Order of the Good Write

That Magic Feeling When the Words Flow. A Blog by Debi Rotmil

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Look up here, I’m in heaven
I’ve got scars that can’t be seen
I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen
Everybody knows me now

Look up here, man, I’m in danger
I’ve got nothing left to lose
I’m so high, it makes my brain whirl
Dropped my cell phone down below
Ain’t that just like me?

By the time I got to New York
I was living like a king
Then I used up all my money
I was looking for your ass

This way or no way
You know I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Now, ain’t that just like me?

Oh, I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Oh, I’ll be free
Ain’t that just like me?



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Winnie the Pooh Wisdom


Do loved ones who have passed send messages from the beyond?

One night, I was thinking of my mom and dad very deeply. There were memories and tears. Since they both passed (Mom in 2009 and dad in 2010) I’ve always hoped (and perhaps…sensed?) they were watching over me.

Then, sometimes – it feels like they are not. Like they have moved on into deep space, where things are so awesome, psychedelic and divine, that they couldn’t give a damn about hovering over me like Casper the Ghost.

Or, maybe they’re in the middle of a nothing dream. Nowhere.

It felt that way that night. There was a sense of being…alone. Really alone. I never feel “really feel alone”. Even before my parents’ death, there’s been a lingering sensation that a presence, some unknown angel or decease relative, has been with me.

Maybe it’s an old imaginary friend I never gave up as a child.

Or maybe it’s a real other worldly being assigned to me, as some believe happens before birth. (I’m on the fence about these beliefs.)

After my folks died, there was a feeling that this lingering presence was joined by them.

My dad, comes through strongly. Although I love my mother, my father was the closest connection to me. We were cut from the same cloth.  I was born the day after his birthday. We were/are both Sagittarius. I was daddy’s girl.

That night, feeling like I was flapping in the cosmic wind, I went to bed with my iPad and went on Facebook to see what was up.

Then I saw the Winnie The Pooh quote above.

I adored Winnie The Pooh as a child, and still hold the character dear to my heart. I even own a series of Milne’s rough sketches.

Maybe it was a sign from Dad telling me he was still around? Who knows. Until it’s my time to leave, maybe these notes and the belief they appeared at the right moment, is enough for me to believe.


“Here Come the Hills of Time…”

Painting via The Glen C. Janss Collection, Idaho

“The buildings of New York look just like mountains through the snow…” Kate Bush

There’s a man who works at the commissary at the studio where I’m employed. His name is Craig. He’s likely in his mid-forties or early fifties. He’s short and sweet with salt and pepper hair.  He thrives on saying hello and asking you how your day is going. Craig also has Down Syndrome. Highly functioning, he knows his job and is very responsible. He has to be.

Craig always brings up his parents who both died twelve years ago. He brings them up each time I speak with him, forgetting he’s mentioned it before. Their deaths are always right there on the surface for him, hanging above his head within reach. He’s in constant mourning. You’ll find him sitting alone in his dark commissary uniform, black apron and cap staring with sadness.  He sometimes seems, from afar anyway – lost in the madness of this world, trying to comprehend it through the challenged body he’s been given.

He travels in from Culver City to Hollywood everyday. He loves living there. He lives in an apartment, but is always dismayed at the litter and the bad behavior of the neighborhood children. As disjointed as that last sentence is – it’s exactly how he imparts his world to me. Feelings and quick bites of information coming through his heartbroken smile. He doesn’t go into any details. Craig usually brings up how he’s had to cope with being alone and become a member of society when his parents died before you can ask him. I let him speak. I understand his loss; yet, I’m also concerned. Without his parents – who will take care of him? It seems Craig is determined to take care of himself. But he wears a long chain tied to their absence.

Craig and I do have one thing in common. We are both alone –  parent-less – orphaned at an older age. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you’ll always be a kid left alone. But, if you’ve handled the cuts and gashes of life well, you’ll find the strength to handle the loss when the time comes.

