RIP ektamine

herbavore

Bluelight Crew
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in a dream
You barely come in dreams anymore. How can this be? Maybe because I'm getting old and my brain is on the downhill slide. Already I find myself unable to think of a very common word from time to time. But when you are in a dream now you are always about 10 or 11. There's a mystery.
Grief doesn't stab me the way it used to. Instead it simply resides in me like a very still pool. When i disturb it, like right now writing these words, the tears are right there but it is a melancholy and not an agony.

I'm on a forum for people that have lost children and my heart breaks anew each time a parent writes their first post, knowing the minutes and hours and weeks and years of pain still ahead--how they don't even realize it yet but Absence has just stepped into their lives forever. At first, the presence of their living child is all-consuming but slowly and agonizingly, as I have written about on this thread, even that is dragged away and Absence itself becomes a presence. You can hate it and rail against it or you can cherish it and carry it with you as long as you live. I don't think I chose the latter; rather, it chose me.

I will say this: scent-memory is still strong. I guess it must be the animal part of mothering. I can still conjure your scent as a baby, as a kid, as a teen and young man.
I so wish that I could sit across a table from you and hold your hands in mine while we talked. You could tell me about what became of you once you left your body behind and I could tell you all my petty news from earthly life. Still plugging away down here, hands in the earth, terrified of what's going on one minute and soaking as much as I can up gratefully the next. I've already gotten 3+ times as many years as you got and it still feels short. "Love you, like you, best pal", Smokey.
mom
 
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mokele

Bluelighter
Joined
Mar 10, 2017
Messages
583
Not so big Cap. I can read from a mile away.
Never seen a post from him but we all have a date with destiny. Maybe a good place to say we should all stick more together as a community as we are a ostracized (sp. )
Bunch and bicker a bit less as we are more or less in same boat.
 

herbavore

Bluelight Crew
Joined
Jul 26, 2011
Messages
14,949
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in a dream
I'm doing a brutal cleaning.

I always dated the time in this house by your age, born exactly one month after we moved in, so by now that is 30 years. Thirty years and four family members worth of stuff. Stuff from your father's childhood, stuff from my own which includes stuff from my grandmother's childhood and my Dad's and then you two boys. A house stuffed with stuff and all of it laden with so many emotions. Mementos from travels and treasured gifts from friends, old love letters, backpacks and toy trains. Your first sets of clothes. All the artwork from you two as preschoolers and all your writing from your very first attempts at writing your own names to school reports and stories, your old toys, your Easter baskets, Dad's artwork after the war, camping gear. I am going through all of it and trying to loosen its hold on my heart.

Reading your early little-boy writing and seeing your old paintings has been particularly dense with emotion. I photographed it and then out to recycling went a whole box of papers and even the paintings. Whenever I would start to lose my resolve to keep going I would remind myself that I no longer have you in my life but you are still in my heart. I will never forget your stories, never forget the paintings of what your little-boy heart loved.

I am standing right at the border of old age; I am starting to count as many dear ones gone as still living. I don't want to walk into this last landscape laden down with stuff; I want to walk in freely swinging my arms and kicking my feet up, with my heart full to bursting with all love I have received in this life. Thank you for your great big deep love. Thank you for giving me the way you saw the world. No stuff in this world could ever come close to that in the hierarchy of treasures.


Bun-Bun and Pele the cat by Caleb, age 4.
 
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RedRum OG

Bluelighter
Joined
Jul 18, 2009
Messages
3,491
Location
MN
I'm doing a brutal cleaning.

I always dated the time in this house by your age, born exactly one month after we moved in, so by now that is 30 years. Thirty years and four family members worth of stuff. Stuff from your father's childhood, stuff from my own which includes stuff from my grandmother's childhood and my Dad's and then you two boys. A house stuffed with stuff and all of it laden with so many emotions. Mementos from travels and treasured gifts from friends, old love letters, backpacks and toy trains. Your first sets of clothes. All the artwork from you two as preschoolers and all your writing from your very first attempts at writing your own names to school reports and stories, your old toys, your Easter baskets, Dad's artwork after the war, camping gear. I am going through all of it and trying to loosen its hold on my heart.

Reading your early little-boy writing and seeing your old paintings has been particularly dense with emotion. I photographed it and then out to recycling went a whole box of papers and even the paintings. Whenever I would start to lose my resolve to keep going I would remind myself that I no longer have you in my life but you are still in my heart. I will never forget your stories, never forget the paintings of what your little-boy heart loved.

I am standing right at the border of old age; I am starting to count as many dear ones gone as still living. I don't want to walk into this last landscape laden down with stuff; I want to walk in freely swinging my arms and kicking my feet up, with my heart full to bursting with all love I have received in this life. Thank you for your great big deep love. Thank you for giving me the way you saw the world. No stuff in this world could ever come close to that in the hierarchy of treasures.

