White DE version 2

Monday, February 20, 2006

I'm Free

don't grieve for me
for now i'm free
i'm following the path
god laid for me
i took his hand
when i heard him call
i turned my back
and left it all

i could not stay another day
to laugh, to love, to work or play
tasks left undone must stay that way
i found that place at the close of day
if my parting has left a void
then fill it with remembered joy
a friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss
ah yes, these things i, too, will miss

be not burdened
with times of sorrow
i wish you the
sunshine of tomorrow
my life's been full
i've savored much
good friends, good times
a loved one's touch

Perhaps my my time
seems all too brief
don't lengthen it now
with undue grief
lift up your heart
and share with me
god wanted me now
he set me free

That poem was read at my mother's funeral. Thursday, January 7th, 1999. She was 40 years old. I have spoken more about my mother's death here than I have with most people in my life. After my mother's death, I fell into a deep depression and spoke to no one about it. It was a month later that I even mentioned in passing to my best friend that my mother died. He was hurt that I hadn't shared just a monumental event in my life with him. The problem was that I didn't know how to explain such a thing. I was 18 years old. None of my friends had lost a parent. How do you try to explain to someone so young, and perhaps immature, the feelings of loss that are coursing through you?

I decided the easiest way would be to avoid it at all costs. I hid within myself the sorrow and heart-breaking emptiness that was consuming me. I spiraled deeper into the depression that I had courted throughout high school. I resumed classes on Monday, January 11th - exactly one week after my mother's death. Months went by before I actually began to tell people the truth of what had happened, but I never told anyone the depths to which I had sunk. It was too hard to get out of bed. It was too much to expect of myself. I might make it to class twice a week. I stopped going to work. I began to avoid my friends in an effort to avoid myself. I did more than avoid myself - I lost myself. I was living by definition only.

My friends finally began to worry and tried to help in the only way people of that age can, I think. They invited me to dinner, to movies, to coffee. I didn't want to worry my friends, so I went. I went. I went. But I wasn't there. I learned quickly how easy it was to put on what I started to call 'The Face'. I could be in public as long as I had 'The Face' on. 'The Face' is not a look or an action...it was an entire way of being. A way of hiding myself behind a facade of what seemed normal. I became a shell of a person. I was shallow. When an animal observes and copies behavior, it is not because they comprehend what their actions mean, but because they have seen it and it is normal. This was true of me. I laughed and smiled. I told stories and shared in celebration. But, I still wasn't there.

Nine months after my mother's death I went to see Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison speak at Elliott Hall of Music. She came to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Purdue Library system. She read the end of each of her seven novels in order to give insight into her process. It was something she said that night, more than 6 years ago, that changed me.
"I have begun many books when I had no idea what the beginning was," she said, "but I cannot start writing until I know the ending — actually see the image, the picture."
I knew my mother's ending. Her book had been written. I couldn't however, know my own end. This could not be my story. I wasn't ready yet. My end was not yet on paper - not even a thought. I started to live again. I still need to work on my ending.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was six and had seen more in my first brief years than most would in the age I find myself now, I found it strangely in hind-sight to let all that was familiar go, and to venture into a world that was not only completely unknown to me, but unknowable, deceptively easy...

Would I have changed my mind, were it truly up to me at that time, and not just a matter of red-tape of social workers, and perfunctory in nature...? No, as I knew what awaited me at home, and though I couldn't imagine worse elsewhere, I had strangely a measure of hope and security believing I had a choice based upon my answer...

The day I was removed permanently from my home, and birth family, was the same day, I realized that abuse wasn't the worse thing one could endure.

There are far worse fates to abide one's life, and one of the worse one's I can imagine is that of a life spent looking backward in regret, and forward in hopelessness...

You found in you, at an age that most are seemingly oblivious to, a secret to life, as it were, that people sometimes don't reach until they are well into their Forties and beyond, a reckoning with Self, and as painful as that was, and unfathomable as it would be to most, not only at the age you were then, but even more so, to those who find it strike home mostly unexpectedly, and rarely when they are able to account for how to go-on... You, did... You apparently have made your life a living testament to the pursuit, of Life, not merely living. This takes unspeakable courage, and a willingness to step outside yourself, and wisdom of action, that will have been the backbone of your unknowable future. Life asks of us many things, but what few realize is that it gives us far more than we could ever possibly hope for...

So should we choose to receive the gifts that can never be priced, or paid back, as they are indeed Priceless, and free.

Sadly as I imagine is readily apparent to you now, in some ways more than it might have been then, you are not among a majority to have discovered this, you are in a minority of souls who have grown aware of the significance not only of the miracle of Life, but of the Miracle of Living it...

Many believe it is only those whose years are far behind them that teach them about life, but I disagree...

Wisdom is not guaranteed to the Aged, nor is it denied to the very Young.

I write this, not because I personally know you, but because you have inspired me... Of that I am most grateful.

Sincerely: Bobby...

9:25 AM  

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