‘Tis the Season to Stop Being a CRYBABY!

Posted in Helping Others, Love on December 8, 2013 by Michael Louis Calvillo

Last night I felt so sorry for myself. Around midnight, I wormed my tired body under the bed covers and cried myself to sleep lost in the reflections of my day… I don’t mean to depress anyone, especially during the joyful holidays, thankfully this morning I was pulled out of my self-absorbed slump by a smack of sad reality. I had an awareness of how life actually exists for some people as opposed to the idealistic notion of what life should be or could be. If you’re interested, I’d like to share  a bit about that realization…

Saturday, December 7, 2013:

I woke up around 6:30 a.m. After thirty minutes of “snoozing” my alarm, I finally crawled out of the uncomfortable guest bed in my house. I no longer sleep in the bed I shared with Michael. For the past three months, I only go into our room to change and get ready. Our bed is now covered with piles of clothes I’ve decided not to wear. (Hey, I intend to find hangers and hang them back up in the closet one of these days!) The decision to stop sleeping in that room is a step I’ve taken to try and heal… move my life “forward,” you know? (It’s going to be almost two years soon!)

I gave my Buffy a pet on her head and told her I loved her. I filled her food up and made my way downstairs to find Lola, my other roommate. Grrrr, I found her on the couch! I sweetly said, “Good Morning, Lola,” but I also lightly scolded her for laying on the couch because she knows she’s not supposed to sleep there. While I pulled her off the couch, I explained to her that she has to go outside to potty and get fresh air (even though I felt bad because it was such a chilly morning). I decided to “treat” her with wet food. She loves it. Truth be told, I was being lazy because opening a can of dog food seemed much easier than pouring a heavy bag of dry food into her dish. Did I mention it was cold?

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My two roommates… party animals, right?

After feeding two pets, it made me realize I should eat too. I looked in the fridge and felt disenchanted with the few options I had. Most of what’s in my fridge needs to be thrown out, however, I zeroed in on a “fresh” bag of Chocolate Bark Thins I had in there. I broke off a piece and skipped the idea of making a “real breakfast.” (This was the second morning in a row that I ate chocolate for breakfast!) I then sat at the kitchen table and spent about an hour working on the online class I teach. It’s almost the end of the semester for all three of the schools I teach at. I have to say, it’s been the most overwhelming semester of my career. I know I took on way too much this time but it was a conscious decision I made to keep myself distracted and busy. I blinded myself silly with work but now that it’s coming to an end, the blurry truth is coming into focus. I have really come to despise the holidays.

Breakfast of Champions

My second alarm went off at 9:00 a.m. Time for the gym! I recently got back to working out. My semester had been so busy I didn’t even have time for the gym. I had to put it off for a while. Surprisingly, I really enjoy working out. I take a weight training class that kicks my bootie but I like the idea that I’m building muscle. I guess I think if I get stronger physically, it’ll help me become stronger mentally. I’m not so sure that’s been the outcome but I repeat that to myself  when I feel like another bicep curl is impossible! I’m not the “strong” woman people are so kind to tell me I am but I do try my best to become that person. I truly believe working out helps me.

When the gym class was over, I checked my phone and saw that Deja had sent me a text message saying it was raining in L.A. I looked up and noticed it was raining in Lake Elsinore too! I love the rain but I always think it’s much better when you’re able to enjoy it with someone you love. I rushed home to let poor Lola back in the house and made myself a protein drink. I took another futile look in the fridge and wasn’t surprised that nothing new magically appeared but I was surprised the Chocolate Bark Thins had lost their appeal. “I’ll eat later,” I told myself.

I still had work to do but working from home has never proven to be very productive. I can usually think of work that needs to be done for the house that will take me away from doing the work that needs to be done for my job. I stayed in my stinky workout clothes and drove over to the empty high school to focus on “job-work” for a few hours. I got a lot done but after one of the custodians came in and teased me about “doing free overtime,” I decided to wrap it up and go back home.

