Tuesday, January 31, 2012

black hole

I think it gets harder with time.  Fresh grief has its consolations, not least among them - disbelief.  I remember the night it happened.  My mind balked at accepting it.  It tried to remove itself.  It would forget for a moment and then be cut anew by the knowledge. 

Now it can't hide from the knowledge.  I don't have to remember it each time I wake up.  I know it even in my sleep.  There is no place to hide.

It also gets harder to evoke your existence.  Your words are still fresh.  I get a fix of them every day, but there are only so many of them.  They are only you at a certain point in time.  They are not your essence, which was ever moving and evolving.  The hardest thing is not that I miss you.  I missed you even while you lived - you were away most of the time and the phone was a poor substitute.  The hardest thing is that you are frozen in time.

You lose a child continually as it grows up.  You miss the different stages of its life.  But you never expect its life to be complete.

One thing that I did not miss while you lived was your love.  It was as strong as when you clutched me with your chubby baby arms.  I feel supremely unloved now. 

Worse - I feel all my love is going into a black hole, never to be returned.

Monday, January 23, 2012

four months

"The continuity of being is lacerated; the settled course of sentiment and action is stopped; and life stands suspended and motionless." -- Samuel Johnson

And yet time goes on, to no avail.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

dream where I die

"I'll trade you one for two nightmares of mine,
I have some where I die, I have some where we all die." - Bright Eyes, Hit the Switch

They say you can't die in your own dream.  Nonsense.  Here's how I did it.

I was in my parents' apartment.  The time was twenty-some years ago.  Everything was correct - the topography of the apartment, everyone's age - my brother and I in our twenties, my parents fiftiesh, my son (who was absent) around five.  My parents and I opened the door to the bedroom and there lying on the floor by the bed were two bodies.  One was my brother, who was in some kind of fit, but conscious.  The other one, lifeless, was me.  I cradled my brother's head trying to calm him and I told him my son would need him as a friend.  My parents were strangely detached, just there as observers.  Nobody mentioned the body, but it seemed to be the reason my brother was distressed and at death's door himself.  And, of course, my son would need him, because he wouldn't have me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I find it hard to explain to people why I am not crying all day long.  When I do cry, it is for myself, because I miss you, because you were so precious and so profound and there is no one I can relate to or love as much as I love you.

But as for you - I feel you got the best of it.  I read some speculation, just to confirm, that your death was a painless one.  You stopped breathing and your brain was tricked into not panicking at this.  I knew that already when I saw how peaceful you looked in death. 

You were free while you lived.  You even traveled across the country like you wanted to and you loved it, despite the discomfort of being confined on a train.  In one of the comments on your photos you wrote:

"The country unfolds in your heart. The landscape is such a powerful message. Makes you want to run wild like a comanche. Brother I am in lov with this life."

You never had to compromise.  Yes, 26 years is short, but it is well beyond the time when most people find they have to settle, and let go of a limitless future.  When I was 26 we came to this country and I started on the 20-year grind to sustain our precarious existence.  Now I am safe, but with nothing to show for it.  The reason I lived for - you - is gone.  You, on the other hand, never lost your child-like optimism.  You still felt anything was possible.  What better way to end.

Still, I can't help wishing for my sake that you were more ordinary and less foolhardy.  That you are still here.   

Saturday, January 7, 2012


I always wished I could take your suffering on myself and now I have.

Friday, January 6, 2012


That's what the book was really about.  The fact that some words of unrestrained cruelty could unleash a chain reaction that ruins lives.  When you're with someone from the time they're born, when you are solely responsible for their very survival, how infinite are the chances of being thoughtlessly cruel. 

I am sorry, my son, for making you feel worthless because you didn't conform, for making you feel like a burden because you made my life difficult.  At least that's what you heard.  It wasn't what I meant.  I was angry at you for making yourself suffer.  Your suffering was my suffering.  Your well-being was my well-being. You were never separate from me.  I told you I loved you more than anything.  But that doesn't begin to describe it.  I love you more than being.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


"Sometimes I think the purpose of life is to reconcile us to its eventual loss by wearing us down, by proving, however long it takes, that life isn't all it's cracked up to be."  The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

Figures that the first new book I like is about a young suicide and his converse - the guy who "wanted life not to bother me too much, and had succeeded - and how pitiful that was."

What kills me is that I knew this when I was young.  I just closed my eyes and hoped against hope that it wasn't so.  I irresponsibly created another life, just to justify my own.  And he had to die in order to open my eyes to the ultimate meaninglessness of what I had done.  He died for my sins.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I had braced myself for the holidays.  They are mercifully over.  But now I feel worse.  The new year is supposed to be a new beginning, but all I can do is cherish the past.  There is no light on the horizon.  No new life.  All I can do is gracefully wait for it to be over. To be freed of the chains of existence.

I know there are heavier burdens than mine.  I will try to be generous with what I have left to offer.  I sent a contribution to the project that made his last days brighter.  I know he would have wanted to keep that promise unbroken.  A part of him will live on in the extreme passion he lived and preached.  That's all I can do.

I decided I don't want his remains scattered in this country.  It wasn't kind to him and he railed against it.  What I didn't expect was that shopping for an urn to keep his ashes in would bring me down so.  Hiding him within a pretty object is not what he would like.  His friend, who visited on New Year's eve asked to see them and cried.  I look at them every day and feel nothing.  I know that's not him.  I knew it even when I saw his stiff body emptied of its organs.  His body let him down.  He was so much more than that.  He was light.  And darkness.  His father painted a shadowy half-angel just before he died. There is more of him in that than in the white ashes in the black box.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


The first time I heard this story, I reassured the person you had told it to that it was a tall tale.  But last night an eyewitness confirmed that you didn't break your foot slipping down a flight of stairs as you had told us.  You jumped out of a third story window after your friend died.  This ups to 3 the number of times I know you were near death.  I'm starting to think we were lucky to have you around this long.