There’s a certain beauty in continuing life in the aftermath of loss. You become the living embodiment of “life goes on”. The sun rises on another day. You take another breath. You get out of bed. You go on with your tasks and build new dreams.

You move along until you come across an old inactive phone number on you cell phone contact list labeled “Mom & Dad – HOME”.

I was listening to a song by Kate Bush last night called “Moments of Pleasure”. It was written in the early 90’s when Kate broke up with her longtime boyfriend and also suffered the sadness of losing her beloved mom. The song sings about those who pass on and those who are left behind to suffer the hurt of life, the beauty of life, the gift of memories that time leaves behind.

When loved ones die, timelines seem to become shrines in your mind – alters to moments when your loved ones were alive and time slipped through. You never realized you would ache to go back, to talk to your parents and appreciate their presence, every ounce, ever single particle. Life’s texture is now divided between “before parents’ death” and “after parents’ death”. The new normal you have to deal with everyday is something you get used to, but it never sits well.

Time is like hills, I guess.  I wonder if going back in time and climbing them builds the muscle you need to go on and make new moments.

Craig is taking it day by day by waking up each morning, taking the bus from Culver City to Hollywood and having a job to do. Although I hope he can really move on – these daily tasks may just be enough for him to get by.


Hi Dad. Where Are you?

meadowI’ve been thinking about my father’s spirit lately. He died almost five years ago – on Father’s Day 2010.  Within those five years I’ve wondered if he is around me. Is his spirit watching over me? Does he support me? Protect me? Send me doses of spiritual comfort when I’m down? Does he still send love?  I’ve even tried a medium or two to see if he wanted to talk to me – possibly solidifying if he’s really there, just beyond reach, on the other side of the veil.

Nothing. Mediums have the ability to hear the spirits of loved ones, but they never hear my father. Other people always come through.

My father and I had a very clear, spiritual connection. I was a daddy’s girl – a chip off the old block. His birthday was December 18th – mine is December 19th.  We were buddies in birthdays, kindred spirits. When I was small, he was my hero. I remember one time I was holding his hand. He let go for a moment to light a cigarette (it was the late 60’s). After a moment, I reached up for his hand again and grabbed what I thought was his. I looked up to find it was my step-grandfather’s – a stranger to me. I screamed. I wanted my dad.

There’s a memory I have of my father that always gets me right in the chest. It’s a memory I have of him when I was very small. I was at the doctor’s office for a routine exam and I was terrified. My father, knowing my stress, stood before me and held my hand, calming me down. Even as a healthy, small child I knew this moment would stay with me forever. I was so grateful for my dad.  The memory is almost an out of body experience. I remember it as if I am watching it on film.

As I grew up, he was always my best friend. He gave me the best advice. He gave me a good home, a great education and a solid sounding board when I was down. We had the same temper. The same stubbornness, and the same ability to dream.  We were independent. We also were laid back and easy going – the kind of people other people wanted to bounce off ideas and speak to confidentially. We are both non-judgmental when it counts – opinionated when is doesn’t.  (We’re Sagittarius. We put our foot in our mouths).

I dream about my dad. Sometimes he just appears silently, standing by – not saying a word. Other times he’ll be with me, and he’ll be his old self – not in a hospital bed unable to get up – but as his old vital self, driving his car, going places, looking as healthy as he did twenty years ago. It feels so real that I’m elated by his normalcy- the way it used to be. No more illness. No more frailty. See? Dad’s back! Isn’t it amazing he’s recovered and no longer ill? Just my strong dad taking the Buick down to our town’s little village to buy some milk. It feels so real.

Then I wake up, and the reality hits me.

Our connection is so deep that I feel my dad doesn’t want to filter it through a stranger. He always spoke face to face, evading nothing – never needing a mediator to communicate with me. We always had an open line to each other – even when we’d have a big fight and I would give him the silent treatment for weeks until I saw how much it hurt him – we had a connection.

