Friday, September 30, 2016

A Word Before Bed

There's so many things I want to tell you, little sweetheart and I'm just about to go to bed. So, I'll tell you lots more tomorrow but one of the things was that I was remembering today one time when we were at the house in Davis you made some cookies. Usually baking was a big adventure there, a glorious one, but this time it was altogether stealthy. I didn't even know you'd mixed up the batter or had put them in the oven. You simply came out of the kitchen with a big plate of them, saying you didn't think they turned out very good. But of course they were! And as always it was just magic being there with you. Oh, my sweetheart. Earlier this week I was in a session with Jason. I can't remember which of the new songs we were playing but I had to sit down after, I was so moved. I looked up at Jason and said that every day I still somehow think you'll be here, that somehow you'll come back. I cried and cried. But in a way, you are here, aren't you, my love? In so many ways I know you try to let me know that. And I pray to be with you soon and forever. You're my everything, Summer. And I love you with all my heart and soul.

Monday, September 19, 2016

About Today...

Little sweetheart, today is the 10th anniversary of the passing of your beloved big brother Jesse. I never got to know him because his shocking, inexplicable passing came the year before I met you. But I know how very very dear he was to you and how he touched everyone's life who he did meet so profoundly. Three things just off the top of my head that I am thinking about today regarding him are these stories that you yourself told me.

1) His prominently displaying a picture of you in his college dorm room freshman year and proudly telling anyone who asked that that was his baby sister (to great swooning among the coed's, I'm given to understand).
2) You and your mom attending one of his oral arguments at trial and he so comfortable with his summation that at one point he was leaning causally on the bench, possibly to the judge's slight annoyance.
3) That before he proposed to Michelle, he first told you and in so doing gave you a ring also...

Like I said, these are just the three that first come to mind. From the moment you began to share yourself with me (luckiest boy ever), you spoke with adoration and admiration for your beloved Jesse and for your mom and dad. I know the two of you are right over a shoulder, just around a corner. And that We'll All Will Be Together soon and forever.

I had a wonderful dream a little while ago that you and Jesse were in the kitchen at your parents house. I rushed to you the moment I saw you and collected you in my arms. Jesse, who I'd only just met, started easing me a little, but then saw how frightened I was to let go of you and then you and he and your mom all gently assured me that it was okay - no one was ever going away ever again.

I know you two are together today and looking in, closer than I can imagine. How I long to fly to you! With all my love....

Friday, September 16, 2016

In That Place You Will Take Me

There is a place, my little sweetheart, in the well of my chest, that is unlike any other. However the center of thought may be the brain or the governance of bloodflow the heart, this special place is the center of existence. If there is a portal between this world and the next - and I both firmly believe and fervently pray that there is - this is its gateway, its nexus, its physical manifestation. The shock of love sparks there, its tremors felt most keenly. The ache of loss resides most devastatingly there. I didn’t need illustrations to tell me this but I remember seeing one once. A diagram from some tract showing the soul leaving the body, its mystical vapor rising from exactly that place. When you held me in your arms, my little sweetheart, and I would weep with inarticulate joy to have been found by you, you would gently stroke that exact place, that well of being in my chest and quietly call me your treasure. Over and over you would say it to calm me: “my treasure, my treasure, my treasure…” . For months after your tragic passing I kept a knife beside my bed. I imagined constructing a vice with blocks of wood to hold it in place so that I might impale myself on its blade right at that very place where you consoled me and now I ached and wished to drain the life from myself to end the pain and hope my soul to exit its cage and fly to you. One of your dearest childhood friends was still in touch with me in those days - most all have fled, she’s not to be singled out, she’s not alone, that distinction falls to me ... - and knowing not specifically of this but in tune enough to suspect I might take my own life, told me that if I did so I “would never find” you. Those words, that thought stopped me in my tracks. I asked her soon after if her thoughts of this came rooted in religious belief. And they didn’t. She couldn’t really articulate anything of the kind. But even unmoored from faith, the thought took hold with me and strengthened, illuminated my own. I mustn’t take my life, I must let you come to take it for me, and to take me with you. Even as I type these words, I feel that stirring in my chest, in that place where you soothed me. I know when I do fly to you it will be from that departure point. And when I call to you it is from there most deeply too. You visit me through its open door, a door you yourself pried and propped open with the boundless great gift of your love. Please linger there, stay with me a while today, won’t you, my little sweetheart? Please. Please, don’t go too far away…