If i ever figure out how to post a photo here now I will post one of your old paintings.
There are few things in life harder than clearing out mementos from someone special who died. Good luck.
 

herbavore

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Messages
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in a dream
Thanks, OG. Hard but also freeing. We fight acceptance at every turn but when we finally let it in there is a peace there.
 

herbavore

Bluelight Crew
Joined
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Messages
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in a dream
Hey, little buddy. I had a nice dream visit from your Dad the other night. You were there around the edges; seeming happy and content but kind of hanging back so Brian and I could have space. Your Dad and I knew--in that dream way of unspoken knowing--that we were in two different worlds and we were just kind of musing and marveling at that when he started asking questions about what it is like living through all this ( climate collapse, the fires, cultural implosion, political meltdown, pandemic) and it felt so strange (and impossible!) to try to explain it all. We ended up just looking at each other smiling and letting the words fade away. It was as if we were acknowledging that we were simply no longer on the same plane at all and there was no way to bridge that gap but also no need to try. I was really happy that you were there and that you seemed so at peace. So often I dream of you as a little kid or a middle-school age and it was nice to see you just the age you were when you left with that great little quiet smile of yours.
 

herbavore

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Jul 26, 2011
Messages
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in a dream
Twenty years, ten years ago.
Why do these numbers mean anything? Hours and days and weeks and months and years roll by like a river, continuous, all of one piece, a life. We impose measures on a life. We divide it into infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age, but in the end, it’s like trying to divide water.

I subtract the number of years you have been gone and I am left with exactly half your life. Ten. Ten years after you were ten, you were gone. I don’t know how to begin to even think about that except that the even-ness of those numbers is a stark and startling equation.

To me you are a shooting star. I can still remember the first time I saw a shooting star when I was a kid. It was probably at the farm in South Dakota or at Spirit Lake because I remember how black the night-sky was and how the stars were so thick they looked like snowflakes in a blizzard. It felt like everyone around me was shouting, “ There’s one!”; and even though I had missed it, I would pretend to see it because they were so excited and I wanted to be included. And then I saw one! The sky was saturated with stars, glittering, magical, profound. But seeing that one star blazing at lightening speed across the sky made me feel so privileged, so blessed to have caught sight of it. That is how I see your life and that is how I see your presence in my life. You blazed through faster than any of us could follow, fueled by all your fires: deep love, outright rage, terror and courage beyond comprehension. I think your fire is still burning somewhere—not in any way I can understand or even envision; but I feel that is true.

I think you learned a lot while you were here, but it beat you up a lot, that learning. In your honor I’m still struggling to learn and it can be pretty rough on me, too. But you taught me a lot about courage and about fear— mostly that they exist in equal measure in a person. Those who do not struggle with their own minds will know neither that level of terror, nor the level of courage it takes to live with it. Walking up to the edge of living over and over, jumping alone into black water, night after black night, must have been your way of trying to stare that terror down. I hope all that courage you developed while you were here just continues to grow and carry you along, and that the fears all fell away lightly, like leaves letting go of a branch.

I’ve no doubt that your Dad’s love is flowing right along with you. A love that fierce would never be contained by one brief human lifetime. At thirteen you said that your soul had a home somewhere, but not here. I argued that you had only seen a fraction of “here”, that there was no way for you to judge from a place of such limited knowledge what the earth and life had to offer your soul. That exchange between us has come back to me so many times over these past ten years. In the beginning I used to feel so much pain, so much regret about those prescient words of yours and my self-sure response. Now, I think, “Look who has seen only a fraction and look who has seen infinity?” The irony of it always recalls a particular smile of yours.

No matter what words I have said, or words I have written, trying to tell you my thoughts during these ten years, it always comes back to “ I miss you”. I just stack these other words up and load them on the little burrow of my heart as we trudge along behind you. I’ve got your amazing brother beside me, the earth keeps astounding me with her beauty, there is still so much to laugh at, so much to cry for, so much to wonder about, so much to learn. I am telling you this because I want you to know that the days that hold my pain of missing you, pain that can still shatter my heart over and over again, are still days that I treasure; and that treasuring puts my shattered heart back together every single time it breaks. I know that my waters and your brother’s waters are both flowing to the river you and Dad are already in, the one you saw so early on, the one you couldn’t wait to dive into. I’m taking my time, guided by the forces of the stars, the wind, the tides but also by the little cottontail skittering frantically back into the underbrush on the path in front of me, fast as shooting star. “Lucky”, I think to myself, “So lucky to see that.”
 

