Friday, October 30, 2015

Ghosts and Citronella Candles - A Parenting Lesson from My Father


When I was in the second grade, Halloween fell on a Saturday which meant that as a family, we could escape the city for the weekend for our cottage in Westhampton Beach. The best part of this was trick-or-treating with my best friends who lived next door. After that, we went to a party at the elementary school complete with apple bobbing, hanging marshmallows, and a terrifying haunted house courtesy of those larger than life sixth graders. My neighbors dressed as bunnies. I dressed as a bumble bee. Another friend was a “ballerina fairy.” Such was the simplicity of little girl costumes.

That was the last Halloween I spent with my father. He died that winter. I still remember his walking with my friends’ mother, keeping a safe distance and a close eye on the little girls collecting their pennies (yes, pennies), candy corn and pop corn balls at each neighbor’s house.

The ballerina fairy, who had been left in the care of my parents for the weekend, refused to wear a jacket over her costume. A litigator, my father knew better than to negotiate with a child. Without raising his voice, “Claire. Just. Put. The jacket. On.” Then he walked away. She hurumphed but put the jacket on. For some reason, this is one of my most vivid memories of his “parenting style.” It’s probably because I struggle with it. Perhaps I’d say, “Claire, the temperature is falling, put your coat on, please.” I would open the door for the inevitable, “I’m not cold.”

Jack Lowe parenting lesson #1 — Don’t open the door for discussion. We don’t negotiate about coats with seven-year-olds.
Even years later, when something just had to be done (say snow boots with that Betsey Johnson miniskirt in high school), those of us who watched Claire’s coat battle would say, “Claire. Just. Put. The Jacket. On,” and dissolve into giggles.

Even then, I knew there were ghosts everywhere. Many houses on the street were already closed up for winter, haunted with the summer before, suspended in time until the days grew longer and the owners returned for another season. Ghosts hid in the unraked leaves crunching under our sneakers, in the tunnel underneath the giant rhododendron in the front yard, in the little red shed with the spider web covered windows out back. What I didn’t understand were that the ghosts, figments of my imagination, would persist and co-exist in my life as memory and dreams. When they used to hold just enough power for me to fear them, now they hold the power to ground me. They come when I least expect them, but most need them. Halloween holds magic for children — it’s different than other holidays because they invent it for themselves as they dress-up and decorate homes. They are the characters, not some abstraction in a red suit. This year, my own daughter will dress up as Laura Ingalls Wilder. She’s been waiting for this for weeks. Our yard has a “friendly” ghost hanging from a tree that has the effect of scaring me every time I see it out of the corner of my eye.

This morning, as I went to wake six-year-old Ellie, the smell of her citronella shampoo took me back to that house. My mother lit the evenings eating on the porch with yellow citronella candles in metal buckets. I remember that Halloween and can only hope that she’ll remember this one some day. That smell is the ghost of that house and those days, just back for a brief visit. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

5 Things I Wish You Knew About The Suicide Griever

Today is National Suicide Prevention Day. I lost a friend and father figure to suicide when I was twelve. In many ways, I believe that loss had more effect on me than the loss of my own father when I was eight.  I can never speak for all the grieving or any of them. Either way, here are some things I wish people knew.