When I opened the house door, I heard Lola’s tail thumping on the couch. She was wagging her tail that I was home but too lazy to jump off the couch to greet me. I looked at her disapprovingly but decided to let her enjoy the comfort of the couch. I thought, “Does it really matter?” Lola’s pleasure in life is laying on a couch. Who am I to keep her from being comfortable and happy?

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Who can resist those sweet beagle eyes?

At about 4:00 p.m., my tummy grumbled. I took yet another fruitless peak in the fridge. I tried to remember the exact words to this quote: “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein. Yep, I’m certifiably insane. I sat back at the kitchen table and looked at the work I needed to finish… I felt ornery and thought “screw it!” I went upstairs to shower, get dressed and tried to think of something I could go do by myself. See, I know I have friends and family I could call and ask if they want to hang out but I’ve been trying to get comfortable with being by myself. I haven’t been by myself for a while. I  had a “friend” that I spent a lot of my time with after Michael had passed. He was a great guy who would make cookies with me, spend time with me, comforted me when I needed it, and encouraged me eat real meals. He helped me not feel so lonely. Unfortunately, I think trying to establish a relationship with a heartbroken-widow took its toll on him. I don’t think I’ll be seeing him around anymore. It’s sad but I can’t imagine how challenging it must’ve been for him to try to be with a woman with so much unresolved grief and unrequited love for another man. Life is cruel.

Around 6:00 p.m., I drove to the shopping center in Corona. I started a little shopping but seeing all these people out as couples or families kind of bummed me out. I gave up on shopping. I walked over to Starbucks to get a Peppermint Mocha and a cup of fruit. My first “meal” of the day! As I sat by myself at a table outside, two guys walked by and joked, “By yourself?” I nodded yes and looked down at my phone. I’m not sure if they were trying to be flirty or if they were just being friendly or if they were just drunk, I just know I wanted no part of any of it. I put in my earphones and looked over at the adjacent theaters. Wondering what was showing, I walked over and saw that “Old Boy” was playing. Michael and I both loved the original Korean version of that movie. I wondered what Michael would’ve thought about Spike Lee doing a remake. The showtime was perfect and I decided to go see it. This was the first time I had ever gone to the movies by myself. It really didn’t feel that weird. I think it helped that I was the only person in the theater when I arrived.  I chose the very back row. A couple came in a little after and sat about four rows ahead of me. Once the previews began an older man walked in and asked “What’d I miss?” None of us answered him. He sat closer to the front of the theater but once the movie started he got up and sat in the row in front of me. WHY?! People always do that! There’s a whole empty theater and you decide to sit RIGHT in front of me? Grrr…In any case, the movie was okay. As soon as it was over, I really wished I could talk to Michael about it. He was the best when it came to movie discussions! I was flooded with sadness and wasn’t ready to go home feeling that way. I decided to go to Barnes & Nobles until they closed.

Driving home I was consumed with thoughts like: “How did my life get here? How did I lose the life I loved so much? Why am I here by myself?” Geeze, what a crybaby!

Sunday, December 8, 2013:

I woke up this morning to just about the same routine as the days before. I sat down to work at the kitchen table but decided to check in on Facebook first (my guilty pleasure when I have time).  I noticed a group message. I usually ignore group messages but I decided to read it because it was from a man I respect. Donnie Brainard.

I met this man, Donnie, through my dear friends, the Dietz’s. Chester and Veronica made arrangements for Michael and me to see Motley Crue with them at the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas.  At this time, Michael was very sick (about three months before he passed) and there was very little my dear husband would get excited about but MAN was he excited about this!? Before the show, we had a wonderful dinner at Nobu. Donnie met all of us there and generously took the bill for everyone. What a nice guy, I thought.

LV Motley Crue

Chester, Veronica, Donnie, Me, Michael

However, one of the things I really took away from meeting Donnie was that he had a family he loved with all of his heart. Most notably he focused much of his conversation on his daughter, India, that had very special medical needs. He shared his deep love for his little girl and expressed to us how much spirit she retained despite the daily pain she faced. Donnie was doing everything and anything to help India live a happy and healthy life. I remember looking in Donnie’s eyes and instantly recognized the same sad desperation I saw in my own eyes when I occasionally took the time to glance at myself in the mirror. He was being positive about her treatments and telling us how he would do whatever it took within his financial means to make her life comfortable and happy. He’s an amazing father.

