vendredi, décembre 26, 2008


Maybe if I write this post quickly, in a matter of fact tone, it won't hurt so badly.

Maybe if I find Amy's Grant's "Breath of Heaven," with its tinkling piano accompanient, it won't be so hard.

I'm only posting because it is, in this case, a species of exorcism, of purification, of mourning. For there are moments when the past and present fuse, if for a moment, in a way that lets the pain flow into rooms that seemed swept empty for years.

Almost 20 years ago, I came home from Philadelphia to my parents house in New York City. The tree was up, the decorations swinging from the branches of an evergreen big enough to stand up against the piano and the ten foot ceilings.

As I came in, my mother came down the stairs and told me my brother Jonathan had not come home.

In the nightmare week that followed, the police found his body in a forest in California, where he had attended school, had fallen in love, had gotten the news the woman he loved had died, with one of her children in a car crash.

After dad died last year, I brought home a box full of ornaments. I forgot where I had put it -- until Christmas.

A newspaper covered the globes and metal decorations and wooden balls, the Orrefors crystal and all the baubles my mother had lovingly collected over the years....the date on the newspaper was December 25, 1989.

The decorations went into a closet --no joy, no laughter, only grief, and after that acceptance.

My brave mom died a little more than two years after that terrible December.

I believe, though I cannot know, that my parents and my brother have long ago found one another in a place where none of this matters. And tonight their sister, their daughter lets the tears fall, witnessing not only to the devastation of tragedy but the power of love, stronger than evil, stronger even than memory.

I will never stop loving you.

" Still I notice You when branches crack, and in my breath in frosted glass...Even now in death you open doors for life to enter..You are winter"...Nichole Nordeman

3 commentaires:

Sabrina Vourvoulias a dit…

I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history
through corridors of light where the hours are suns
endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
was that their lips, still touched with fire,
should tell of the Spirit clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the spring branches
the desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.

What is precious is never to forget
the essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.
Never to deny its pleasure in the morning simple light
nor its grave evening demand for love.
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
with noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.

Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields
See how these names are feted by the waving grass
and by the streamers of white cloud
and whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life
who wore at their hearts the fire’s center.
Born of the sun they traveled a short while toward the sun,
and left the vivid air signed with their honor.

-- Stephen Spender

I hope your Christmas, while touched by the bittersweet memory of loss, was full and lovely, Elizabeth.

Offcenter a dit…

What a fabulous poem, Sabrina. Thank you for sharing it with me, and with readers who might not know Spender. I'll come back and reread again.

Catherine + a dit…

Such a memory is exceptional in its clarity and simplicity. This is a bittersweet time for you and for me, and for many others too. It's beautiful, Elizabeth. There is not other word to describe the recollection or the meaning of it now.

May you find joy and solace in this season, in your children, in your faith.