“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

1.27.2009

Almost-here, Almost-gone

The whole world seems to be made of colors
that are almost-here, almost-gone.

The sky I thought was white, white, white, is tinged with a damp gray, the streets & trees are foggy. Nothing quite real, nothing quite solid, everything with one foot here, one foot there. The trees loom like bones over the neighborhood, the birds calling to each other, unseen, their voices mixed with the mist, unreal, unreal, perhaps not birds at all. My mind is everywhere - I awoke at 5, and moved to the couch, raising the blinds so I could see Mary's house bathed in darkness, the sky at that time a dull almost-red. An email from Christy felt like warm arms surrounding me with understanding, and I fell asleep, waking later to this almost-whiteness. Late, as usual - it is always later than I think it is - no time even for my morning shower - face scrubbed, shoes on, I am out the door, forgetting a check which must be deposited. Unlocking the door to find that & some cash, throwing bananas & potato rolls into a bag, grabbing a coke, I am back out the door. I cannot remember that I have to push the button on my keychain to unlock the doors to the Jeep - it confuses me. I am thinking of To Kill a Mockingbird - there's a bit where Scout is remembering when Mrs. Radley died, or she's hearing the story from Jem; she remembers how quiet they had to be, how the neighborhood waited in quietness. I think of that in flitting thoughts, not really seeing the entire passage, not really remembering it, but feeling it, watching the quietness of our block, the gray mist, the white skies. A text message from Katie tells me of her dream last night: " . . . a hawk was dying slowly and Charlie (the cat) wrapped himself around the hawk & was holding it." This after a visit to Mary last night, almost-asleep, almost-awake, almost-here, but mostly-gone, looking quite birdlike tucked up in her nest/bed. And so we wait, we continue on, we move from home to work to the grocery store, we remember to pay bills, we try to eat, we lead our normal lives, but with a white sky in the background - waiting for a phone call, waiting, waiting, waiting for a breath that will not come again, and we are teary-eyed on & off; we have been here before with others, we are not unschooled in this art of saying goodbye. And goodbye we have said, it is okay, we have said, let me hold your hand, we have said.

The world today is full of colors that are almost-here, almost-gone.
It is cold.
and mary wants a new orleans funeral ceremony through the streets

9 comments:

  1. This quote took my breath away...
    The whole world seems to be made of colors
    that are almost-here, almost-gone.
    I feel the same way but had not found the words to express it the way that you did.

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  2. I understand this very well... My father died of cancer, very slowly, piece by piece. What you have described is very similar to his last few weeks, and I remember the waiting very well. And I remember how the world seemed to echo what was happening in my family--rain, the skies splitting open and weeping. I am so glad you have had the chance to say goodbye--that is a blessing beyond compare. I will hold you in my heart and thoughts for comfort and peace.

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  3. Life and death
    pursue us
    with equal ferocity.

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  4. Melissa - These almost-colors are usually my favorites, but today they seem like omens.

    Amy - Thank you. I, too, have been here with my father, and everything does seem to echo one's feelings. Odd, isn't it, the power we give to things beyond our knowing?

    jfrancis - Yes. One just a part of the other.

    Thank you all. I didn't want to post such a sadness, but it is here now & the words just rushed out.

    Debi

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  5. Did you hear it? You heard the breath being knocked out of me again.
    Oh. So eloquent and moving. I can't fully comprehend it (or my mind/emotions will not allow me to), but still, the tears came. Tears moved by beauty.

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  6. Paula - Thank you. It's not meant to be fully comprehended; I left it vague because vagueness matched the colors & my mood. I'm not sure I fully comprehend it all myself. :)

    Love, Debi

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  7. I was here a little earlier, and tried to write a comment, but I became flooded with emotion and just couldn't find the words. Each post you write finds a little space inside of me and stays there. The magical, whimsical words, and the sad ones and the vague ones too. They all hold a special significance.
    This was such a touching post. Thank you for sharing.
    xo

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  8. Jaime - This is so hard to write about, and yet when it is so close, I am unable to not say the words. Watching the end of a life is so difficult, even if the life has been here for 95 years. It is sad, heartbreaking, yet natural. So much grieving already - each moment dearer, each touch of a hand more important. Thank you for reading with kindness.

    :) Debi

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  9. for the reading of this poetry i am listening to willy deville sing about heaven. all throaty and smoky and full of passion. debi i understand jamie needing to come and then go only to return again to comment. and that little space she has for you and your words in her heart. i don't know how mary is this day but i will say that no one has had a better pre-send off to the world beyond.
    didn't you say she wants a new orleans ceremony through the streets when she goes?
    xo

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