This morning I read his message that his India was in need of an intensive surgery. I’m so sad his family is going through what they are going through. I am optimistic for them but I know they’re struggling in many ways. In his message, he was humbly reaching out for support. This man and his family deserves the graceful generosity of others right now.

I realize I’m not the only one experiencing “Holiday Blues.” But WHO are we to complain about how hard our lives FEEL when there are others experiencing how hard life IS. I try my best every day to temper the pain of losing my Michael. I know the pain I feel now is nothing compared to the days when I lived terrified that I was losing him and there was nothing I could’ve done to have kept him here one day longer without suffering. Reading about what Donnie, India, and his family is going through made me ashamed for feeling sorry for myself yesterday.

All I can say is to please enjoy the holidays with your friends and family. Be grateful for loved ones presently in your life and think fondly of the ones who once graced your life. Personally, I have to remind myself to not take for granted what I have despite what I have lost. I have come to believe life is all about helping others. There is comfort in reciprocal generosity and gratitude. Michael taught me that message in everything he did and he continues to teach me that each day he’s been gone.

Friends, if you are feeling giving this holiday season, would you please consider helping this family? Thank you so much.

Please read Donnie’s link below:
http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/she-doesn-t-deserve-this/114808 

All my love,

Michelle

Summertime and the Living’s Not So Easy

Posted in Love, Love Letters, Summer on July 17, 2013 by Michael Louis Calvillo

Happy Summer, Michael’s Loyal Readers!

I know it’s been a while since I posted anything in Michael’s blog. Truthfully, I have been a busy woman working way too many jobs and taking on way too many projects! They say everyone deals with grief differently and I discovered that my way has been to keep myself so distracted that I don’t have a single second to think, to process, or feel… It was the perfect plan. That is, until Summer crept up on me. The heat should’ve triggered my defenses. Last summer was the worst summer of my entire life.

Lana gets it spot on again!

Lana gets it spot on again!

This year, I decided to teach summer school again at Fullerton College. It was a lot of fun despite driving the 91 fwy at 6am to get there. Nonetheless, I love teaching the physical anthropology lab during the summer. I had some really great students. Every one of them a welcomed distraction. Unfortunately, the summer school semester ended last Wednesday. Thursday was my official first day of Summer. No job to go to. No projects to work on. No distractions. No bueno. Damn you, Summer. She used to be my favorite season. Summer used to mean time for family: Vacations, “Spring Cleaning,” BBQs, shopping trips for the house… My favorite time of the year! You might think that summer would have been the time that Michael got most of his writing done since we didn’t have to work. Nope. He never did get much writing done during the summer because summer was exclusively for Us. Our family.

Summer was our time to regroup and recover from the previous school year. Teaching is tough work, in case you didn’t know. Mind you, it’s fun. But, boy is it draining? Ask any teacher you know. Summer is what we live for when the classroom walls begin to close in on our spirit!  Michael and I both left our well-paying “office jobs” to go into teaching several years ago. It was our thoughts that teaching would be gratifying because we would be doing something meaningful and we could justify calling ourselves full-fledged “contributors to society.” In addition, it would give us the time and structure to enjoy our family. You know, what most of society hates us teachers for: “SUMMERS OFF!”

Teachers really earn those summers off!

Teachers really earn those summers off!

Well, needless to say, Summer isn’t the same anymore. This summer I am preparing to clean house, if you will. My baby girl will be going off to college this fall. (UCLA! Go, Bruins!) I am proud beyond words. I am also scared beyond words. Everyone keeps warning me about this “Empty Nest Syndrome” that I am to succumb to soon. Man oh Man, am I scurred? So, in an effort to create homemade distractions, I have decided to go through every room of our house and organize! Sounded like a good idea at the time. Until I realized that rummaging through seldom-visited drawers means running into hidden and painful memorabilia. Yee-ouch! What hurts? Well… let’s see. Yesterday I found an unopened envelope from “Some Unimportant Company” with a random phone number scrawled on the back written by Michael. I picked it up and looked at how Michael crafted his numbers. If you knew Michael personally, you’d remember that he had  very interesting penmanship – a cross between the cliched left-handed chicken scratch infused with the curly, whimsical lettering of The Cure. In any case, I imagined him on the phone talking to some faceless person on the other end and I could even faintly hear him repeating the number to that person. At the end of the conversation, Michael would do that chuckle that he would do and kindly thank the person. He was always so polite and sweet. I toyed with the idea of calling the number. Instead, I decided to let myself cry.

