Sunday, October 28, 2012

My daughter made me cry

Nell made me cry tonight.

She didn't mean to. She was catching up with a friend she hasn't seen in a couple of weeks, chattering away about a book that the two of them have just read. They were having a very animated conversation about plot points and characters and the frustration that both of them have with the ending, and at one point Nell remarked to her friend Maggie "if anyone is hearing just one side of this conversation they probably think we're crazy."

She got off the phone, and asked me a question. "Dad," she said. "When you were little, or when you were my age at any rate, did you have a friend you could talk to about anything at all?"

I couldn't answer her, because my voice wouldn't work.

I had a brother. And I could talk to him about anything at all, and he understood my jokes, and I loved him.

The last thing I said to him, when he was able to respond, was "I love you." And through the breathing mask, he said "I love you too."

I miss him every day.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

The Long Goodbye

Michael died nearly 5 months ago; a hard, hard, thing to come to terms with. We, who loved him and miss him, have tried to find ways to say goodbye. The letting go is hard, our respect so deep, and the missing him so huge that this seems impossible to do. It seems that with a traditional (sort of) memorial, an Irish Wake, a goodbye to his house, and three separate memorial concerts, we should be able to say that we have paid our respects and completed our goodbyes.

Yes, a part of me knows that there is really no need to say goodbye to him at all because our memories of him will remain with us forever. We also have his beautiful and soul searching music to console us. And, joyfully, he was composing and recording to the end, which means that there are more recording of his music yet to come.

Nevertheless there is still one piece missing.

We found that Michael had made a list of things he wanted us to do for the wake, but we found the list only after the wake was past. As we read it we were relieved and pleased that we had done well in bringing together the people and music that he would have wanted, except for one thing. He wanted the poem, The Lake Isle of Innisfree, to be read by his friend, Bill Lochen. It was to be, I think, his goodbye to us. It seems a message that he was, and that we should be, at peace about his passing.

So I reproduce it here for all his friends and family, his parting message to us. Imagine it being read by Bill Lochen, or you don't know Bill, imagine perhaps Patrick Stewart's voice.

Posted by Mom

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.