I've begun to reward myself for waking up earlier by taking a walk to Intelligentsia for a chai latte in the 78 degree California sunshine.
Because their chai lattes are amazing, and I find fantastic things along the way.
All that said, and with a spotlessly clean apartment, I'm now going to drink one of my Quinton isotonics, continue investigating Pale Fire, and focus on getting over this weird suffocating virus so I can have a peaceful few days before I head home, again.