This process is very difficult. It’s so hard to determine what to keep of Michael’s and what to let go of. I’m almost ashamed to say that I still have his toothbrush; his shampoo is still in my (our) shower; his shaver sits on my (our) bathroom counter; I still can’t bring myself to wash the clothes in his hamper. I want to save every little remnant of Michael. I want to save that envelope. I want to save all his clothes. I want to save any piece of hair I think might have been his. But the one thing I really want to save can’t be saved any longer. Be patient, I tell myself. I’m slowly adjusting to this new life.

When Junk Drawers Attack

When Junk Drawers Attack

Today, I woke up determined to continue the process. I figure each attempt will make me stronger. In a junk drawer, I came across a card from Michael and Deja. It was so cute. It didn’t make me sad. It made me smile. In fact, I immediately put it on my bedroom mirror so I could see it every day. I also came across a letter he wrote me. It wasn’t dated but based on the content, I’m guessing it was written around the start of our teaching careers. He expressed coming to terms with our new adult lives and envisioned a grand payoff for all our hard work. His letters were always so sweet and well-written. Sigh.

I suppose I am going to come across more of Michael’s letters and random writings in the remaining weeks of summer… To help me with this process, I have decided to archive some of Michael’s writings here for all of you. So, please enjoy a touch of Calvillo Summer Reading!

Happy Summer, Everyone!

Michelle, 

The letters sparse, but the feelings run deeper than ever and everyday I am bursting with sentiment. Fie, the work week and falling asleep on the couch under the duress of exhaustion. At least our efforts are worthy and noble and long lasting (world domination one kid at a time), but the time for poetry and heartsong is sorely missed. The life of a student definitely had its pleasures – writing you daily: my attempts at a journal, emotional purging, honing my craft for you. I suppose the time still exists (video games), but my mind is lazy or tired or both and every time I write anything, whether it be this letter or a rap or a school related lesson, I regret that I am not writing a novel or a story or something that could possibly do us some good down the road (big house, maid who does laundry, trips, time). All in due time I suppose, no, all in due time I know (just a little more time, just a little more effort). 

Alas, my heart is my mind and my mind is your creature to do with what you will. The letters fewer, but the desire greater and every glance, every stare, every fumbling hug or bad-breathed kiss or silent drive, is a love letter of unfathomable sincerity. You are my soul turned inside out, made smarter and prettier and kinder than any human being has a right to be. I value this phase of our marriage, the smoke cleared, the confetti scattered, content and learned, still drunk on love, but not lost or dumbfounded by the unyielding power of dangerous emotion. Everyday there is growth and the invisible tendrils that bind solidify. It is scary to think that without you there is only darkness. Yet, I reconcile myself to the fact that we are completely comfortable in the other’s presence and the essence warming notion radiates like a lesser sun between us and recasts the future in perpetual light. 

Love forever, 

Michael 

Dark Paradise

Posted in Love on April 30, 2013 by Michael Louis Calvillo

I wasn’t going to post anything today despite the significant nature of April 30th. However, I have received so many nice messages from friends and family that I decided maybe I should… (I hope it’s not in bad taste posting here on Michael’s blog site.)

I wanted to treat today just like any other ordinary day. Well, like one of the “new” ordinary days. I wanted to say to myself that today is not any different than yesterday. Oh, but it is because yesterday was Deja’s 18th birthday and that was pretty darned special. I thought maybe today could be just like the day before Deja’s birthday and well that was Sunday and that day was somewhat eventful too. The day before that? Deja’s birthday dinner. I reviewed my days like a flipbook and I realized just how busy I have kept myself. Most importantly, I realized just how special and wonderful my life still is. I have the most amazing friends and family. I’ve made a lot of beautiful memories this year.

