Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Forsythia of Remembrance


Dear Mom,

I’m sitting on a train en route to Prague. Outside is the green of Bavaria colored by the pink plums and yellow forsythia. Easter is on its way and it was in front of the forsythia bushes in our back yard that we always took the photo of us dressed up for the occasion. Remember that?  Was that why I found myself thinking of you and looked for the Memorial Service on my laptop to discover that it was this very day, April 6th, that I lay holding you in your last few hours with Frank Sinatra playing on the boom box? And then you left. Three years now to the day that I have been orphaned and carrying on without your weekly blessing. But your lifetime of blessing is a constant companion. Your loyalty to loving me made its mark and nothing can erase that.

Would you like to hear the news? First and foremost, let me tell you that I am happy. Of course, miserable about what happened in the last election and always with my fair share of personal despair, disappointment and even disgust. But overall, perpetually hopeful and happy and healthy in mind and body and mostly at peace in my soul. Why? Because I have found the work that uses all of me, that fits perfectly the way I’m put together, that constantly without fail repays all energy and effort expended with further energy. I’m still at school—42 years. Imagine that!—and still mostly happy to be there. I’m still traveling the world teaching adults and children and how I love it! I’m always welcomed by people eager for what I can offer and always bid goodbye with the sense that expectations were exceeded and now I have new friends, comrades in the quest to better the world. I still like the freshness of travel, the pleasure of wandering new streets and allies, sauntering into fields or wandering alongside riverbanks. I’m happy in my hotel-du-jour with my books, cards and occasional DVD’s.

Well, that’s not much news, but maybe the news you’ll be happiest to hear. On other fronts, I’m still playing piano at the Jewish Home three years after you left. Fran left this past November and that still is a great sadness for me. But Edie and Rudy and Gloria and a few others you knew are still there, as is Arthur and Barry. Without you there, Ginny and I don’t see each other as often as before, though she occasionally drops by there and we stay in touch as we can. Damion is in Italy now, Kyle still working at the bakery, Ian a father (a son, Ezra) living close to Kerala in Portland. Zadie is five and Malik getting close to two, Ronnie about to finish his second of three years at Occupational Therapy School, Kerala continued her heroic work as breadwinner and Super-Mom. Karen retired from school, Talia’s finishing her 5th year there. I went to Roselle in November, saw Cookie Boxon briefly and the neighbors. As you know, our house is gone from a hurricane, but the old garage is still there. Maybe a forsythia bush in the back yard?

And so life proceeds apace down here and I’m grateful to still be part of the drama. All of it.
The sound and the fury, the power and the glory, the heaven and hell of it. So it is on a train to Prague, a compartment like the ones in Hitchcock movies, Karen knitting across from me, the green of Spring slowly emerging on bare tree branches and again, the forsythia of resurrection touching the memory and warming the heart, that I write on the occasion of your passing to tell you the news and remind you that I remain your perpetually loving son.   -Doug



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