Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I met Amy shortly after her 31st birthday.  She told me her birth date and I dutifully remembered it.  Incorrectly.  Somehow January 20th stuck in my mind.  One year I asked what she wanted to do for her birthday this coming Saturday. 
"Saturday?"  She queried.  "My birthday is on Monday.  You DO remember my birthday is on the 22nd, right?" 
"Yes, yes, of COURSE I remember," I lied.

And then one year I renewed our benefits and slipped again by filling out the paperwork with dependent information and the wrong birthday. Amy noticed this when getting a prescription and was denied coverage for she was the wrong Amy with a different birthdate.

Luckily, Roe v. Wade day is also Amy's birthday.  She would sometimes joke that people always protested in front on the Supreme Court on her birthday. So from time to time I did what any normal person would do to recall her birthday:  Google "Roe v Wade."

Saturday Amy turned 43.  We released purple balloons at the Middle School like we did on Mother's Day.  And then the boys and I ran down and up the big hill nearby.  It was very cold, we wore ourselves out and I tweaked my achilles.

There have been billions of January 22nds even before January existed. And billions more will come.  Yet this is our first January 22 apart since being together.  The Sun and Earth will conspire again and again to create more January 22nds.  And nothing I know stops that.  And nothing stops the love you gave us, nor the love I hope you received.  That I will never forget.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Soap Bubbles

It's the small things, really.  I used to see her everywhere.  In the clouds, the trees, the rain.  But now I see her in the medicine cabinet and on my tax return form.

Qualifying Widow(er) with dependent children
The other day I opened the medicine cabinet and there she was - woman's daily multi-vitamin, birth control pills, and benadryl for sinus headaches.

I used our last bar of soap.  The soap she liked and would buy on sale.  I think about this as I hold the last dissolving sliver in my hand. Then it foams and disintegrates as it washes down the shower drain.  For a moment I wonder, should I have kept it?  I cry as hot shower water runs down over me.

Like soap bubbles we join together as foam then dissolve back into water.

Friday, January 7, 2011

In Mortality

Despair and loneliness emerge to fill death's vacuum.  Rushing together they implode into a blinding light:  grief's vain attempt to fill the void.  Next to me she walked.  Coerced, I bid farewell to the life partner with whom new life was created.  In death, as we vowed, we part ways from the physical.

I gaze into the mirror and the refection of my own mortality stares back.  Generations past and dead hover under the reflected skin waiting to emerge.  A new wrinkle.  A freckle.  Is that my grandfather I see, or his grandfather?   I too shall die, return to dust, and join them.  Will it be tomorrow?  Next year?

A meaningless question.  Unanswerable, I hope.  So I hold on.  Hold on well to that new life.  New life with a boundless capacity for love where before, long ago, existed nothing.   Life again.  Love again. Random carbon and oxygen and hydrogen and nitrogen now embrace, become life, and are anointed by love and commanded to love.

Because just as certain as death, is life.  And life begets love.  And thus we prevail.  In the end is the end but it does not end.  Perhaps not in me, but through me.  For we are commanded to love.  Two stars are attracted by gravity and one is destroyed.  Gravity ceases.  Without one, gravity is lost.  Two lovers come together and one is destroyed yet love continues unabated.  What other force of nature can make an equal claim to continue, to become stronger, once it's source is vanquished?  Gravity, I thank you for holding my feet to Earth, but what else are you good for?  Love, you on the other hand, create yourself over and over again.  You hold me up. You lift me higher.

Ashes to ashes over-simplifies.  In between the ashes we love one another and sow and reap new love again.  And again.  And then again once more.