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October 2008



Sometimes life spins so fast that we have to hold on tighter simply to keep from being flung into space.  It would be easy to think only of what is being lost or causing us pain but trusting that life has more to offer than sorrow and pain, knowing that hearts break so that they have more room to hold on to love and then settling in to each moment is all we can do.


Our "Shannon" box held so many memories and cards and letters that span three decades and I want to share some of those here... so that I never lose them, but that will wait because for today I'll simply share two somewhat unrelated thoughts.


Our friend is losing his battle with cancer, not today or tomorrow but his chemo is doing more harm than good at this point and he just needs to rest.  His heart is open and the love that surrounds him will keep him safe... but we are sad.  I heard Gloria Steinem say on Oprah last week that after losing her husband people kept saying to her,"You must be so depressed."  Her reply was that depression is when you care about nothing.... sad is when you care about everything.  I know exactly what she meant.


I'm not doing so well in my creative writing class but I am finding that I see more clearly in trying to find words for feelings that defy language and Sunday after spending some time with Bob and Jane, I found words, although inadequate, for what I felt as I sat watching my friends hold on to every precious moment.  They inspire me to be better and more patient and more grateful.  Their friendship has blessed my life for thirty years.



For Bob


White venetian blinds slice the view.

Sunlight puddles on the blue brocade,

and sparkles off stained glass maple leaves

as they twirl and flutter and dance, to October’s song.

Don’t they know that they will have to let go?

Or do they know a secret?

A secret that orchestrates their pirouettes.

My friend sleeps his dance.

His brown Nikes turn inward like a small boys’.

He snores peacefully and his belly rises and falls,

keeping time to his own silent song,

while I remember our children’s laughter.

I close my eyes … wood smoke and butter basted turkey

 and The Night Before Christmas.

He was a soldier, a student, a conductor, a teacher.

He is a husband and father, a fighter, my friend.

His mind and body stood tall

like the tree I see

in slices through the white venetian blinds.

I want him to wake up,

To talk to me about toy trains and fishing boats and baby Violet.

I want him to see again with eyes unfettered by the invisible invader

that has stolen his sunlight and his moonlight,

But never his heart light,

which only grows brighter each time she touches his cheek.


I sit with him,

Silent except for the sound of the pen on the paper.

Life beyond the window

Tries to show me,

To reassure me

That one day we all twirl and flutter and dance,

And then we let go,

And fly.