I know many of you see me as a big mouthed often positive guy, but the key words there are "Big Mouthed" and while I really prefer to put up positive, and supportive things, I am about to burst!
After nearly three months since Gretchen's death, I find myself getting angry, short tempered, and very hard on myself. I don't know why but I am letting off the gas pedal and for the first time in decades really feeling like quitting everything. I mean EVERYTHING.
First off I must say SHAME ON YOU to Syncrony Bank above everyone as 89 calls and repeated battering are enough! Next to Bank of America, Recology of SF, The City and County of San Francisco, The California Franchise Tax Board, PG&E, Verizon, UCSF Medical Center and the hundreds of bill collectors who have made me jump through hoops not one, two, three or four times but up to SEVEN times just to have the same conversation about changing a user name to me or a password to mine. SHAME ON YOU AND YOUR PROCESSES AND TOTAL LACK OF HUMANITY. And SHAME on your for your relentless attempts at bill collection even after knowing my situation.
I have integrity, and everyone will get paid and it will take time but if any of you were privy to the horrible calls and "customer service" agents who are so trained to stick to the script you would be appalled. A typical conversation starts with, "I'm sorry for your loss, when can we expect payment for..." or "We understand you are the account holder, but we need to speak with Gretchen." And then after the third time in one conversation of saying, "She's DEAD!" I get either disconnected or I choose to hang up. It's honestly MADDENING!
I want to thank Janet Fanska, TJ Pantaleo, Merrill Lynch, Pan Pacific Bank, and all of the Partners and Vendors of The Box SF and Charles Schwab our biggest Client Reflectur for their understanding and total compassion for my situation. All of these folks are true partners who have not lost their humanity and relationship based approach to business.
I'm fucking doing my best, working 18 hours a day, sleeping 3-5 hours and getting up and starting again. I am trying to keep the businesses afloat, do my events because I feel it is in integrity to my network and my members of The Art of Active Networking. I've hired, trained and am maintaining an entirely new staff here at THE BOX SF who by the way are the best team I have ever had here. To work daily with Gretchen Sackett's sisters, Aimee Louise Ay and Elisa Lindenmayer who have been non-stop helping up at the house and especially to Elisa who has helped me so much here at the studios and offices. And I am always and ever grateful to George White IIIand James Sakamoto for being with us now for decades and for the myriad of things they do for Reflectur.
We are all exhausted.
The creditors are winning, the system is winning and while I will continue to do my best each day because I am here and alive and able to do so for now, my patience and tenacity are wearing thin. But know that right now, the BASTARDS are winning and when this is all said and done, and if and when I survive all this with any of myself left in tact, I will tell you all the full story so that this never ever happens to someone again.
I am working today towards gratitude, I am working today towards digging out, I am working today towards survival and to try to save what took over 38 years together to build. Who knows what will happen.
Right now I am guilting myself for not getting enough done this week, for letting off the gas pedal, for sliding backwards in the face of so much that needs to be done and for trying to do it all with limited resources, tied up bank accounts and probate court and a tangled mess we have unearthed.
Gretchen worked so very hard each day, she never let off the gas, I think it is in part what killed her. I am trying to see the lessons in this, I am trying to be more compassionate and giving to those around me, I am doing my damned best, but I am slamming against the wall repeatedly, and I think the anger is coming from deep inside of me at the realization that they might just win! And anyone who knows me knows how much I detest bullies and injustice.
Gretchen would always say, just kill em with kindness. Well Gretchen I am trying but it's not working.
Today while guilting myself for not working hard, and for even taking a moment to write this email, I watch as my "Things to do now" list gets longer.
I am using my clarity tools, meditating, taking deep breaths and doing all those positive things they tell us to do. Yet the walls are closing in.
On October 30th, Gretchen will have been 60 years old. She looked about 40, flawless skin, eternal optimism, kindness like you have never seen. I could never live up to that for sure, few could. I will leave on the 29th, head South on the West Coast from San Francisco to spread her ashes and the ashes of her cats who have passed away over the years, because that's what she requested. I figure her Birthday, All Hallow's Eve is the perfect time to do that. I will take the one wine from our cellar that we both loved most and I will toast her and release her. Some of her ashes will be transported back to New York to be spread over some family land where her Father rests.
She was most certainly a foundation under every idea and move in my life for 38 years, in friendship, in love, in marriage, in business, in divorce, in partnership and in everything. Perhaps this will let me properly grieve and say goodbye. Perhaps this will release some of the pressure building inside of me. Perhaps she will surround me and let me know that this too will pass.
For those of you who actually read this... thank you!