The Missing Letter

I have no more words.
Let the soul speak
With the silent articulation
of a face.

– Rumi

 

Sam, Nov 2006

Sam (3/2/98 – 4/30/07) 

He is the missing letter from every one of my words.
And, he is the lost words that I seek.

Though words never can truly describe his essence, the sound of his voice, his wit, his loves, his promise, his unrealized potential…

He is my possible, my dream.
My alternate reality, my quiet.
My left side, my tolerant heart.
My hope for peace, a better ending.

He’s my awareness, my stay in the moment.
My patience—in this space where I wait.
My mystery, my future.
My sight beyond this lifetime.
My unknown, my tears, my smile.
My “What would life be like if…”

He is my humor, my ability to laugh.
At my cluelessness.
And the absurdity of it all.

To the nines

“Form is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly form.”

Buddhist “Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra”


Sam.

It is the year of the Monkey, the ninth of twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac cycle. And, the ninth year of living without you—and your monkey-hugs.

I had you for nine birthdays, nine years. Nine photos on a wall. And now, you’ve been gone for nine years. How can it be? That I had you for as long as I have not had you.

You would be turning eighteen! You’d be graduating in a few months; you would be driving with your brother to school each day; you’d be sitting in the fourth chair at dinnertime; you’d be laughing, flirting, texting, dating; you’d be telling stories, reenacting every hilarious detail; you would be staying up late, and Reggie, your dog, now old and gray, would be curled beside you, snoring and content; you would be….

I suppose the “would-be’s” will continue as long as I am here without you, balancing form and emptiness. And finding within me the courage, the way you did, to continue and never give up.

Joy

Dad and the boys, beach 2003

Dad, Joey, and Sam, 2003

Months after Sam’s death, and shortly before he was gone too, my father, always trying to cheer me on, reassured me that I’d find joy again. I disagreed. I didn’t want joy, happiness. I was consumed with grief, and wanted to die too. He worried about this, I’m sure, which added to his grief.

What I’ve learned about joy over the past eight years:

It’s one of the hardest things you have to do—find joy again, after loss.

It’s never the same kind of joy you felt before, when he or she or they were here, alive.

This joy lies in between the grieving and the living; that middle place where grieving and living coexist.

And in this middle place you find the still point, the peace.

And you find peace when you do whatever it is that makes you happy, no matter how ridiculous.

And whatever it is, it will be enough (for the time being).

And enough is the key.

What else is there in this life?

But the scent of your favorite soap. The sound of a snoring dog. The taste of butter and honey on a waffle. The lunch hour you spend laughing and talking with a close friend. The incredulous smile on the elderly man’s face when you hand back his lottery tickets, after the wind grabbed them away from him in the grocery store parking lot. This moment in between the grieving and the living, when you are running, chasing, and stepping on flying wisps of paper, that is the still point.

And enough, for the time being.

Peace.

My dad (9/1/1935 - 1/9/2008)

My dad (9/1/1935 – 1/9/2008)

Unfriended

“In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends.”

~ John Churton Collins

If you are an underclassman (in your first few years) majoring, involuntarily, in Life after the Death of your Child, you may find yourself bewildered at the flight of your friends, at the loss of your former support system, and at the dead air you’ve heard crackling since the death of your child. The phone has stopped ringing. The emails have ended. The holiday cards are conspicuously absent. The voice messages you left (“Hey, friend’s name here, just checkin in. Hope all’s well. Talk to ya soon. Love ya.”) have yet to be returned. The summer visits are no longer anticipated. The secrets you’ve shared have gone underground. And, at this point you’ve run out of excuses for their absence. You’re angry. Hurt, abandoned—left for dead. And, if it’s even possible, you’re sadness has deepened.

Okay, so this was my experience.

If you have not experienced the disappearing act of friends since your child’s death, then you’re very lucky. For now. And you don’t have to read any further. Unless, you just want to see how this ends.  Continue reading

What I learned from a soldier

Dad

In Memory of my father, Don Everett  (9/1/1935 – 1/9/2008)

What I learned from a soldier…

About strength
It’s okay to cry…

About caring
Take your vitamins… Stay away from dark alleys… Watch your back… I love you…

About illness
I’m so sorry you’re sick… I’m very concerned… Have you been eating right? Taking your vitamins? 

Continue reading

Tightrope Walkers

1895, “The Tightrope Walker” by Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931)

1895, “The Tightrope Walker” by Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931)

tight·rope (tītʹrōp´) noun
1. A tightly stretched rope, usually of wire, on which acrobats perform high above the ground.
2. An extremely precarious course or situation.


 “I am always at the beginning,” said The Buddha, on being asked what life was like.

Hello 2015.

Here we are: at the beginning again.
Accidental acrobats.
On this tightrope twined
with the messiness of living,
threads of grief,
and strands of memory.  Continue reading