Some people sense a psychic turn when a loved one dies. There was never a day so electric with psychic power than the day I picked up his (and my mother’s) ashes from the funeral home. I trained it from New York City to White Plains and took a taxi to the establishment. The driver was talking to his dispatcher on his cell phone, and the radio was turn down very low. He finished his call, and the low white noise from the station continued for about a minute before the driver suddenly decided to turn up the dial on the radio. At first, I hardly listened. A delayed reaction to a Rod Stewart song that was dentist office wallpaper to me – a re-written version of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young”. (I prefer Dylan’s version.)  At one point, something took hold of me, like I was in a meditative state singling out words I’d never heard before:

“And when you finally fly away
I’ll be hoping that I served you well
For all the wisdom of a lifetime
No one can ever tell

But whatever road you choose
I’m right behind you, win or lose
Forever Young, Forever Young..”

It was one of the first times I can remember crying without realizing I was crying.  It felt like he was sending me this message. I knew I was on the brink of moving to Los Angeles. He knew it before he died that I wanted to make this change. “You will,” he said in his hospital gown under blankets, “You will.”

I asked the taxi driver to wait while I went inside this stately place to pick up the remains. When I returned to the taxi several minutes later with two canisters filled with my parents, the radio station was playing The Spinners:

“Whenever you call me, I’ll be there
Whenever you want me, I’ll be there
Whenever you need me, I’ll be there
I’ll be around…”

It was a sensitive day. Perhaps my mind wanted to believe it was my dad (and mom) sending me a reassuring sign. Or maybe it was a coincidence. But I felt it in my bones. This was meaningful.

I’ll keep listening. Maybe my dad will whisper something to me, or show me another sign.

But wait. While finishing up this blog post, something made me leave this page to check something on my Gmail account.   Right on top of all my email, sent within a few minutes before my eyes landed on it, I saw this:


Hi Dad.

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What Dreams May Come, When We Have Shuffled Off This Mortal Coil…

I encourage anyone who reads this post to share your feelings about Robin Williams, depression and loss in the comments section. Let’s have a conversation.

It’s been over a week since the loss of Robin Williams. As one day moves forward into the next, turning that sad day to dust in our rear view mirror, the sadness overwhelms me now more than ever. My Netflix account has been busy, streaming his films: The Fisher King, Hook, The Birdcage. These are films I had seen years ago, but it was like viewing them for the first time. Each moment of the master gave me pause – each conversation and reaction. I drink in his presence, and cling to a beauty I’ve never noticed so acutely before. That’s all we have left of him. His films. The twinkle in his eye. The shazbots and the nanu’s, the “Oh Captain, my captains”… His talent was like a taste of God touching down on Earth. A little heaven. At least he gave us light for a little while. He’s not of this world anymore.

Trying to make sense of the whys of his situation is a tough one. We’re strangers to the man. He gave so much to us, that his own mind and sanity is private – something only he and his family will and should know. Yet, how many of us have fallen into the hole? How many of us have wanted to walk off the precipice of this world, and take a dive to nowhere. I’m trying to make sense of it. He didn’t die from an illness like cancer or was killed in a car or airplane crash. He died from an illness that lead him to take his own life. It was preventable. Only one phone call, or just taking stock and stepping away from that room to slip under the covers with his wife on an ordinary night, sleeping an ordinary sleep, waking up on an ordinary day . But no.

My heart sinks just trying to imagine those last moments. I flush from my mind all the graphic details the Marin County police department released. Yet, I still cannot imagine, someone so intent on dieing, that when one method didn’t work, he went for something else to take him out.

What could have been in his mind to let him make the final decision? Did he feel he was a failure? Did he feel alone in a world of so many people who loved him? Did he justify his decision to end it all by convincing himself that his wife and kids would be better off without him?

Shut the door on this sadness. Remember his laughter. And if you are depressed and are thinking of suicide, please don’t…don’t…don’t do it. Know that someone loves you. Know that you will get out of this. Know that if you decide to leap from that precipice, you will create a hole in the lives of many. And you don’t have to be as famous as Robin to do that.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255