Midnight Decision

477085398_19c8d6dcf9I married Jamie Faunt, bass player extraordinaire, in 1982; we divorced in 1984; in our time together he introduced me to Scientology, where (I’ve often thought) I squandered too many years of my life. In spite of being out touch for almost a quarter of a century (!), news of his death, which arrived yesterday—a heart attack—rocks me. One marries believing in the happiness to be found in and with another, and in spite of ferocious and understandable disapproval from those who loved me most, I plowed forward with a marriage that was in almost every way a vast mistake. But that does not lessen the power held in that early faith-in-love, and the loss attached to the sudden news of his death is acute. And so it is that early this morning I climbed on a plane to Los Angeles, to join those who’ll celebrate his life at a Sunday memorial. It’s something I would not have done a decade ago—not only because I’d not yet arrived at the glooming peace I’ve finally (mostly) found regarding years I’ve been tempted to think of as lost, but because the older one gets the more important it is to close these circles, and the more vital it seems to seize such opportunities when they present themselves. Friends I’ve not laid eyes on in decades (because when one leaves said Church, one is a good old-fashioned apostate), hearing I’m coming, have arranged pick-up and lodging and gatherings. Other friends, like me long-gone from Scientology, have also decided to attend. Awkward though it will sometimes be, we will stand together, our various faiths hovering around us, in order to honor the life of someone we all loved. And then I will catch a midnight flight, arriving back in Lancaster just in time to teach Myth and Fairy Tale.

About Sands

Writer, musician, teacher, theater artist. Books include the novel CATCHING HEAVEN, a book of essays and exercises, TOOLS OF THE WRITERS CRAFT, and, forthcoming, FLUNK.START: Reclaiming my Decade Lost in Scientology. A CD of my songs is called RUSTLER'S MOON.
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19 Responses to Midnight Decision

  1. Dear Sands. I am so sorry for your loss, and greatly admire your courage to hop on that plane to face what is obviously a very complicated situation. Your words are, as always, elegant.
    Sending lots of love!


  2. Beth says:

    It may at times be a difficult trip Sands, but your heart needs to say goodbye. A love past is still a true love, long after the intensity has become a memory. Fly safe and I hope we have time for that October lunch.

  3. Tom says:

    I guess you can step in the same river twice and very Sands to do so, summoning downstream pilgrims to wade again… in memoriam, who would not? a very complicated situation indeed, can’t wait for the apres post.

  4. Laurie OBrien says:

    Oh dear. I had not heard this news. Wow. We will talk after. Today I will be thinking of you and him, all of it. – Laurie

  5. Sands says:

    Thanks, darling Maggie!

  6. dvision2013 says:

    My Dear SANDS. I’m so sorry to read this, not because I knew Jamie or even you in those days, but because I love you and this must hurt however long ago you put it away. I’m carrying you in my heart today and hope some healing comes from this unasked for reunion. Let’s talk when yo return My love surrounds you. Diane

  7. A beautiful piece, Sands. A tribute to more than one man, one marriage, one dream. It’s all of us. Closing the circles, one by one.
    Christine Hemp

    • Sands says:

      And you, too, had a memorial. Closing the circles indeed. The whole event — precious responses to this post included — has made even more aware of the transcendental power of friendship. Just amazing, and deeply moving.

  8. Hi Ms. Hall, I came across your blog wonderful piece here while on the internet searching for information on Jamie’s memorial service at CC Int. Being a fan of Jamie’s from the past, and an ‘apostate’, myself having had a shortish marriage like you did with a scientologist, I was curious to know how the ceremony went and how you were received by the church membership.

    You’ve not written anything here on your blog since. I hope all is well. Thanks you 🙂

    • Sands says:

      Hi, Mary. Thanks very much for commenting. I had quite a remarkable time during the 24 hours I was in Los Angeles, with friends — some of whom I’d not seen in the 20-odd years since leaving the Church. I did get to work describing those hours, but got distracted by work and deadlines — and by the difficulty, frankly, of articulating that amazing day in anything but sentimental language. Maybe upon rereading I’ll want to finish and post — this letter certainly helps me want to do that. For now, suffice to say that I was greeted with open arms and a huge generosity of spirit. It may have helped that many members of Jamie’s family were present at the Memorial, but that event, largely organized by jazz drummer Tom Mendola (tommendoladrums.com), who I gathered was a friend and colleague of Jamie’s, was thoughtful and respectful — and fun! People told stories, and some wonderful music was played, there was lots of laughter. Just as Jamie would have liked it! It was very easy to imagine him there, grinning, somewhere over our heads. Thanks again for commenting, Mary.

  9. susoyev says:

    Moved as always by your writing and your spirit, dear Sands.

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