Elsa P Meets Ronald McDonald

ronald mcdonaldI was talking to my doctor yesterday about what happens to people who go through an extreme trial of some kind. I have been haunted by the memory of a man I knew briefly, since. Don’t know why this is era is coming up at this time because the Chief of Police’s son, who I mentioned yesterday was from the same era but anyway, this guy was a clown.

He was an actual clown and an extraordinarily good one because he got to be Ronald McDonald for the region which was something seeing as he lived in the town of about 25 people that neighbored my town of about the same number. So if you imagine that, we were pretty isolated but he’d nailed this big job. If you think they let some yahoo play Ronald, you’re wrong. This guy was accomplished. And he did magic, of course.

I met him one week after he’d been in a catastrophic accident and walked away unscathed. He was in the news in the small town in the area. Though I did not see the accident, he showed me the pictures of his (ex) car. We hit it off, in a sibling sort of way.

We started going to lunch and talking on the phone, frequently. He was funny and very articulate about what he was going through post that accident. Deeply affected, he expressed his emotion and his gratitude at being spared and mostly I listened. I was sort of in awe of him. He was high-minded and just so quirky living out where he did. Of course we project our 7th house. I was pretty quirky living out where I did, but whatever.  ::laughs::

I’d known him about a month when he called me, sobbing to tell me his sister had just committed suicide. What?

Through wracking sobs and emotion he told me he had other calls to make and asked that I please call him the next day.

Short story shorter, he got real quiet after that. He would call me most nights and I would just be on the phone with him. Sometimes we would just be quiet, other times I would talk into the nothing and he would almost never respond except to let me know when he was going to hang up. I was about twenty-six at the time. I grew increasingly worried about him.

Three weeks or a month after the death, we had this conversation.

“I want you to leave the house. Can you leave the house? I want you to come out with me. Let’s go out, okay? Please, let’s go have a margarita.”

No answer.

“Can you do it? I will come get you. I just want you to… you have not left the house. Come have lunch with me? We can go late so there will be no one there. Two-o-clock?” I named the restaurant I had in mind. “Come on, it’s hot as hell. It’s cool in that place, we can sit in the back room and tell them to leave us alone. Look, I’m worried about you. Are you even eating?’


“Okay, well today we’re going to eat. Can I come get you?”

He said yes.

A couple hours later I picked him up and we went to the deserted restaurant with the tile floors and the brightly painted tables. We sat in the back dining room. He was in decent spirits though he looked smaller. He told me some jokes and we ordered our lunch and a pitcher of margaritas.

The waitress brought out food and I watched him struggle to eat. Within a minute or so, slow tears started running down his face and I almost gagged. Tears of a clown, see? Do you know the song? I was shaken.

“It’s too soon?” I asked.


“Let’s get out of here,” I said, making everything go away / paving the way for our escape as quickly as I could.

I drove him home and I never saw him again. He called me a few days later to tell me he was leaving town, see. Because his sister was dead and she lived in the town too. He figured between the accident and his sister’s suicide… well he thought it was a sign.

To this day, I feel bad about dragging him to that restaurant. I took a chance, you know? I gambled and lost and I regret it to this day.

Have you ever been someone’s support when tragedy is fresh? How did you cope? Got Scorpio? 8th House?

*Note – I wrote this in 2007. I’m pulling it up, because I want to talk about some other things, that relate to this man.  This is your backstory or your additional information.

5 thoughts on “Elsa P Meets Ronald McDonald”

  1. Oh yeah, quite often. It comes naturally, coping has never entered my mind. I don’t have to think about it, I just do. I have been told my knack in those times is to make people laugh and to feel comforted.

  2. …Scorpio Ascendent…
    I am the go-to person in our group of friends, both online and off, when people are in tragedy. I think it’s because I almost immediately put them at ease, and they’re able to openly talk to me. Kinda like I absorb their pain, and sometimes I have to do some meditation/cleansing to release everything I have built up in my system. Because if I don’t, omigods, I become very unstable and easily fall into a deep depression.

    But I wouldn’t give it up for the world, given that much trust and a safe place for people to release. I just have to remember to take care of myself, too. 😀

  3. yes.
    it’s difficult- grief is so complicated. i just try my best to be there, to make sure whoever they are knows that i’m there for them, and be very very gentle.
    you can’t take responsibility for someone else’s grief process. it’s so turbulent and erratic and the needs of someone like that change so quickly.

    so you just stand on the edge of the tides and wait for someone to come to you as they would… and make sure they know you’re there whenever they’re ready to come out of their inner space.

    also. he may have needed to leave. even in a large town, you can be constantly assaulted by memories of the person who’s missing simply by traveling the same routes and seeing the same things. i imagine that can be even more profound in a small place.

    you can never blame yourself for showing someone you care about them, even if they respond like that… given time the fact that you tried and thought it was worth trying will mean something, it’s just hard for that kind of recognition to break through thick grief quickly.

    my 8th house is venus, sun, and chiron. all i have in scorpio is uranus

  4. Elsa, your last sentence shocked the hell out of me.
    I assumed your kindness empowered him to not only finally leave his house, but leave the painful past and move into the land of the living. Is it possible you have not considered the idea that rather than you losing, you gained?

    I, for one, never stay at the scene of a tragedy (4th House Sun). Never, ever, ever. And I suspect it’s possible this man might be the same.

  5. kashmiri – I have thought of that but I still have the feelings I have. I don’t think feelings are logical. You just have them.

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