I’ve become stronger with each passing day and each new experience. There was a time I couldn’t tear myself out of bed. I wanted to sleep all the time. Dream of the life I loved so much. Sleep until I woke up next to my love once again.

This is what dreams are made of

This is what dreams are made of

Some of you know that I broke my first bone this year. My wrist. My right wrist. Uh, I’m right handed. If I were to break a bone why a bone I relied on so much? I felt so incapacitated. Seriously, I can’t believe how much I took having my dominant hand for granted. Aside from that, it was so painful too! But, what was frustrating to me was the constriction and unsanitary nature of the ugly cast they put me in! I hated it! In fact, I pulled my hand out of the cast prematurely. I just couldn’t handle it. I understood how dogs must feel in those stupid “cones of shame!” Well, it turned out that my wrist healed anyways. My doctor took the final xray , lightly scolded me, and sent me on my merry way never to meet again (hopefully). After I removed my cast, everyone warned me that broken bones never really heal completely. It’ll always feel a little different. That is so true. I tried moving something just the other day and was quickly reminded of that break. Just trying to do a hurried mundane daily routine and there I was slapped with pain all over again. Life makes some interesting physical analogies for those of us who are too thickheaded to get her more subtle parallels.

6:00 a.m., April 30th, 2013, I looked at Michael’s picture next to my bed and decided “Time for work.” Last week, I toyed with the idea of staying home today. I even debated last night whether or not I could really get through the day at work. But then, I realized we scheduled a “Lancers for Life” meeting and there was no way I would cancel on these kids who have dedicated themselves in the service of others. I am so thankful for the meaningful distractions in my life.

There are tons of pictures in our home of Michael. We even have a digital rotating frame. Michael and me. Michael and Deja. Michael and friends. Michael and family. Michael and our pets. Michael, Deja and me. I see them every day and you would think that it would be hard. It’s really not. I sit and stare at that frame daily. This morning I walked into a building that Michael and I used to walk into together every day. That’s okay too. I’ve been in that building a ton of times this year. But something about putting the key in the door this morning and twisting it in whatever weird way shook a heartache in me that stabbed for a quick terrible second. My heart doesn’t feel like the gushy matter it’s supposed to be, I sometimes suspect it’s more of a fractured skeletal material.

My days and nights won’t be the same without the love of my life. I don’t pretend that it ever can be close. I guess I’m coming to terms that it’s just “different” now. And, even in its “different” state, it’s still pretty good. There’s still so much to be thankful for. Thank you to my dear friends and family who have been there for us this past year.

In closing, if you ever want to know what a heartbroken widow feels like, listen to this song… It’s been playing in my head all year.

What’s up, 2013?

Posted in Books on December 31, 2012 by Michael Louis Calvillo

3:53 a.m. New Year’s Eve.

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but I’ve been a bit reclusive these past few months, Michael’s Loyal Readers. And, before you say anything, I do want to offer my deepest apologies for the rude absence.  I know, I know… Yes, I do remember that I made a promise to keep my dear husband’s blog up. What the heck, right? Trust me, MLRs, my intent was absolutely genuine.  But, truthfully, the grieving process has been quite the hardhearted beeotch.  We’re talking crippling. The skillful and horrific words Michael crafted never came even close to personifying the dark, lonely, and scary truths of loss like this…

BUT! Luckily, my faithful companion, Insomnia, encouraged me to make use of the time and keep good on my promise this morning. So, F’ you, Grief, we’re going to attempt to be productive today! And, as cliché as it is, New Year’s Eve seemed as good a time as any to reflect on the talent, love, friendship and loss of my dear, sweet Michael Louis Calvillo.

At this point, you’re probably anxiously wondering, “Well, c’mon, what do you have to share? Hmm?”  I know, you’re waiting. You want something. It’s been a while. You wanna know what’s crackin? What’s going on with the earthly MLC world that Michael prematurely left behind? Can we expect more from MLC? Tupac continued giving the world more of his talent posthumously. We know MLC can do it too.

