To My Dearest Dan,
It has been one hundred thirty-one days since you died and it feels so much longer. It feels as if you are watching me from afar and also, somehow, participating daily in my life with your energy. When I call on you I especially feel you near, although you show up in ways subtle and fleeting. A strong memory (sound?) of your voice. A sense of you sitting on the edge of the bed—feeling the weight of you physically albeit briefly.
Days flow one into another. Weeks stack up and become months. Time keeps marching on.
The words of Kahlil Gibran came to mind this evening as I put my fingers to the keyboard, entering the poetic verse of another to find you there.
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you…
Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each one of you be alone…
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness . . .”
Can there ever be more space in our togetherness than there is now?
I’m still having random thoughts about “when you get home” or thinking “I have to remember to tell you x, y, or z.” The recurring realization of the huge distance between our togetherness is a concept not fully formed.
I still wonder what it’s like for you.
I’m remembering when I went to Washington a few weeks after you left. On my first night there I woke up in a panic wondering about your physical body. Where was it? Everything in me shouted that I should be there with you. Something had gone wrong. I lost you. I remember calling Michele at 1:00 am and the kindness in her voice when she said, “Mom….I don’t think that it would be possible for you to stay with him.”
Reality gently delivered.
Reality offering odd relief–or sometimes more grief–depending on the day.
“. . . and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.”
Let. Three tiny letters for a word that summarizes a large part of this new reality.
As in “let go.”
“Let the winds”…am I capable of holding them back? I can refuse to know or believe in the wind that dances between us now.
In our particular journey, years of on-and-off illness required a plethora of rehearsals in letting go.
And what of denial? One might think that with so many rehearsals that denial could be lessened.
Yet, I still forget at times that you are actually gone.
Let requires consent.
A repetitive action (decision?) that takes me one-day-at-a-time forward and then two steps back.
“sing and dance together and be joyous . . .”
It seems no accident that we met for the first time at a dance given our innate love of dancing. In our crowd, we were always the first to the dance floor and the last to leave. Throughout the years our favorite pastime of square dancing brought an energetic joy to our lives. When planning celebrations with family or friends, on every occasion possible we included dancing. Remember Sevilla’s, where we could put in an order for drinks and an appetizer and then dance to the smooth sound of jazz while waiting for our order to come out?
The tender feeling of your arms around me in the dance, the safety of your arms in countless hugs over days, weeks, and years, is what I miss the most at 131 days. Memories help. Especially this photo which takes me back to that spontaneous evening of love at Sevilla.
” . . . but let each one of you be alone.”
Let. That word once again connected with separation. Let us be separate.
In our life “before” we did have regular times of each of us being alone. Our personalities brought those quite naturally, I think; I as introvert, you as extrovert. This was a dance we mastered in the end since the dance itself taught us about gentle pauses within its movements. Our times of separation required learning on both our parts, like learning the steps of a round dance with its bend, curve, cha-cha move, twirl and repeat.
The words “Let each one of you be alone” in our current state feels SO alone and, paradoxically, in random discrete moments, so intimate.
As with all rites of passage, death does not offer certainty. It does not bend to our will.
Just know that I am always on the look out for you, babe, and I will keep my life’s antenna pointing toward you. I’ll keep adjusting the rabbit ears to tune into your frequency with hopes of finding you there.
In my times of feeling most alone perhaps I can remember these words.
“. . . even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.”
As I arrive to the end of this letter to you I am grateful for the consolation I receive when I speak to you in this way. In the mystery of life and death, I can only hope they offer meaning to you in some way as well.
The words of Gibran end with a message that offers a gift from our separateness.
It’s not enough, really.
But at least it has me listening for the music.
The subtle promise of a continued song.