  1.  I don’t tell you about this loss because I can’t stand the look on your face when I do. Many people in the U.S. are very uncomfortable with death and mortality. When it comes to suicide, it’s even more pronounced. That flinch – you know the one I’m writing about – it says “Oh I’m so sorry,” and “Please don’t let that happen to me.”  It also says, to me, “Didn’t you know?”  Of course I didn’t (at least not at the time) and for that I am forever sorry.
  2.  My head knows it wasn’t my fault but my heart does not. Every time I think about the night he locked himself in that basement, I wonder if I hadn’t tried harder to open the door, blocked him as walked down the stairs, behaved better, whined less, showed my love more and a million other things if he’d be sitting across from me today. Clocks only turn in one direction and I don’t have that choice to make again. I have different choices.
  3.  Mental illnesses can be terminal. There are people walking around today with profound depression. We don’t understand and they aren’t getting the help they need. Their illness is as acute as someone with stage 4 liver cancer but we don’t think of their illness that way. When they die, we don’t think of them the same way as we do someone who died of stage 4 liver cancer. It is because we still blame the person even if we don’t mean to. This is wrong and we must change our thinking.
  4. I can’t unsee certain things, but that doesn’t mean I am broken. The memory of his body being wheeled out in a black zippered bag, attached to a stretcher with yellow stretchy seat-belts, will forever haunt me. I saw it from my bedroom window. It bounced, without reverence, over the lawn into an ambulance in the driveway. It’s dark and horrible, but it’s always there. If I look like my mind is far away, it probably is. Even with that, I am able to live my life. Just because have a traumatic memory doesn’t mean I can’t live a happy, mentally healthy life.
  5. Life with him was wonderful. When someone dies from suicide there in an underlying assumption that person was visibly depressed, possibly making bad choices, and hurting others around them. That’s not the case for me. My neighbor was capable of the greatest joy of anyone I’ve ever known save my six-year-old daughter. I never knew an adult who could play with such childlike enthusiasm and abandon. We played an elaborate game of tag. He was lizard-man. His long arms were his jaws snapping at us as we ran away to base squealing in delight/terror. I miss that and only hope that I can bring one tenth of his warmth to my own play with my daughter.

My neighbor loved us. I know that he did. I still love him and remember his capacity for joy, excellence, and compassion. He understood what it was like for me to have lost my father when I was eight because he did too. It took me a long time to realize how ill he was – to comprehend that he was a terminally ill man living his life right in front of me.

This year, I promise to ask the questions I am afraid to ask. I will not be shy if I think someone is struggling. It may not help, but it may stop one child from growing up without a dad, a father-figure neighbor, or always worrying that someone they love is going to die.  I can do that. We all can. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Be A New Orleanian Wherever You Are

The radio played Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends.” I started to cry waiting for the red light to change. It’s been ten years to the day since the Friday night a group of us ate dinner at G.W. Fins, drank the champagne of beers out of plastic champagne trays (Miller Hi-Life for the uninitiated) at Lucy’s Retired Surfer Bar before ending the night in the courtyard of Pat O’s. We teased our friend about having to go to the bank’s recovery center the next day. He worked in IT for the bank and always had a trip to Shreveport when there was a storm in the Gulf. 
Have I changed since then? Perhaps. Defintely. Not at all. I have a new career, a child, lived in four more places, but I still can be the same person who drove out of New Orleans on the Saturday of August 28, 2005 with three days worth of clothes, my husband, my West highland terrier –Cole  (for John Coltrane), and my wedding album in my overheating car. 

I forgot my toothbrush. It's comforting now to know that I can survive anywhere with very little. Like thousands of other people, we drove to a hotel in Houston, thinking it would only be for a few nights. Unlike thousands of others, we were among the lucky ones. Our apartment was virtually undamaged and I had a job. The bank I worked for had a place for me at work by 9:00 a.m. on Monday morning, figuring out how we should talk to our customers. We all thought we'd dodged a bullet. Then, I heard someone yell, "The levee's gone." I popped my little gopher head out of my cube and looked around. The two others from New Orleans popped up as well. This changed everything. No one was going home on Tuesday.

Because my husband and I lived just over the Parish line, we were allowed back into Jefferson Parish for one day to pick up things from our home. We stopped at the business banking center just outside the city to collect some files and my husband's car - parked three stories up for safety. We walked onto the dark floor and saw light coming from a corner office. "There's power!" I must have said.
"No. That's the sky." My husband answered.

I always go back to that moment when I underestimate life. "No. That's the sky." Life will throw at your more in a day than you could handle when you woke up. By the time you go to sleep, you're better for having had to look at whatever reality the day gave you. The sight of National Guard Tanks and troops on Clearview are my only understanding of what it must be like to live in an occupied territory. Nothing is real and nothing is yours. Everyone is afraid. Many of those men and women had families strewn across the country, lost homes themselves and yet there they were - saving their homeland. To this day, a nation owes them its gratitude. We drove back to Houston that afternoon and stayed until the end of December.

