Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dear Joseph

Dear Joseph,

Here we are, our third Easter without you. It doesn't feel very Easter-ish today with the rain, the chill and the blustering, howling wind. But it is a day of renewal nonetheless and a reminder of why I believe I will see you again. How do they celebrate Easter in heaven?

I wonder now how interested you would be in all this Easter Bunny traditional stuff. I suspect you would still enjoy coloring eggs with your brothers. Your artistic bend was deep and true to your soul. You'd be tall, I have no doubt. Next month you would turn 16 and be geared up to drive. You'd be finishing 10th grade at Vines and this coming school year would be your first at the Senior High, the very school I myself and your father graduated from. It is strange to think of, some kind of twilight zone that almost came true.

My thoughts today are on your funeral, where you remain in my mind's eye a 13 year old boy who died, my boy. It is interesting that I can vaguely imagine you older and more mature, a hazy vision on the periphery of consciousness, like looking at an image through frosted glass. Again, an echo of what might have been carried now only on a windy whisper, no longer an air of promise, but one of wistfulness tinged by sorrow. Nothing that happend to you was supposed to have happened from my motherly point of view. It is two years since your death and I now look back at you with a paradoxical sense of your having really been here and yet a wonderment of angst and fearfulness that perhaps you were never more than a spirit that flitted in and then out of my life. It is hard to reconcile the solidity of the being that I held and comforted, that I bore from my body and physically nurtured and raised...and the physical nothingness that you have become now. It is all swirls of emotion and sense, lingering shadows of a boy...a beautiful, wonderful, flawed, human boy. I miss your laughter, the steadiness of your love, the unceasing goodness that warmed from inside out of you, the impishness, irresponsibility, occasional orneriness, disobedience and independence. You were everything a boy should be and many things that many are not, sex and age aside.

I chose songs of resurrection for your funeral services on purpose. I did not want that final public farewell to be an agonized, teeth-gnashing, God-cursing affair that showed the horror and fury of my heart at the time. I guess at some level I knew I would want to look back on that event and be bolstered by spirital statements of faith that I still can have difficulty grasping with conviction but that fill me with hope and give messages of soothing peace, for you and for me. I enjoy now remembering the music and the experience, how many people were there, how many lives you touched. I hum the music and feel a surrender inside.

So that is what this day is about for me now. I think I will always be prompted to remember your funeral on Easter. Its the one day of the year the songs from your services are played out loud to the world. I don't go to church on this day...I cannot, at least not yet. But I hear and remember. I sing in my heart. And this year, I am touched by the knowledge that life itself is fundamentally a very, very good thing. None of our ends from here will be anything but poignant, and eventually all of us will walk the pathway you have set off on. That knowledge comforts me too, oddly enough. Yours was too soon, but not unusual nor even incorrect. It was not wrong for you to die. Premature is a different thing than incorrect. It enables me to look forward in every sense, to the life I have left to live to the inevitability of its end and our reunion. And it allows me to look back, to the fullness that was you, your universal nature filling a house, a room, a life, my heart with the unstoppable personality you were and still are. Acknowledging the goodness of this life let's me touch and hold the goodness yours was. It lets me be okay with the goodness that still is. I no longer have to try so hard to be happy Baby. You would like knowing that fundamentally, I am. And part of the happiness is that you were here with me...and that I believe you will be again.

I love you. I miss you. It is Easter and you are still here with me and in me.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sheri -- As always, your writing is very inspirational and moving. I know you have a book in you, and can't wait to read it when you do so.

I saw you posted on the new LLS board (hate the new set-up; why didn't they leave it alone?). So, I stopped by, read more than a few of your entries.

I always enjoyed your writing so much. Hope you are doing well.

Doug Johnson (LLS board)