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sigmond

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Today I wrote an email to thank a poet who had written these words describing poems he wrote after the death of his mother:

But each memory is a death in and of itself. A memory, it turns out, is simply a retelling of the last retelling which was a retelling of the last and on and on...we all know how that goes, trained in childhood by the game telephone. You whisper a sentence in someone's ear (in this case, your own) and they in turn whisper what they heard to the next person and by the time it winds its way back to you, it is a new sentence altogether. And so I ask you, boy of my flesh and my imagination, what do I still hold? And what of that is true? Strangely, the most overlooked sense of our five senses is the strongest in the end. I know your scent. It appears not to be a memory but perhaps deeper--a recognition of any mammal of her own offspring.

When I was house-sitting for Auntie Marla I slept in her room. Across from her bed she has her "ghosts" on a shelf: a picture of our Dad in his signature blue shorts and orange shirt, a painting that someone did of Linda's eyes and her photo of you that she calls, "The little god." Yes, I remember that you and your brother were like little gods set down among us. Your hair in that photo is luminous, so blonde it is almost white. Your eyes are piercing blue, before they mysteriously turned green, and you have the little compressed smile that you so often had, as if you had to hold all that mirth inside and just let a trickle out, for fear of what would happen if that much joy was released at once into the world. And of course there was always the irony in it--as if the absurdity of absolutely everything was already apparent to you at 3. Your chubby hands on the tricycle handlebars are full of purpose. You were always full of purpose. What the photo cannot hold is your voice back then--the clarity and purity of it. Sometimes I wish I had been one of those mothers that obsessively filmed and recorded your every move. I am so hungry for these pathetic representations and the memories they evoke. But then I think, no, they would be like a house full of too much stuff: momentarily satisfying but ultimately empty and burdensome. Because they are not you. I only still and forever want you. Not the memories, not the photos or my own stories, not the shrines or the garden, not anything that I can touch or see or hear now, all the illusions of my own making. I want what cannot be. I want the you that was separate from me.

radiant child. this thread should be a book.

<3 <3 <3
 

herbavore

Bluelight Crew
Joined
Jul 26, 2011
Messages
14,936
Location
in a dream
The Place
By Paul Zimmer

Once in your life you pass
Through a place so pure
It becomes tainted even
By your regard, a space
Of trees and air where
Dusk comes as perfect ripeness.
Here the only sounds are
Sighs of rain and snow,
Small rustlings of plants
As they unwrap in twilight.
This is where you will go
At last when coldness comes.
It is something you realize
When you first see it,
But instantly forget.
At the end of your life
You remember and dwell in
Its faultless light forever.
This was in my inbox this morning. It made me wonder about your 'place'. At first the river came to mind: green trees reflected on glassy water, everything green, an entire palette of greens from citrine to deepest jade, with only a strip of blue sky up above in between where the trees line the riverbanks. But then I thought, no, surely it was the first wave you ever caught in the cold Pacific. It was the opposite of the river that day, cornflower blue sky, saphire blue ocean, crisp whitecaps, wheat colored sand. I remember watching you paddle out, watching you get smaller and smaller, knowing that I would never be anything other than an observer of your unfolding life. It was hard to hang onto that knowledge and I'm still sorry for the lapses and the hurt they caused. But I like to think of your complete absorption into the vastness of life, your brief experience with the heaven of it all. When you finally came back in, so cold you could not speak through your chattering teeth, you were so full of joy, the joy of belonging, that I am still surprised that the ocean could not save you. But the ocean is far wiser than me, having no concept whatsoever of saving. If your soul remembers a body, I picture it remembering itself just slipping inside the curl of a wave, the graceful lean, the grounded feet, outstretched hands touching water on both sides.
 

herbavore

Bluelight Crew
Joined
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Messages
14,936
Location
in a dream
On my birthday, setting the table for four, I shook my head at my error and removed a plate. Set it back in the cupboard with a deep sigh, but no tears. Then I counted out four forks and knives. Laughed at myself; said, "I'm old!" and put the fourth fork and knife back in the drawer. When we were ladling the food onto our plates, I told your brother, "I fell into a time warp and set the table for four. Maybe your brother is here." He said, "I feel him a lot lately Especially up at Scaroni's."