I moved away from New Orleans in June of 2006 for my husband’s schooling. It was the hardest move I’ve ever made. The last night in town, I ate dinner at Jacque’s Imo’s. Jack Leonardi came over to the table, “Ah, the last supper. We’ve had a lot of those,” he said as he scratched his beard. I choked back disappointment and regret. There isn’t a good word to describe what it feels like to leave New Orleans. People have tried. Louis Armstrong “Knows What It Means to Miss New Orleans.” Kermit Ruffins reminds us, “when you’re feeling down and out and there’s no way out, you get dropped off in New Orleans.” But how do I explain this to someone who hasn't’ lived there?
New Orleans is more than a place to me. It’s a Universe. The air in the city, that humid, muggy steam. It’s a ghost constantly touching your shoulders, sometimes suffocating you, sometimes tapping you just lightly enough to know it's there.  There’s music everywhere. It sustains you. But what’s really different about New Orleans is the people. For me, it was the first time I found people I trusted enough to let myself be myself in public. It was probably the only time. It works there because the people I met didn’t simply identify with their work or their accomplishments, they identified with what made them happy – being in a great city, eating great food, listening to great music, and being together. It didn’t matter how much money you made or what car you drove. Somehow we were all in together. 

I remember watching fireworks over the Mississippi River on New Year’s Eve 2005. We came back from Houston that morning darned if we weren’t to start the new year in the place we loved more than anywhere. With each boom, another exclamation point added itself to the rebirth of the place we’d seen take such trauma.  The last six months I spent in New Orleans were among
the happiest in my life. I knew we were leaving and I felt guilty and sad about that but I also let myself say “Yes” to everything the city offered – every festival, every restaurant, every re-opening.

Our bank was acquired by a much larger national bank. We had great laughs when our new boss from far away called to ask me if everyone had the flu? “The Jazz Fest flu.” I replied. It was the local’s Thursday of Jazz Fest. Our office was empty. He was a good man but he’d never be one of us – the ones who stayed until Bruce Springsteen closed out the first weekend – the ones who didn’t waste time arguing about how to recognize Mardi Gras in a national company (it didn’t matter. No one was coming to work that day so policy was irrelevant) – the ones who cannot abide a sazaurac made with anything but Peychaud’s bitters – the ones who think that all anyone in heaven eats is Crawfish Monica. So even though, I miss that city that care forgot, I am lucky. My life is blessed with the ability to “Be A New Orleanian Wherever You Are,” and to know exactly what that means. 

Perhaps my greatest honor, was bringing my own child back to the place I love so much. She was four and thought Mardi Gras was a party the city put on just for her. It was my birthday so I told her, "No it's a party they put on just for me. And the whole world too." Many of my friends in Northen California raised an eyebrow, "You're taking your child to... Mardi Gras?" "Yes." I replied. New Orelans and Katrina taught me not to explain. Those who need an explanation will never understand and those who don't understand already. She sat atop her father's shoulders collecting throws, she saw the white tiger at the Audobon zoo, she played with the children of my dear friends and she learned to love a place much earlier than I ever did. How lucky she is that the city picked itself up and made a path out of the flood water?

Friday, May 8, 2015

An Apology To My Grieving Mother on Mother’s Day

Dear Mommy,

I finally realized that we grew up with a similar but different struggle – I without a father from the age of eight and you without a mother from that same age. You go through every Mother’s Day not only as my mother, but also as a daughter looking out on the horizon wondering about your own.  The word unfair is insufficient. While I was busy missing Daddy, you endured missing him without your own mother. It seems safe to guess that my own loneliness, overwhelming at times, is nothing compared to yours.

A couple of days ago, I called you for help with a parenting problem. That’s not true; I called to whine. My own daughter checkmated me when she used scotch tape to create a human-sized spider web during a time-out in her room. You spared me whatever judgment I deserved and just listened. That’s not something I’ve been very good at doing for you. Who did you call when I had a tantrum?

For over 35 years, you protected the bond between us even when I fought against it with ever fiber of my being. I want you to know that I understand why you hold on so tightly. I am sorry that you had to endure my pushing away from you like all children do when so many others left your life too early.

Perhaps I finally grew up the day you took me to Brooklyn. You showed me the house where your mother grew up, her family’s shop, and her high school. It is not lost on me that it’s the same one where you were a student teacher.  At Holy Cross cemetery, as my feet crushed pure snow on my walk to our family plot, I expected to feel some intense emotion related to my own life. All I felt was sad for you and embarrassed for me. Sad because I never thought of you as being sad, but you must have been. Embarrassed because I never thought of how we share not only the hurt of losing Daddy but of being without a parent for most of our lives.  I saw your strength but not your pain.