Well… yes, of course, you can definitely expect to see more from Michael Louis Calvillo in 2013! For starters, Bad Moon Books will be publishing Michael’s novel Bird Box in the early part of the new year. Yay, right? And, trust me, Michael’s Loyal Readers, you are going to love this one! In addition, as most of you know, Michael left behind a plethora of completed unpublished works (“Jefe, what is a plethora?”). So, needless to say, this upcoming year we will be working on securing loving publishing homes for Michael’s titles and decide on the appropriate timing of releases. Seriously, I promise to keep you all updated! Promise, promise. Virtual pinky swear!

Full Novel (Bad Moon Books; TBA 2013)

Full Novel
(Bad Moon Books; TBA 2013)

Also, in Michael’s honor we have been successfully running our charity club Lancers for Life at Lakeside High School. I am serving as the club advisor, along with my department chair and friend, Debbie Hanlon, and Deja (our daughter) is the club’s president. Since the beginning of the school year we have offered support to three families affected by cancer. We have a very kind and compassionate group of students that have really dedicated themselves to helping others and they have done a great job coming up with ideas on how to help others in need. We are all really looking forward to seeing this club become a permanent resource for our Lakeside students.

lancer

By the way, if you haven’t already, please “Like” us on Facebook.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lancers-for-Life/391909957537319

Also, if you’re interested in donating to Lancers for Life, PayPal donations are accepted at calvillohopefund@gmail.com. Our club is so appreciative of the overwhelming encouragement we continue to receive and feel fortunate that we are able to provide support for these families because of the generosity of so many. So, a big “Thank you!” to all those who have supported Lancers for Life.

In closing, Michael’s Loyal Readers, I’d like to share a couple of links with you. Recently, Mr. Carl Alves facilitated a tribute to MLC featuring some of Michael’s most respected and loved writer colleagues. Very touching and beautifully stated words about MLC. Thank you to all who shared such beautiful words about our dearly missed Michael Louis Calvillo.

http://www.carlalves.com/blog-post/a-tribute-to-michael-louis-calvillo-part-1/

http://www.carlalves.com/blog-post/a-tribute-to-michael-louis-calvillo-part-2/

It’s hard to imagine a happy new year without the love of my life but someone once told me, “Sometimes you have to fake it to make it!” So, here’s to a happy and healthy new year, y’all!

Enjoy the Silence

Posted in Books on September 30, 2012 by Michael Louis Calvillo

In my nervous anticipation yesterday, I mentioned to someone that tomorrow (the 30th) will be the 6 month mark of Michael’s passing. Always terrible at math and yes, that includes basic counting, I still can’t believe I threw an extra month on there.

Be patient with me. Time and space has compressed in weird little ways since April 30, 2012.

April 30th is the day my life fell silent. That day, my dear sweet husband sought to find the peace and comfort he so deserved. Today, I reflect inward on the love and life we shared. Truthfully, there isn’t a moment that crawls by that I don’t pine for that beautiful life once again. However, I have learned to take comfort in the silence forced upon me. It’s allowed me to understand a part of the many things Michael has taught me (all of us) about love… One specific thing Michael taught me is that to love is to truly have gratitude. (Michael had a very Zen quality about him, right?) I know I was fortunate for the precious love I experienced in Michael. I even knew that at the time. I didn’t come to the realization after his passing. I didn’t have to lose him in order to appreciate what I had. In fact, Michael and I always marveled at how “lucky” we truly were. We never took for granted what we were so fortunate to possess.

Appreciate the love you have each and every day…

Michael also taught me that love isn’t limited to the passionate love between lovers but it extends to those who impact our lives in a variety of ways. He felt gratitude for everyone. Not just those who we saw on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, or those who made the Annual Halloween Party Invite List, or those who were easily labeled as “friend” or “family…” He had love in his heart for so many. (In all the years we were married, I only heard him say he didn’t like about three people. Trust. If Michael didn’t like you… You had to be some kind of jerk.)