He's been going up to Scaroni's and he said he will always feel like that is your place--the two of you--all the trouble you could have gotten into but didn't, all the adventures and craziness (the statute of limitations for telling mom expired apparently--damn I would have mad at you guys for that!).

So we wonder, are you here with us? Did you want a place at the table or did you just want to say happy birthday, mom? Or did I just set a table I have set for almost twenty years, rather than the one's I have set since then? Whatever it was, I saved the tears for New Year's Eve and the fire with white sage from your garden and all the greens from Christmas--all the dead and dying things, the beauty withering but more to be released; the smoke like a ghostdancer swirling up to the swollen moon playing hide and seek behind thinning clouds. Tonight, for the true first night of the year, there will be an extreme perigee moon. It is impossible to think about death without thinking about space. Release from the infinitesimal to the infinite. Darkness, unseen realms, a lack of gravity, unseen worlds, emptiness. Lots of ancient cultures tell us that souls exist, that they have issues to work out, they stick around to do so and there are rules to be followed for the living. I get it about the soul. You couldn't make me stop believing in that. It's the only thing in the world I have any faith in--the true meaning of faith (belief without any proof whatsoever). The rest of it can lie back down in history as far as I'm concerned. It's a distraction. It can be a way to focus on acceptance as in Day of the Dead but I cannot wrap my head around it literally. I don't have to set the table for you. You were welcomed into my body one cell at a time, my son. My body was your home. And now it is your home again. If I sit at the table you are there. When I cry, it is our tears running down my cheeks. The only difference now is that you are not bound to my body. If you wanted to be dancing with the sage smoke in the air, you could. That makes me happy. Cry-happy.

I cannot wish you a Happy New Year. Outside of time, outside of all I yet know, what is a year; what is a wish? And though I can read back through this thread and see how many times, how many ways I have asked this one question, I am asking again: where are you? We are inextricable you and I. You are written on my bones as I was written on yours. Your bones are ash and mine have started their slow and graceful descent into a landing I cannot imagine but can feel, almost like a magnetic pull. I have a chorus of dead grandmothers begging me to accept what I was raised with--that you will be waiting with them for me to arrive. I also have a chorus of dead grandfathers saying otherwise. I'll stick to my uncertain middle I guess, it's as much a fact as my nose or the or the crooked little finger that came down from Grandpa Tom.

Before I go, I wanted to tell you about my birthday, how I woke in almost unbearable joy. How it was tethered to nothing--nothing precipitated it and nothing could undo it. It filled me all day and for two more days it stayed, like a migratory bird stopping in the garden for a few days, then flying on. Did you know that joy can be almost as unbearable as unhappiness? I think you did. I think you got to feel that--that's pretty much as human as it gets. I'm glad for that. I love you. And it's 2018 on earth.<3
 
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Captain.Heroin

Sr. Moderator: H&R, Words
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RIP CH ? - 2020
<3 <3 <3

It's impossible to read words in this thread without feeling undescribably sad. I'll try again later.
 

herbavore

Bluelight Crew
Joined
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Messages
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in a dream
I wish I could believe that you could watch over your big brother. I listen to people that have such deeply held, literal beliefs about existence after death. It makes no sense to me except as a yearning and yet I feel almost a jealousy for those people--like my cousins who lost their son. They believe that he is with them all the time and that he exists in a heaven populated by all the other relatives that have passed on. They believe that dying for them will simply be passing through that same door to a reunion, where everything is perfect and everyone is perfect. I think one cannot wish oneself into belief but how I wish I could.
 

Smarting

Greenlighter
Joined
Mar 5, 2018
Messages
1
I?m new here and this is my first post. I am blown away by the mindfulness and grace and love demonstrated by you, Herbavore. Your commitment to Caleb both in life and in death is remarkable. And the continued engagement of this community in uplifting his memory and the spirits of his mother is powerful. I pray that you are able to find contentment and a sense of peace as the days pass, H. Although we are strangers, my heart is with yours as you walk this strange and rambling path ❤
 

herbavore

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Messages
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^Thank you so much and welcome to Bluelight.<3 I find contentment and peace more and more, and often, I find it right here on Bluelight. We humans can do terrible things to the world around us, to each other and to ourselves but we can also express a grace of spirit that never ceases to amaze me.<3
 

herbavore

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“if we send someone off to jump into a black hole, neither he nor his constituent atoms will come back, but his mass energy will come back. Maybe that applies to the whole universe.”
Stephen Hawking
Maybe you can ask him about that.;)<3
 

herbavore

Bluelight Crew
Joined
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Messages
14,936
Location
in a dream
HYMN TO TIME
by Ursula K. Le Guin

Time says “Let there be”
every moment and instantly
there is space and the radiance
of each bright galaxy.