Thursday, September 15, 2016

My Sweetheart Sent A Butterfly For Me Today

Little sweetheart, I woke up this morning and have been going all day. About 45 minutes ago, I found that I needed to lie down and close my eyes for a few minutes. You love your naps, too, I know and that's another reason why I like to take one - you taught me! I was curled up next to your pillow holding on to the sleeve of your purple blouse with two fingers and listening to Radio 3 softly in the background, when I remembered something. I quickly grabbed my phone from the bedside and wrote it down: My sweetheart sent a butterfly for me today...

I was near the end of my run along The Hudson in the early afternoon, little sweetheart, when a pretty monarch butterfly suddenly swooped down and right across my path near my face. Then she kept right on flying just in front of me, leading and encouraging me on. I never see butterflies so close to the river as where I was just then. I think I may have been thinking some dark thoughts - this is near the spot where I had that terrible fall last year and cut up my face so bad, my plastic running glasses breaking at the bridge and tearing open flesh as they scrapped down my nose. I'm extra careful near there now.

But whatever was occupying my thoughts vanished when that pretty butterfly came and visited me. That's never happened before. And I know you were with me. I know you try to let me know in every way that you can that you are. I know I must often miss these important signs. But you certainly got my attention today!

Thank you, my darling. I love you with all my heart and soul and pray to be with you soon and forever. Thank you for sending the butterfly to guide and cheer me today. You are my miracle. You are my sweet angel. My soulmate and True Love and best friend. Like I always used to say even if you were just going into the next room to fetch something or shifting merely inches to the other side of the bed - don't go too far away.

With all my love forever...

Saturday, September 10, 2016

All Of Them

Little sweetheart, your mom gets a catalog from this company called The Victorian Trading Co. They have such lovely things - vintage prints and pretty dishware and homeware and lamps... all kinds of things. I got on their mailing list too after getting a thing or two for your mom, myself. There are so often times when I see a print - all of Waterhouse's work comes to mind - that looks uncannily like you. Indeed, I devoted most of a Tumblr page to that very thing for years.

I remember your mom telling you after seeing a particular photograph of Mary Pickford that she thought she bore a striking resemblance and that you replied with a shrug, "I look like all of them" (Silent Film actresses of that era). I also remember your great friend and ACT mentor Craig Slaight saying that as a child, your mom dressed you in beautiful Victorian dresses and that you looked so magical (and also that you were so terribly serious and seemed to look around at your classmates wondering what all these children were doing here).

I save each Victorian Trading Company catalog that comes in the mail. I have a stack of them here near my desk. Invariably, the cover image - usually a vintage illustration or painting -  looks remarkable like you. But I'm also on their email list. This morning they sent me something and it featured contemporary models in vintage style and modern dress clothing they have on sale. One image, again, looked so like you - a redhead (darkish red) with big brimmed hat like those you often sport perched on her head. She's turned slightly away but her features shockingly resemble yours. I saved it. It's below.

I'm meeting with Evan Yionoulis in an hour or two to see an installation piece at The Park Avenue Armory. It's meant to be about loss and mourning. Evan's at Yale and working with us on our performance art installation adaptation of Of Love and Loss.

Everywhere I turn you are on my mind. I long for your presence and guidance. Every day I hope to better honor and tell others of you. Every day I hope to wake to you taking me home with you on your angelic wings and teaching me everything I need to know about The Forever. Please be with me today, little sweetheart. And take me to you as soon as heaven will allow. With all my love...

Friday, September 9, 2016

I Know

Little sweetheart, I woke this morning from a dream with you. Few things these days make me happier than that. Even if I only sketchily remember the details, just knowing you have touched, visiting me in slumbers makes my heart soar. I hold on to the wonderful feeling all day. It gives me encouragement that I may be doing things right. Thank you, my sweetheart.

