Tears of a Clown

Sorry guys that I have been off-line for nearly a month. During the month of December, I get pretty crazy because of the New Year’s Eve Festival that I direct Bright Night Providence,
and that would normally be enough to put me off of posting for a while (although perhaps not quite so long as this)

I had a personal tragedy befall me, which I’m sad to report will happen to nearly everyone, if it hasn’t happened to you already. My mom passed away on December 29.

(The next part is more about her and her story, so if you are expecting anything but the tears of a clown at this point, best not read the rest of the post– I’ll start posting more clown related stuff in the next few days.)

Although I should have been expecting it (she had been sick for a number of years– five years ago they gave her 6 months to live) but she kept on beating the odds– she’d go in for a procedure, and it would be a success, or she’d have radiation, and not have really awful side effects (at least none that she’d tell me about)

So when she went in for a surprise late procedure on December 17 (the day I taught my final clown exam at URI) and the doctor’s reported total success, I was relieved and kind of expected it. She came out of the hospital the next day (I was staying with her to do Bright Night stuff, and I picked her up, and her spirits were great, and she looked great) I didn’t expect anything would go wrong.

The next morning, I woke up and realized that she wasn’t awake. I checked in on her, and she seemed slumped over, and sleeping wrong. I went in and tried to wake her up, and wasn’t able to get her up coherently. I realized something bad was happening, and after a brief call to her hospital nurse to ensure this wasn’t normal, I called 911.

It turned out she had a pneumonia that may have been masked by a steroid she had been taking to help her breathe better. They certainly hadn’t seen it in the hospital the day before.

She had to be put on a respirator to help her breathe, and they gave her antibiotics for the pneumonia. Over the next 10 days, the pneumonia was beaten down by the antibiotics, but that affected her kidney’s operations. They tried to dialysize her, but when they did her blood pressure dropped precipitously low, and they had to stop. After several attempts,
the doctor’s decided that they would not be able to dialysize her kidneys.

My mom had left very strict instructions that she did not want to be kept artificially alive, so knowing that, and having exhausted our medical options, we took her off the respirator, and she died about 8 hours later, on 12/29 at around 2:15 am, in her sleep and without pain. She was buried one day later on December 30.

It was pretty difficult, but I continued to work on New Year’s Eve, because
a) I don’t know how to do anything else. My training is, like most performers, to go on at any circumstance.
b) I am very clear that if somehow I didn’t go on and make sure that Bright Night happened, that my mom would rise from her newly formed grave and smite me down.

Thankfully, my family and friends and Bright Night staff all kicked in, and helped make it possible, as I was fairly numb during the night. I’m not sure how I got through the radio and television interviews (one radio interview was at 7:10 am the morning she passed away.) but I managed to get to the other side of it.

And here I am now. My mom was very proud of bright night and my work as a performer and director (she often liked to shock people with the line “My son the clown”) Other than occasionally complaining that I should either become a fulltime teacher, or at the very least, make more money, my mom was one of my biggest fans.

Hey, thank you for reading this if you have. And I promise, 2008 will have more clown stuff on these pages.

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