And eyes beholding radiance.
And the gnats’ flickering dance.
And the seas’ expanse.
And death, and chance.

Time makes room
for going and coming home
and in time’s womb
begins all ending.

Time is being and being
time, it is all one thing,
the shining, the seeing,
the dark abounding.
 

Xorkoth

Administrator: PD, TR, TDS, P&S
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In the mountains
I love Ursula K. LeGuin. <3

I never knew your son herby, but I know his mother so I'm sure he was great. I'm continually inspired by your strength. <3
 
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herbavore

Bluelight Crew
Joined
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Messages
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in a dream
reflections, 7 years.

We are in the "parentheses" days, between the first leaves and the end papers of the book, between your birth-date and your death-date, between the beginning quotation marks and the closing quotation marks, an irregular number of squares on the calendar between May 7 and May 30. Is it rare for people to die in the month they were born? All I know is that these days that open their eyes on May 7 and close them again on May 30th just seem to grow in holiness year by year. I know you would get it. You liked the traditions, the sacred markers along the path of the year.

Your face is so clear to me right now. I'm looking into your soft green eyes and this is new. I wonder if you could ever know how hard that is to do, to look you fully in your living eyes, 7 years after I closed your lifeless eyes myself. But what a blessing. I did not ever know that a person, least of all me, could ever open this much. That pain reaches a point where it is no longer pain, the heart is no longer breaking open but flowering open. Seeing your face so clearly, living eyes meeting mine has not happened to me before except in dreams. No one can say what time will bring.
 

herbavore

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Messages
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So many of your friends are moving away, making these big changes in their lives. You made the biggest change of all. No Portland or South Carolina or France for you.
 

Buspersons Holiday

Bluelighter
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Wild Wild West
Your words are so beautiful & jolt me into realisation that every harsh word in frustration & intolerance to my man-child is a word wasted

I'm so sorry for your loss & grateful that you can articulate it in ways that have helped so many over the years <3<3<3
 

herbavore

Bluelight Crew
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Messages
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When you died your Dad and I each secretly had the same feeling: one of us should go with you. How can you let your youngest child go off into the greatest unknown there is all by himself? When we used to walk as a family in the neighborhood--you, your Dad, your brother and I--we were always herded and held together by our dog Inky. If one of you got fussy or too tired, one of us peeled off for home while the other continued with only one kid in tow. That drove Inky crazy. He would hysterically bark at us and try to herd us back together and it tore him up to have to choose who to go with. So I guess we were like Inky when you died. Of course it was completely irrational, so much so that we never even admitted these feelings to each other until years later when such a thing could be safely revealed without causing alarm. But now your Dad has left the pack and so did Inky long ago. I hope you are all together. It would give me such comfort to believe that but I will have to be satisfied with the comfort I derive from picturing it, belief or no belief.

Your father was beyond all else an honorable man. He was maddeningly OCD, quirky beyond quirky, opinionated as hell and arguing with him could make you empathize greatly with a Palestinian facing an Israeli tank. But underneath that was a man who could come back to an argument in his own head and reconsider and his apologies were always genuine and courageous. He was playful and witty and he wanted nothing more than a simple life: a business he could run on his own terms, kids and animals to love and nurture and plenty of peregrinations into nature. He grieved for you differently than I, but no less. I know that if you and Inky and Grandpa Ray and Grandma Jean and Aunt Laureen were there to guide his spirit then he left this life with as much joy as sorrow. I'll be here for your brother. You take care of your Dad.<3



http://www.scmemorial.com/obituaries/Brian-Bauldry/#!/Obituary

 
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