September 05, 2005

This Craptastic Time of Year

To the Wife of a Sick Friend
By Edna St. Vincent Millay

Shelter this candle from the wind.
Hold it steady. In its light
The cave wherin we wander lost
Glitters with frosty stalactite,
Blossoms with mineral rose and lotus,
Sparkles with crystal moon and star;
Till a man would rather be lost than found:
We have forgotten where we are.

Shelter this candle. Shrewdly blowing
Down the cave from a secret door
Enters our only foe, the wind.
Hold it steady. Lest we stand,
Each in a sudden, separate dark,
The hot wax spattered upon your hand,
The smoking wick in my nostrils strong,
The inner eyelid red and green
For a moment yet with moons and roses,--
Then the unmitigated dark.

Alone, alone, in a terrible place,
In utter dark without a face,
With only the dripping of the water on the stone,
And the sound of your tears, and the taste of my own.

I have tried many times to explain what Amy meant to me, and I can't translate it. All I can say is that when the world mourns in September (over Princess Diana, over 9-11, and yes, even over Hurricane Katrina) I mourn over Amy. Maybe it's selfish, in the face of so much loss, to consider one's own personal (and past) loss important, but if such a thing is selfish, then I'll be that. I've been worse things in my time.

Posted by LoWriter at September 5, 2005 11:17 PM

Once I found myself sitting with a friend listening to a fellow mourn his father's death and I sat there, on the edge of tears, recalling my grandfather's death which was like the death the guy was talking about, yet different, and knowing my friend had suffered as well, but differently. There was something in that moment, three people mourning three men, that was both intensely intimate and intensely solitary; that in mourning our individual losses we were also mourning a universal loss.

I don't think what I'm trying to say is meant to be a sort of consolation, at least not in the usual sense, only that somehow caught up in our individual mourning is something larger--something beyond selfishness--that there's something important in the fact that whenever I mourn the loss of my grandfather I also mourn friend's loss--even though we've gone our seperate ways and haven't seen each other since. Maybe, in a way similar to how the Eurcharist draws all believers together into an act of mourning and of celebration, our act of mourning those we have lost involves our participation with everyone, known and unknown, who mourns losses of their own.

Sorry to get all religious on you with this, it's kinda late.

Posted by: lord palmerston at September 6, 2005 03:40 AM

Lo, you have loved greatly. And you are loved greatly.

Posted by: dr gonzo at September 6, 2005 10:53 AM

I think that in order to identify with other's losses we consider our own. It is how we empethize with each other I think.

My thoughts and prayers are with you Lo, and here is a song for you:

There's no one in town i know
you gave us someplace to go
i never said thank you for that
now I'll never have the chance
what would you think of me now?
so lucky
so strong
so proud
i never said thank you for that
now I'll never have the chance
may angels lead you in
hear you me my friends
on sleepless roads the sleepless go
may angels lead you in

It sounds better in song form, but it's still moving. (Jimmy Eat World, hear you me)

Posted by: 10lees at September 6, 2005 04:07 PM

10: I have some Jimmy Eat World. i will have to check that out. It sounds like a good song. Thank you for sharing it with me. And thanks for your thoughts and prayers and for listening to me without judgment, even when I am being ridiculous.

Lord P: Thanks for your words. I have often felt that way but not been able to express it. I have often believed that our losses connect us to each other even if no loss is ever quite the same.

Dr. G: Thank you. You are also greatly loved and appreciated for your kindness and willingness to keep me company during the rough spots. (Even though I say I hate you for certain decisions, I don't really mean it. ;) )

Posted by: Lo at September 8, 2005 08:31 AM