Tick tock tick tock - it goes by mercilessly, relentlessly. This metered flow of life cannot be stopped or altered. Magnanimous, it encompasses all of the human emotions, yet is none of them. Time, a vacuum, a space to hold life, and bury death. A force to be reckoned with. Seemingly imperceptible, apparently insignificant, absolutely consequential.
With the cold indifference of a serial killer, and the intuitive wisdom of a forest, this progression of moments allows for anything and then sets about in the work of healing it. That this entity sadistically and graciously containing our lives is a neutral beast is, perhaps, the hardest pill to swallow. There is no kind hand that buffers our existence when tragedies hit, or gives us a pat on the back when triumphs prevail (except maybe our mother's) no, it's all grist for the mill. Whichever way the cookie crumbles is the way the cookie crumbles; you don't get brownie points for effort or extra suffering. Funny, isn't it?
Time is a great leveler. It favors no one, tethering us all to the same boat and it's of no use trying to speed it up or slow it down. Ruthless, it grinds and sifts but also, blessedly, elevates and cheers all the while meandering serenely through its set course, bringing everyone to the same destination. And if we are patient and wait with grace, we will see the fruit of our labors. After all, aren't oysters rewarded for their effort?
Friday, June 12, 2015
You lie there helpless and still -a baby with teeth,
a perma scowl etched on your face as sure and as deep as a woodcarving.
It’s hard to reconcile the helpless bit with the image of the man you used to be:
formidable, strong, larger than life, really. You filled your shoes and then some.
When did it happen, where, how;
the steady progression into dementia,
and where was I?
In California, I guess-
marking time by the pull of gravity
with each visit I made.
The changes, like stills in a cartoon frame, added up over time.
You always were an ornery man,
and now, as you yell obscenities into the nursing home where you sit,
puny and grey - you have begun your dance with death.
Tomorrow they will give you morphine for the pain,
and I wonder if you will fight them off with the last of your strength.
So, what remains to be said here?
How about, I love you, how about I care.
How about your death will leave a hole in my heart the size of the moon?
I will always remember how you ate the pies we made in the kitchen when I was little,
the ones that didn’t turn out and were still goopy inside. You eat them with a laugh while I watched in awe. My big, tall daddy spending time with me... I was so proud, so tickled.
Or how about that easter you gave me the pink bunny? I held it tightly to my chest later, when we took a drive in the green impala and you turned and looked at me and smiled, squealing with delight.
And then there’s eating snow in candy dishes, yep, that was fun. You’d go outside and collect a snowball in the blizzard bringing it home for us to eat. You had a sense of humor alright...
You will be remembered your colorful language, generosity and the levity you added to heavy situations. You weren’t perfect, but I loved you anyway. How could I not? You were the first man of my life.
Dad, with this last sentence or so, I want to wish you peace, what you never had in this life. I firmly believe you’re going to heaven, because you said the prayer that one blessed day - so until we meet again, so long, farewell, and pet a cow or two for me up there.
We love you.