SpaceWanderer

Bluelighter
Joined
May 8, 2008
Messages
59
Shooting star is a good image.
Do you find that your son's generation and younger are more likely to feel this world isn’t their home?
My intuition is they (anybody born after 1960 or so) are treated very differently and end up feeling unwelcome in this world compared to older generations.
I speak for myself. I felt I didn't belong here by age 13 as well. By then I had a death wish. Understatement.
Of course I had seen only a tiny silver of the world at 13, but decades later I am even more certain of how awfully right I was by that age.
Any child can go online, watch tv, or read it at the library and quickly become aware of the condition of the environment, jobs, the socioeconomic divide, politics, culture, even architecture (urban blight/suburban sprawl/post-modernist abominations that plague cityscapes worldwide--a matter of opinion I know ) and the fact that people cannot disagree with one another on the slightest of political issues without fighting.
Any child can look at the expression on most adults faces and see something reminescent of that painting by Edvard Munch. Especially now with the world’s bizarre reaction to covid.

My generation has better access to information. Those born after Nixon at a young age figured out that neither the government nor adults in general could be trusted very far. Whether we read about it or some how sensed it in the culture, we know something has gone horribly wrong.
To back this up, look at the collapsing birth rate in all countries with relatively high levels of education. Nobody has enough confidence in the world to bring a new life into it.
I speak for myself, but I wonder how common it is to have these perceptions starting at a young age.
 

herbavore

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Hi Space Wanderer. I think your question has a lot of merit, and yes, I do believe that each successive generation is being born into a much more fraught existence.Having come of age myself in the age of Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring, not to mention the early prominent climate scientists Roger Revelle, Wallace Broecker, Charles Keeling, Harmon Craig, and J Smagorisnky (who wrote the report delivered to President Johnson in 1965). When they delivered that report I was twelve so obviously I was not aware of warnings to a president, but there was already the sense that humans had irrevocably fouled our own, and every other living creature's, nest. Nuclear war and nuclear annihilation were both my childhood nightmares and waking fear. Because of that and because of the government corruption and lies that led to the war in Viet Nam, I became an activist at an early age. Everything from environmental degradation to imperialism, racism, colonialism and war is embedded in capitalism, but it is important to go even further back in our human history to understand the real roots. Long before the development of any political system at all we humans began to lose perspective on our interconnectedness in nature. Perhaps it was when we developed tools to hunt with and became predators of animals we had been the prey of. Perhaps it was simply when our social groups got too large and we began to vie for hunting territory. Whatever the origins for our species, we have been paying for that loss of perspective ever since.

Now here we are in the 6th Great Extinction, with more countries at war than ever before, not to mention the endless wars (on drugs, on terror, on the poor, on black people). We face as well the threat of runaway technology and further distance ourselves from other people as well as our own selves through social media, targeted advertising and a life lived through publicly posted images at crucial ages of psychological development. Ironically it was my son that used to encourage me to step back and see this miserable state of affairs from a more geologic perspective. As Craig Child's wrote in Apocalyptic Earth, "Someday we, along with all of our plastic ,will be a thin ribbon of grey in the earth's mantle." With this in mind, I double down on what I can do while I am here: strengthen the bonds with people around me, enjoy fully the best of humanity--the music we make, the humor we create, the poetry we write, the bonds we can and do make with other species. But most of all I get out in nature and that is what I think I meant when I was speaking to my son about his despair so many years ago.

I live in one of the wintering stops for the migrating monarch butterflies as they move from Canada to Mexico. When I first moved here they were in the tens of thousands and now there are several hundred. The monarchs will not survive and that is a fact. But they grace my garden with their magic and I greet them with both joy and sorrow. That is the task facing every single human being alive today--how to hold the despair that is an inevitable part of being awake and the joy that is the privilege we still have to appreciate what is good around us. Recently I read that a brand new fungus (meaning previously unseen in that part of the world) has been quietly getting to work underground where the fires ravaged over 25 million acres in Australia. I like to think of that fungus as the earth's T-cells fighting the human virus.

And finally, I want to say to you that I am thankful for you for taking the time to converse and for being the same kind of sensitive, intelligent and perceptive human being my own son was. All we can do is to make the small piece of life around us more kind, more supportive of those we share this time and place with. I am glad you are alive and if there is ever anything that I, as an old, pessimistic, often despairing cynic, yet strangely and against all odds frequently happy person can do to help you out, please do not hesitate to call on me. <3 <3<3
 

herbavore

Bluelight Crew
Joined
Jul 26, 2011
Messages
14,949
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in a dream
The Second Music
by Annie Lighthart

Now I understand that there are two melodies playing,
one below the other, one easier to hear, the other

lower, steady, perhaps more faithful for being less heard
yet always present.

When all other things seem lively and real,
this one fades. Yet the notes of it

touch as gently as fingertips, as the sound
of the names laid over each child at birth.

I want to stay in that music without striving or cover.
If the truth of our lives is what it is playing,

the telling is so soft
that this mortal time, this irrevocable change,

becomes beautiful. I stop and stop again
to hear the second music.

I hear the children in the yard, a train, then birds.
All this is in it and will be gone. I set my ear to it as I would to a heart.
 
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