Last weekend, some family and I went out to Las Vegas to attend a Tribute Session held in Michael’s honor at an annual horror writer’s conference called, KillerCon. We were so touched that a Tribute was organized to recognize Michael’s talent and friendship in the field of horror writing. Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Gene O’ Neill, Brad Hodson, and John Palisano made up the panel of speakers for the tribute. My husband had true love in his heart for every one of these men (and so do I). Ben, Gene, and Brad shared readings from the newly released, second edition of Michael’s first novel, I WILL RISE. Last on the panel, John straight put some verses on smash that Lisa Morton scripted (Translation: John rapped some rhymes that Lisa wrote very well). John also did a really cool “Apocalypse Now” style reading with an acoustic guitar that had us all in awe. Many others, including Michael’s favorite publisher, Roy Robbins, as well as one of Michael’s co-author and friends, Michael McCarty (referred by MLC as the “Cool One”) shared their personal remembrances. Our family is so grateful to all the involved contributors and attendees, including James Wrath White (KillerCon’s organizer), for making the Tribute a meaningful and heartwarming experience. Michael would have been genuinely thrilled.

Ben, Gene, Brad, and John
Make up MLC’s Tribute Panel

After Michael passed, everyone promised Time Would Heal. I can’t tell you how many times I insincerely nodded only to placate them. Because, truthfully for me, it felt as though each day intensified the pain I felt in losing Michael. Each day brought into light that this was reality and not some effed up dream. I would never see or hold my Michael again… How was I supposed to go on? What was I supposed to do? Who am I without him?

The operative word: “I”

Michael rarely thought of himself before others. He was such a good man. Being married to him was such a blessing. He always made me want to be a better person. He taught me so many lessons in doing so. What nerve did I have in focusing on me over everything else that continues? Life is not about us. It’s about love. It’s about finding ways to improve this world we share with others. Making a difference. Living life with purpose.

So, with that in mind, these days I try not to focus so much on my personal pain but rather on what remains. I know exactly what Michael wanted for me (us). It’s the same I would’ve wanted for him. Happiness. I am thankful for the loving kindness that remains in my heart for others who are still here. My daughter, Deja, my family, my friends, my students, my pets… the list goes on.

Thank you, my dear friends and family, for giving me hope that I still belong here.

Thirteen

Posted in Love, Love Letters on August 14, 2012 by Michael Louis Calvillo

Although I honestly didn’t feel ready for a relationship, I began dating Michael as a single mom when my baby girl was only a year and a half. We dated off and on for a couple of years and I finally (yet confidently) said a “Maybe-Yes” to Michael’s (second) marriage proposal on February 13, 1999. Six months later, we were Husband and Wife. In sickness and in health. ‘Til death do us part.

August 15, 1999. That day, Michael, Deja, and I became MDM. I will be forever grateful for the loving family he made us. I love and miss Michael so much. I miss “Deja, Michael and Me” even more. I know we’re incredibly fortunate for what we had. But, I still miss it. Immensely.

All the same, I realize that Michael really didn’t leave me “empty-handed.” He’s blessed me with so much. His “voice” truly surrounds me. Whenever I need him, I open one of his books… Or, I search “Michael Louis Calvillo Raps” on YouTube… Or, I let the answering machine pick up to hear his greeting. Or…if I’m really brave, I dig around for one of the many beautiful love letters he wrote me. I always felt that one of the perks of being married to a writer was being bestowed with the occasional well-written love letter. And, of course without fail, my Michael wrote me an exquisite love letter every Anniversary. It was something I always expected and adored getting. Today, Michael’s Loyal Readers, I have decided to share with you one of my favorite Anniversary letters Michael wrote me. This particular letter was for our 10th Anniversary. He must have been feeling nostalgic and dreamy because he detailed our Early Years, Growth, and a Future Perfect…

10

How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as (true) love?

–Albert Einstein

The Early Years

So then, the first time we officially met (in Speech class, where thank God we were forced to talk and work together – if we had any other subject we may have sat apart, or maybe said a kind word here or a polite word there and then that might have been that), I felt swimmy and dizzy.  You were a pretty girl (the prettiest), and you were talking to me, and I felt that requisite fear bubble up, that geeky loss for words, and my systems thrummed uber-nervous, crazy-nervous, stupid-nervous.

