I don’t remember the feeling of Fall last year. I was occupied with the grief of having just lost you and the upcoming wedding of your sister. Fall is just another season of the year, but his year it seems to be staring me in the face asking “what are you going to do about it?”
Your dad voiced his frustration and I agree with him. You would normally have been here as much as you could be at this time of year. The cool temperatures make for days of great hiking and (I will say it) climbing.
There was a show on the other night about “having the talk.” It was about families talking together about what they wanted done should they die. It is a way of letting surviving family members off the hook from feeling guilt or confusion over trying to guess what their loved one wants done concerning a funeral, etc. It is far more personal in many ways than a will which only covers what should be done with the personal effects and assists of the deceased.
We never talked much about that with you. What you would want. So when it came to that unfortunate time we all had to guess and try to make sure we honored you as to the type of person you had been. Concerning heroic efforts to try and “keep you alive”, I think your dad and I struggle the most.
When I settle out of my tears and anger from the reality of the accident, I know we had no choice. We were given no choice. You were unconscious and your body could not function on its own. I guess in some strange way I am thankful that there was not a choice given the conditions that would have defined you “living.” What dignity would there have been for you if we had tried to preserve the shell you inhabited?
As eclectic as you were concerning fashion and convention you were by all means a person of dignity and propriety in the most contradictory way. Our gathering in your memory did not stand on convention. We, I think, did our very best to honor you as you were, as you lived your life. Remembering it has made me think about what I want for myself.
I want most of all to let those who remain behind off the hook. I don’t want them guessing or feeling guilty that something was not done right. So let me just say that whatever they choose to do will be fine – really. I hope their are no sad songs and no preaching. I hope that people who want to say something about me (if any remain to do so) are allowed to do so if so inclined and that they need not censor their remarks. I would like if there is to be a prayer that it be for everyone to come to learn to love others, to be wise and have strength to endure. I want to be cremated and for my ashes to be where ever your ashes are. As for my possessions they are covered in my will – except for my paintings and writings which I think would make a great bonfire.
Son, I never ever thought I would have to plan a memorial service for you. We did it and we did it in love. I don’t understand life at all-why we are here and why we die. I don’t understand men’s anger against man, hatred or the need to hurt others. I am so confused by how we keep on traveling around in the rut we create for ourselves like we have blinders on and can’t see to get out and rise above it.
I don’t understand how the sky can be so painfully blue and the shadows so long in this season we call Fall. I don’t understand why the world did not end on that day in July. Yet the truth is I don’t want to die either. I didn’t want you to die, and I don’t want to die. I don’t want anyone to die.
I am lonely without you and what you provided in my life. I don’t hold your dad or sister responsible for filling that space. It will have to remain as it is. Does it scar over or shrink? I don’t know yet. Sometimes my biggest fear and panic is that I will in some way forget you.
I don’t think that is possible, but then I did not think it possible that I could loose you.
The confounded uncertainty of everything keeps me so off balance. There seems to be a veil between me and what is real and I cannot get through it. There are shadows and indistinct whispers of ideas that are just out of reach.
It is feeling of “never quite” being able to get to any place or goal that stands before me. I run out of steam or I wonder why ever thought it important in the first place. I realize that your encouragement towards my efforts during your life were of great support to me. You critiqued my work and stood at my shoulder to watch me work.
You and your sister are the best part of me.
Yet I will go to the studio today and work. I will make a mess with paint and paper and make plans and the earth will turn and the daylight will end sooner than I like.
I carry you with me every day, so I am hoping for strength to do so as long as time permits, because I am