When you told me about the day your mother died, you said, “I remember sitting in a chair in the living room. The doctor walked out the front door. Our house was silent and dark. No one told the children. I knew my mother was dead. It was another time and adults behaved differently toward children.” You were alone with that knowledge. If I could change anything about your life it would be to go back to the moment and tell you that you will be loved in your life. You are loved.

I contrast that with that February morning the phone rang in our apartment.  New York Hospital called to say that Daddy died. You hung up the phone, looked me in the eye, and said only the truth, “Daddy died. Now that it’s just you and me, that means that you are the person in the world I love more than anyone else.” After that, we laid in your bed for what seemed like hours. We respected each other’s silence, but we did it together.

I think of the many days we drove along the beach, together but silent. My favorite day was when I was in middle school. Somehow I managed to suspend being a thirteen-year-old girl and return to a semi-human state for an entire Sunday in early spring. You parked the blue Volvo at the deserted public beach.

When we reached the top of the stairs, it started to rain. We stood on benches under the partial cover of a wooden lookout tower. After a few minutes, we stepped out into the rain, looked at the grey ocean,  and let the rain and sea spray wash our ancient hurts.

Yesterday, it rained during my own daughter’s softball practice. Like you and I, all those years ago on the beach, she looked up at the sky, closed her eyes and let the water wash over her. When I felt the rain on my skin, I missed that day. I hope she'll never have the kind of pain I've known but if she doesn't she'll also never know the bond that such pain creates.

“My favorite smell is rain-air,” she said.

“Me too.” I said.

So after all this time I’ve spent thinking about the smells that remind me of Daddy, I didn’t realize who my favorite smell reminds me of. The smell of the air just as it starts to rain is the smell of my connection to you. It will always be my favorite. Happy Mother’s Day. I love you.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Did I Just Teach My Daughter to Blame the Victim?

I love the expression, “It floored me.” That’s probably because parenting floors me. All the time. One moment my daughter floors me by saying the wisest thing I can imagine. The next she floors me again by following it with a stunningly childish refusal to eat (anything, ever). Or so it seems.

A few months ago, she floored me when she responded exactly as I imagine my father would have. She reminds me of the sense of right and fairness my father taught me. I have long since buried that sense under a cynical brand of pragmatism that doubles as a shield to any blow the world hands me.

About a boy in her class she said, “He pinches me when we line up and I don’t like that.”

“So what can you do about it? What choices do you have?”


“None? You could step out of line. You can tell him to stop. Use your words.”

“Mommy, I tried using words. He doesn’t stop.”

“Why do you stand near him?”

“Well, I like to be at the front of the line. So does he.” A very clear picture of The US Congress immediately comes across my mind.

“Is being at the front of the line worth getting pinched? You could stand somewhere else.” When I was a child, this solution would have been obvious to me. The front is a battle not worth fighting.

“Mommy, that’s not fair. I should be allowed to stand anywhere in line without worrying about being pinched.” In her words, I heard echoes of my father, for whom the time and place for for justice were always right now and right here. At first, I worried that she will never manage in a world constantly demanding compromise.

What message am I sending her?

Should a woman have to worry about what she wears when she goes out, lest she ask to be raped? Should a woman endure catcalls on the sidewalk simply for walking? Should a woman fear walking under a street light with a blown bulb? Should a girl walk through a high school hallway wearing a backpack so her bra strap isn’t snapped? Should a child hand over her lunch money to a bully?

Anyone should be allowed to wear what they want to, when they want to, wherever they want to. Moreover, no woman should worry that someone will blame her if some harm befalls her when she does.

At five, Ellie knows that her safety in the world is a basic human right and expectation. I hope I never teach her that the victim should have or could have anticipated their treatment. What’s more terrifying is that I think I almost did.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Handling Grief In the Workplace

This piece originally appeared on LinkedIN.

