Friday, March 8, 2013

Ode To a Young Man Gone

My sister called me today.  The one who hasn't called in a decade except the time she called last month to tell me that her stepson had died.

That was crushing, as I was waiting on the phone for the opening formalities of that call to pass so she could inform me of the purpose of her call--that her husband had died in a car crash or some such tragedy.  But no, it was the death of a child!

The boy was 21 when he died, his death a final release from the domestic wars our society puts children through when a divorcing adult--in my opinion in this case his biological mother--enlists his or her children in their narcisstic need to bloodlet against the other parent.  Sharon and Meg, and your enabling intimate friends, in my opinion you too should rest uneasy.

My sister and her husband are scattering the young man's ashes tomorrow at sunset atop Sun Mountain in Santa Fe.  I had my best run forever just after sunset one winter day in 2007 running around the base of that mountain with the young man's father in the snow and dark, wearing lanterns on our foreheads for illumination as evergreen tree branches whipped our faces as we ran past them. 

I asked my sister today to tell her husband that that was my best running memory ever.  I could barely speak because I wanted to cry.

My sister was nice enough to say that the card I sent to her and her husband expressing my sorrow and quoting Dylan Thomas' And Death Shall Have No Dominion meant a lot to them, and that they would read the poem when they committed Matthew's ashes to the mountain.  I said I would be there in spirit.

I told my sister that I loved her.  She didn't say anything to this.

Go be with God, young man.  I remember you well from the last time I saw you, when you were nine, a vivacious, bright, alert boy, and I will pray for you in church on the day after.

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