As I say, I don't remember with much detail what we were doing. I think we might have been grocery shopping and I remember that you were upset or worried about something. Nothing of terrible consequence, just some minor set back. And I was able to help figure things out and put your mind at ease. The dream had a sense of normality to it, a sense of our life together. The wonderful everyday that I remember so lovingly and gratefully and long for so intensely I can nearly touch it. I don't remember the details of the dream much more than that but you were with me and for that I am grateful today.

The last thing about this I'd like to add and tell you about, little sweetheart, is that my iPad was playing music softly from beside my place in our bed. I often go to sleep with the SOMA-FM app on, tuned into their ambient station, "Drone Zone". When I woke up, I said our prayer, little sweetheart, as I always do and then kissed your things laid out on your pillow on your side of the bed and said "good morning, little sweetheart" as I also always do. When I turned back to my side to get up, I heard a lovely little ambient piece playing there. I picked up the iPad to look at the title. It was called "I Know She's In There". Perfectly right. I know very well that you are.  With all my love forever...

Monday, September 5, 2016

In That Moment

Little sweetheart, I want to tell you a little about my great grandma. I was thinking of her last night. Her name was Pearl. She was my mom's dad's mom. The mother of my namesake, Louis or "Louie" who I've often told you would be a real kindred spirit of yours and love you almost as much as I.

Pearl was a very spirited and independent woman. Her story is kind of amazing and I think you'd really love her, too. She was married to a man before she married her second husband. And that's what I want to tell you about.

She was married when she was 19 to a man named Hiriam. He was older, in his 40's. They found each other and fell deeply in love. They both kind of left behind the lives they'd known before just to be with each other. She had my grandfather with him - Louie's first name is actually Hiriam. Louis is his middle name. He started going by Lou or Louie as a kid and it stuck but he was named for Hiriam.

Tragically, not long after my grandpa was born Hiriam died suddenly. And terribly, cruelly his family took him away. They wouldn't even let Pearl go to the funeral. In her grief she was so alone, my little sweetheart. She'd run away to be with him and when he died she was alone with a baby and nowhere to go and only 19. It was a very moralist era and Pearl had to find a way to go on and take care of little Hiriam Louis. She had to find and marry someone else and she did. She found another man who was kind, a little odd as I remember, but kind to her and that was what mattered. He came to the marriage with two kids of his own. Pearl raised them all as a family and took care of them. Incredibly, I can't remember his first name. He was still alive when I was a little boy. He died when I was about 7, I think. But Pearl lived until I was a teenager.

She was a tough old cookie. Like I said, I think you'd really like her. My grandpa ran a hotel on Lake Eire when I was a kid and the whole family would go down there during the season - like June through August, like Memorial Day to Labor Day (which is today and maybe why I'm thinking of it) - and kind of man the ship. Louie was an amazing baker and would run the kitchen and cafeteria. My mom and grandma would pitch in. Even I "worked" in the salad room (like away from all the knives or anything where a little boy might get hurt). And Pearl was always at Reception. She was kind of like the concierge.

She got around really well and was in terrific health living on her own until she fell one winter on some icy steps clearing her back porch and broke a kneecap. I remember her funeral. It was the first one I ever went to. I wasn't there when she passed away but I remember hearing about it. In her last hours she called out to Hiriam, to her first husband, to her true love. She never forgot him.

And I've never forgotten that story. It was my mom who told it to me. Little sweetheart, I think in that moment Pearl saw Hiriam, saw her true love and that he took her with him and they were together again and forever. I think it was one of those moments where we, only mortal, have a half-glimpse witness of the eternal and see or maybe more in this case hear how close The Forever is as someone is called from this realm into the next.

I love the idea that Pearl's true love appeared to her and took her home with him in those moments. And, little sweetheart, so desperately sad and lonely for you today, I pray that you will come for me in the same way, as soon as Heaven will allow. I believe and pray for exactly that. Please help strengthen my faith, help me be kind and good and take me to you soon, won't you my love? Until that day! Until that day...