Saturday, August 6, 2016

My biggest reason for disliking (I started to write "hating" but I don't want to be a hater) the Blue Angels is because of my friend Claude. He died of AIDS in 1992 in Bailey-Boushay here in Seattle. I spent a lot of time with Claude at the end of his life. Three days before he died he was going in and out of consciousness like dying people often do. 

I was sitting with him when the Blue Angels flew over Bailey-Boushay. He opened his eyes in terror and cried, "What is that?!" Now Claude was a deeply spiritual person and we had very open and direct conversations about dying, death and the possibility of an afterlife. 

So when I answered, "The Blue Angels," he sat up gasping in horror. 

"Angels? Are you sure? Are they coming for me?" The noise was deafening, frightening. 

I tried to explain but I had to shout over the noise which just upset Claude even more. He grasped my arm with that unexplainable strength of a dying person and shouted, "Why are you screaming?" This would have been funny if he were not so terrified, and drug addled and, well--dying. 

All I could do was lean over and hold his bony body and pat his shoulder blades that stuck out like pancake turners. "It's okay, it's okay. You are safe." 

I was glad he couldn't see me crying. I, too felt scared as if we were under attack--and of course we were--but not by the Blue Angels. 

Now every time I hear or see the Blue Angels I have that same angry/sad/ terrified reaction and have to tell myself, "It's okay, it's okay. You are safe."