Today on LinkedIn, I clicked on a seemingly kind and lovely blog post one of my connections shared, “16 Signs You Have an Awesome Dad.” I did it because I don’t have an awesome dad. I had one. He died when I was eight. Innocuous posts like these can turn an average day into a flood of memories and emotion. Even thirty years later, little things hang around my world threatening to floor me at any moment. At work, most of the time you just have to breathe and move on. But that doesn't make it go away.
1 in 20 children lose a parent before adulthood. 800,000 Americans are widowed each year. Grieving people are everywhere, including at your workplace. Chances are you passed one in the hallway today. They don’t wear badges or signs. Often they won’t discuss this at work, ever. I know I certainly always avoided the topic.
So what does this have to do with your leadership and your EQ?
Everyone has something going on, including your best team members. Your highest performers rarely share life drama with managers. They simply “handle it” outside of work and move on. They aren’t the ones asking you for a box of Kleenex.
I was at an offsite where a dear friend and colleague received word that his father was dying. From that day, I remember the sun, the one particularly good speaker, and the gorgeous venue. Most of all, I remember my friend’s face when he thought no one was looking. After some prompting he left the offsite to be with his father. Luckily, some close colleagues encouraged him not to wait for an "appropriate exit time." Work could and should wait.
It left me wondering if the host of the offsite ever called him to offer support. I choose to believe so. When my friend came back to work, he picked up as if he’d been on vacation. He only shared with the few of us lucky enough to be considered his close friends. Those must have been some very lonely, difficult days. In that first year, every time someone talked about spending holidays with family or parents coming to visit, he was remembering that he was without.
The only way to help people through rough moments is to develop our Emotional Intelligence. Great people like Daniel GolemanTravis Bradberry and Joshua Freedman are experts in this. One of the main competencies in the Six Seconds EQ model is to “Give Yourself.” And that’s precisely how to help the grieving at work.
How Do You Support Someone Who Isn’t Asking for Anything?
  1. Use Your Non- Standard HR Data – Often, companies grant funeral leave and/or send flowers to funerals. Use this info. Reach out to the people who coordinate these programs and ask for notification when someone in your organization makes use of them. When the person returns, send them a note offering condolences and help. Even if the person never turns to you for help, they will always remember that you were thinking of them.
  2. Include Grief Awareness in Manager Training – Like all people, managers deal directly with grieving employees. They may be afraid to say or do the wrong thing. If nothing else, remind them that their silence speaks louder than any awkward turn of phrase. Consider partnering with a local grief counseling organization for customized help crafting your training. Jeff Haden wrote a great piece about this for Inc.
  3. Be Vulnerable - Remember that everyone, even the people who never complain, experience challenges outside of work. Share your own challenges as appropriate – teams need to see their leaders as being human. Just like they are. Sharing vulnerability is a great way to remain compassionate especially during stressful times.
How have you reached out to employees through rough times? Please share them in the comments.
Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How I Learned to Ski: When the Fall the Saves You

It's a gorgeous morning in Park City, UT. As with all new things, especially ones that involve falling down, skiing fills my chest with anxiety. I’m in my second series of ski lessons. From the flag where we adult learners line up, I can see my fearless five-year-old Ellie balancing on tiny pink and white skis. When we set-off she passes me in the “first timer’s” lift line. She’s laughing and falls down. The ski instructor grabs the handle on the back of the red vest they put on all the little skiers and pulls her back up to standing. My parka has no such handle yet I have a lot farther to fall. She has all her people to pick her up. Ever since my father died, I do not.

            At the end of my lessons, my husband and father-in-law agree to ski down on a green run with me. It’s terrifying - not only might I fall and experience a broken bone or torn ACL, I could slow them down, or they could leave me behind, alone.
On the big lift, I breathe in and out. From my lips, puffs of air form small clouds which tempt me to move my glove off the safety bar to touch them. Below my skis, the tree line changes from bare birch branches, to evergreens, until there is only purple-white snow glistening as it melts in the overwarm March day. The impossibly blue sky deepens through the lens of my goggles. I congratulate myself on my ability to calm my fears, to be present in the moment, and to handle my instinct favoring panic. We reach the top of the lift. I slide down the ramp and glide to a safe stop. So far, so good.