I think (but can’t be sure) that I managed to keep it together and act like everything was fine, but on the inside…I was a mess.

Anyway, out of politeness (of which you exude in excess), you asked me if I needed a ride home. I did. The walk wasn’t a big deal, but I didn’t have a ride so when you asked me if I needed one I should have said yes, but I was casually standing around, hoping you’d talk to me about something, never in a million years thinking you would, and then when you did, I internally panicked and in effort to avoid stammering and geeking out too hard I said, no, that I was okay, but thanks any way or something dumb and insincere like that.

After you left, I walked home, kicking myself the entire way for trying to be too cool. Fantasy played through my head and I envisioned inviting you in and making out and…and…and…well…never mind.

From that moment on, I was hooked. I told my friends (at the time the three other members of BURN – the Jeffs and Timon) and resolved to work up the courage to get you to go out on a date with me.

The next time we had Speech class I asked you if the Ride Offer still stood. You smiled that incredible smile and well, here we are.

I have so many beautiful memories from those early days.

Thrift shopping in Victorville and Hollywood.

Art movies in Hollywood.

Drinking.

Late nights on the golf course or a park.

Three hour phone calls.

VVC.

Hastily putting on ski boots with the intention of taking you home (you stayed the night with me), but your dad was awake when we got there and you didn’t want to go in until your parents left for work so we went to have breakfast (still in ski boots) to kill time.

I remember hanging with you and wild Stacy.

Mickey McGees.

Talking in the morning and afternoon and going out at night.

Kicking the Earth Science door.

Rolling in duck poop.

Marilyn Manson and Smashing Pumpkins and beer and pizza.

Trying to get you out of my car and to your front door.

And though you weren’t big on saying it (you had Deja to consider), I was ecstatic to have you as my girlfriend.

I was ready to continue forever, but things got rocky – you grew distant, but still, I hung on and promised you I’d be there forever, that we’d be together forever. I think you half believed me but…

Growth

That year apart was rough. I missed you and dreamt about you and spent restless nights CENSORED to the images seared in my mind.

I couldn’t forget your smile, your hair, your eyes, shoulders, style, voice, etc…

I hung out with Fraternity idiots and wannabe filmmaking idiots and kept thinking I have to get my shit together and find someone to make me forget about you. But it didn’t work back in VV and it didn’t feel like it was going to be any different in Northridge, so I waited and pined and went about life single and despondent and trying to enjoy hanging with friends (I did / I didn’t).

I received your correspondence on August 9th, 1998. My mom and dad came to the little apartment I shared with Ronnie to take me to dinner for my birthday. My mom gave me a letter that arrived at the SVL address sometime earlier.

My heart flipped.

Futile effort enclosed.

That’s what it said.

I went from all mushy to faux-strong and brave and thought, you know what, I’m going to get her back, but I have to be cool. I have to play this super cool. I have to make sure you understood what I wanted and how things had to be. I wasn’t going to allow you to corral me into the friend zone. I tried to pretend to be your friend when we fell apart in VV, but I was only pretending so I could get you back. This time, I had to make sure you got that I was interested in a serious relationship or nothing at all.

So I wrote you back and gave you my pager number and I waited.

You blew me up a few weeks later and everything began to fall into place.

Not that it was all wine and roses. We had our fights, our scares, our jealousies (my jealousies). But after only six months of dating and rekindling, I scrabbled what I could together and got a ring, and on Feb. 13th 1999, I took a knee.

Your answer: Maybe.

Future Perfect

Maybe?

Maybe!

But I learned (and am still learning) that sometimes what you say with your lips isn’t always what you mean with your heart (sometimes) and vice versa. This is a peculiar art form and (ten years in) I am still learning to differentiate the real NOs from the maybe NOs from the NO YESes.

I think I’m getting better and plan to master it one of these days. Until then, I am going to work at it and relish every moment – good or bad. Rest assured, one day I will get it right.

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

Wedded Bliss

Anniversary
Anniversary

Posted in Love on August 9, 2012 by Michael Louis Calvillo

August 9th used to be one of my most favorite days…

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