• Jody Kussin

#49 Family Matters It's Just A Little Soon To Say

In These Times by Dr. Jody Kussin, MAY 2, 2020

It’s hard to predict what will ‘trigger us’ or set us off, scrambling to catch up to the emotions we were not aware we were experiencing, trying to corral them and put them back in the box under the bed where we feel they best belong.

Chris Erskine’s departure from the L.A. Times, for instance, hit me hard. If for some reason you never followed him, check out his Facebook page or google him. He has been writing about family and life in Los Angeles for 30 years. No, I don’t know him. But I feel like I do. He lost a son to a car accident a few years ago, followed by the death of his beloved wife “Posh”, to cancer, a year later. His pithy observations and basic love of humans and dogs (and alcohol and tailgating and the LA Dodgers) has been far more than entertainment. It makes me weepy to read some of the goodbyes being posted on social media. And then it surprises me each time that happens. Why am I weeping?

The same thing happened with recent video footage I saw of Yosemite National Park. The park rangers remaining, and the nature web cams capture an emptiness (of humans) that is nothing short of magical. The waterfalls are full, and the bears are actually frolicking, and the deer have taken over the meadows. I was not prepared for a little cry when I watched today’s footage. What was that? Overwhelmed by beauty? Majesty?

It’s hard to say. Sweet moments start water works, sure. Bad and sad news of course does the same. But listening to Kelly Clarkson sing Madonna? Really? How deep is this reservoir of my tears? I’m not sure I’d ever heard Kelly sing before I stumbled upon a video from her bathroom in her cottage in the woods where she and her kids and husband are sheltered. She sang “Like a Prayer” and honestly, it did feel like a prayer.

Less surprising for me is that this evening I had more waterworks when I listened to Jackson Browne’s new release A Little Soon To Say:

Searchin' the horizon, for what we can't quite see when all we've ever needed, has been there all along inside of me

I wanna see you holding out your light. I wanna see you light the way. But whether everything will be alright, it's just a little soon to say

That’s the jist of it. Not sure whether everything will be alright. It’s just a little soon to say.

Well, in my HEAD I’m sure we will be ok. We will weather this pandemic and come out the other side, because that is how the world works. But this historical fact is not always evident to my heart, clearly.

So, I do what any of us would do. I distract myself with random thoughts. I wonder, what was your ‘last _______ before’ this storm?

Who was the last person you saw before you bunkered down with your current roommates (son, daughter, spouse, two dogs and a cat)?

Which was the last restaurant you visited before your family room became your Open Table go-to for dining?

When were you last in a mall and which mall was it? What was the last sporting event you saw live? Who was the last artist you saw in concert? Which was the last museum you visited in person and not in your tablet?

What was your last trip other than the major walk around your block? In which hotel or Airbnb did you rest your head before you realized your own house WOULD make a great Airbnb, if/when we ever get out of here.

I also attempted to distract by working on re-learning the steps to FOOTLOOSE, by Kenny Loggins. The dog Ginger laughed for hours, and I could not master it, despite years of attending bar and bat mitzvah parties weekly and having that as the du jour dance. Age? Concentration? Heat wave in the valley? Hard to say.

Random questions, random dances.

Then I remember. Sometimes, it’s just ok to give in and let the grief wash over. To not think. Not ponder. Not dance. Just be. Sad. Lonely. Empty. Scared. Sad.

With their hearts they turned to each other’s hearts for refuge, in the troubled years that came before the deluge. Jackson Browne again.

As we turn our hearts to one another, sometimes the connection is so intense, that even with zero physical contact, we connect – deeply, intimately, innately. It is so intense it ignites a spark. Or sometimes, it trickles a tear.

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