Tuesday, October 29, 2013

in their words

This week I received two missives from friends of my son - one solicited, one not.

"He could see everything that was wrong with the world, others and his own self and could do very little to fix these problems. His clairvoyance was really just eating away at him on the inside"

"He just simply knew and felt too much."~ G.
"I remember the first moment I saw you in the basement of our middle school. Time froze around you, there was a coolness and an ease - you were different energetically from everyone else. Tall thin, pale and resonant; you were a being from another universe to me. We were young, only twelve or so, and I had never dreamt of the things to come from knowing you."

"Through your brilliant individuality you shined a light within me to blaze. With the precision of a surgeon you dissected our perceptions and cleared away the falsehood of convention."~K.
Sometimes I wonder if I made it all up - his special quality, apparent from a very early age.  But it seems not.  Maybe this was the price he had to pay for shining that light so brightly.  No, this is the price we have to pay for basking in that light.  He is at peace now.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

love is not enough

Two weeks ago as I was parting from my son's friends after toasting his 28th birthday, one of  them held on to me and told me insistently "it's alright, he's at peace now.  he was in so much pain.  so much pain."  Enveloped by his strong, young arms, so reminiscent of those other ones, I nodded in reluctant agreement.  He meant to comfort me, but what was I agreeing to - that he's better off dead?  A few days later I asked him to elaborate, my son's words that I'm in denial continuing to haunt me and spurring me on.  He responded that he would reply later.  I'm still waiting.

But what can he really tell me?  Do I really think there is something I don't know?  I know there are things I will never understand - the reality of being a young male, but really the despair he must have felt I feel every day.  This morning I woke up with the thought that no, love is not enough, one must be cold and calculating, even in love.  If so, what are we here for - what is this whole circus for? Beauty is not enough.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A death foretold (in reverse)

I had my son's hand-written notes for a novel that was lost with his stolen laptop.  I even tried to write it myself and gave up.  Today, in one of the many backups of PCs abandoned throughout the years, I found the beginning of it.  It's much better than my own attempt at it:

               "It was the ceiling that did it that great expanse of white that brought on the weight of it all. I had gone from one moment to another and left my mother behind in the process. That was already the past and this, this unpitying void above my head, was the world now.  That which had passed sat already written, demanding that I fill this page with the future. This is what stood between me and the skies above. This was the roof over my head and I felt sure that I could hold the weight of the sky before I could budge the weight of this. My mother’s death was a sentence on the page, it could not be ignored, but the page demanded another still. I was the one who would speak it.
I lay there on my back in her bed which still had the smell of her perfume in it. It was a lie with no one to tell it. My mother would never smell like that again yet it was the only proof I had that she was ever here with me. The way a person smells, sometimes that is all that’s left, this was something that I understood then for the first time. Im not sure it is something that I will ever be able to grasp again. How can you really be expected to face something like that?
Somewhere in the night my mother had stepped off  the shores of a Montauk beach and in a sadness quickened with gin entered the waves of an ocean, those silver curls of black darker than night, walking off the earth leaving me here with this great silence above my head, not an absence but a presence, an enemy. A gathering anticipation of consequence which rang like brass in the air, it sang of a world to come which conspired against me. I would never be able to fight it away, a monster like that, a truth with wet fang and a taste for my flesh.
Tears came, orphan tears, the pressure of them caving in my chest taking the breath from me. I shook with them. They washed the future from my eyes, this was something I could live in for now. I had lost my mother, the woman upon who I had taught myself to love this world. I would now have to learn anew.                 

I woke with the heat of the sun on my legs."

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

the banality of grief

So I read Julian Barnes' book on which this reviewer was too kind, I thought. Though many passages echoed my own experience, the collection was disappointing.  Some writers are better at fiction.  Mixing the two only served to point that out.  Although the grief over a love affair and the grief over death do go hand in hand in my experience. ("Every love story is a potential grief story.  If not at first, then later.  If not for one, then for the other. Sometimes for both.") But the whole didn't hold up

But he did speak of the dreams in which he realizes his wife is dead even though she is in the dream.  He also related a last dream, in which his wife realizes she is dead and cannot be there. 

He also speaks of the isolation of grief.  How people refuse to talk of the dead and are at a loss when you mention them.  How some friendships don't hold up to grief.

My favorite passage was:
 "This is what those who haven't crossed the tropic of grief often fail to understand: the fact that someone is dead may mean that they are not alive, but doesn't mean that they do not exist."

Sunday, October 6, 2013


That is a word that has often come to my mind as explanation of my tragedy.  And I mean it in the classical Greek sense. 

Contrary to what my son may have thought, I was always proud of him for being different.  And now he is the most different - he's dead.  And part of me can't help but be proud of that - that he did it his way, that he wouldn't grovel to save his life, that he was above it all.  

Now don't I deserve this?

Friday, October 4, 2013


I have been having a lot of dreams about my son lately.  Usually he's small and I am trying to protect him in some way.  Usually I'm not aware that he's dead.  But last night I had one from the undead variety.  I had those a lot when my mother died, but they started right away.  With him, it has taken me two years to get here.  What I mean is, in the dream I am aware that his death happened, but somehow he is still here, so we can have it both ways.  The death was a mistake that shouldn't have happened, therefore it didn't. And the feeling upon waking is not the spasm I used to have, but it is like a heavy weight on my abdomen, sort of like the weighted pillow they put on me after I birthed him, to help shrink things back to normal, I assumed.  I feel hollow inside.