 “Why don’t you go and I’ll follow?” I am back in the state of mind that questions why anyone would find hurling themselves down the side of a mountain at 12 mph fun. Instead, I feel reckless and stupid.
“Six lessons, you can do this,” I tell myself. Pause and breathe again. In that moment, I stop and look to my right. The view from the top of the Earth is miraculous – I feel freedom. Now I understand, people do this for the chance to see the world through Zeus’ eyes.
“Just don’t leave me, ok?”
“Of course, not. We’ll just take our time,” My husband reassures me.
            About six minutes into the run, my husband has taken a different turn. He’s gone. “And there it is,” I sigh.
My father-in-law stays a few yards ahead of me, I follow his tracks until a narrow part of the run where I fall forward trying to avoid two girls who couldn’t be a day older than Ellie. The snow sneaks into the space between my sleeve and my glove. Its cold burns the inside of my wrist enough to distract me. My brain pushes out the failure and humiliation trying to ignite my amygdala – no time for that now. I’m on my side in the middle of a ski run. All I can do is get up.

I recount the steps I learned:
Step one: Skis across the mountain.
Step two: Dig your poles into the mountain above you
Step three: Rise up and lean on your downhill ski.
Step four:  Keep on keeping on
We reach an intersection on the mountain. One direction is blue and the other green. Somehow we end up on the blue. I see my father-in-law scoot over to the “Rest Area.” The pitch, as far as I’m concerned, is vertical. The first obscenity emerges from my mouth. It’s only 100 yards, right?
             As soon as I make my slow, wide, round turn, my body betrays me and leans back. On my side, I am sliding down the mountain. Once I come to a complete stop, I look over to the rest area. My father-in-law has also disappeared from view
“Are you kidding me?” I say out loud. A passing man gives me a look as his impossibly small child zips past me.
I make it to the rest area. By now, I’ve lost control. Frustration lights her match igniting the lonely tinder in my veins. Tears run down my face. Where do I go? Whose tracks can I follow? What if I just can’t do this? How am I supposed to continue?
I head out across the steep slope with my skis almost perpendicular to the mountain. A snowboarder comes close behind me as I turn to the right again. My ski slips, I lean back from my fall and I am down again, flat on my back. I’ve moved no more than 15 yards form the previous fall. “So that’s how this is gonna’ be. Might as well get on with it.”

New instructions for getting up from a fall:
Step One: Breathe.
Step Two: Don’t cry. It won’t help you get out of this.
Step Three: Accept that you are all alone and they aren’t going to help you up. If tears fall anyway, return to Step 2.
Step Four: Breathe again. Decide to get up. Keep on keeping on.

I am up and down again in less than five seconds. Get Up, turn left, fall down. Get up, turn right, fall down. I repeat this at least four more times. Anger, fear, frustration, and abandonment overcome me. “How could they do this to me? They left me here, all by myself. By myself. I have to do this alone – again!” Luckily no one seems to notice that I’m literally talking to myself on the piste.
This is the loneliness of keep on keeping on. It never goes away. It comes back when you’re scared for life, miles from civilization. When you need your own sense of self-worth, when you need to know people love you, when you asked them above all else, “Please don’t leave me.”
They don’t know. They don’t understand what it means to be left behind. And you know they will always leave you. The worst thing that’s ever happened to you and people do it over and over again every single day. Even the ones who are supposed to love you – they forget and leave you by yourself, to find your own way down, even if it means rolling down a mountain and starting an avalanche. That is what it feels like to grieve.
            I channel my anger and play the words I will say to them at the bottom of the mountain, in my mind “You are dead to me.” I charge all the way down the rest of the mountain, falling once or twice until I reach the slower, flatter slope at the end. The foam on my mask is soaked with tears. When I finally get to the bottom, I don’t see them.
Finally, I see my husband. “You left me. Then your dad left me. Then I fell. And I fell and I fell.”
            “Where did you guys go? You must have turned the wrong way.”
Be careful of the words you imagine yourself saying. You may say them. “You’re dead to me.” He laughs until he sees my tears. How can you trust anyone when even the ones who know and love you leave you with your skis in the air, flat on your back on the side of a mountain?
            The next day, in my lesson, I ski that same run with an instructor. When I fall, he tells me to get up and lean forward. Go with the feeling of falling. Use it to pull you down the mountain. Keep on keeping on. I don’t fall again. I carve my ski deeper into each turn. You can’t resist the fall – you have to embrace it.

Learning to ski is learning to live after someone you love, who was supposed to take care of you dies. Only you can trust yourself to finish the run. You have to lean toward the fall - it’s the only way down the mountain.