"Those were hard things for me to come by, and I offer them to you for what they may be worth." - Toby Wolff

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sharing Death

Sacramento Historical Cemetery

My brother is calling me.

But he doesn't call. He doesn't ask me to visit. He isn't one to keep in touch. But he wants something. And I know what it is. He knows that I lived something, and he wants to know how to live it too...live through it. But I didn't live it. I died. Sure as self, I laid waste to my own being and parted ways.

How does one share death? Death seems singular. You travel alone.

All of a sudden he is chatty, and excited...as if I have the answer to his unanswered pain. I might have said that I did. I might have alluded to the fact I could help. I want to. It is my nature. I might have lied. I won't know until we sit cross legged on the battered carpet, once beige, now faded to an awful pink. I won't know until his smile breaks off and pieces of him fall to the carpet like Lego bricks. I won't know until we two-arm sweep those pieces...the way he did with his dinner, cutlery, and condiments, drawing them to himself, his two year old self, into himself. "All mine", he would say. "All mine." It was funny then.


She sits beside me in a television studio.

"People want to solve. People want to help. They would say, 'Have you tried this, have you tried that.' Of course we had. In all that trying we grew further and further apart. And so we gave up one dream and decided to start living."

Amen sister!

And so a book is born. Through it she wants to solve. She wants to help. She did not live through it. She died. Sure as self, she laid waste to her own child and parted ways.

I see her living now. I've never seen such a glow come from death.


  1. I'm touched beyond comment

  2. I wonder if when we sleep, we wake up the same person. Each day perhaps we are a new person, with only the memories of that person who was there yesterday, and the person before that the day before ...

    Life is full of mystery. The only people I really mistrust are those who say they've figured it out.

  3. Your writing is so lyrical...the poet on you comes through.

  4. Matt - I laugh. You can trust me completely then :) I told a friend last week that I no longer know anything. She said "I hear it's a sign of wisdom, to say you know nothing. I certainly don't!" Then she started laughing..."WTF! I am wise!" And that's what we have now in our aging beings...the increase of wisdom, or so I hope.

    Liza - Thank you for the lovely compliment. I never consider myself a poet, just hands that poetry writes through.

  5. This is beyond powerful, Annie. xoxo

  6. i am so moved. this is just so fundamentally powerful. this is making a piece sing.

  7. Marion and Ed -
    You two must be my number one fans! High praise indeed, coming from the two of you. It was one of those things where you sit down to write and these pieces of life snap together like magnets. They couldn't be separated and so aren't.

  8. I don’t get these callings anymore. I once did. Used to have similar conversations too. Very much enjoyed.

  9. I remember when my dad died and I was in his apt, ironing his suit, when I felt a presence, I felt him, but I was too hurt, and I turned away, I wish I hadn't

  10. Just found you, but found your words intriguing and compelling. Wish you didn't have a black background though. I find it hard to read white on black. Otherwise, great blog!

  11. "I wonder if when we sleep, we wake up the same person. Each day perhaps we are a new person, with only the memories of that person who was there yesterday, and the person before that the day before..."

    Re: Matt... Wow... Now THAT is something to ponder!!!

    Annie... I LOVE this... I have had times when i have felt that I have literally died. When Dad died and I got divorced all within just months of each other, my counselor said she identified four transitions that happened in my Life over that short a time. Her definition of a transition was a change that was so significant that my Life would never be the same again...

    So, in that regard, maybe I did die...


  12. Anthony - Thanks. The conversations might come back. Seems they don't like ending.

    Lorraine - Hind sight is 20/20. We react as we can in the moment. No sense to regret.

    Brenda - Welcome. Sorry it's hard for you to read. Highlight the post, then you can read it in blue on white! Or copy and past into the comment box, then you can read it in black on white and just delete :) Thank you for muddling through. Nice to meet you.

    Shoes - I agree with Matt. If we are the summation of our experiences, at least in part, then we are never the same two days in a row. We are in constant flux: growth and death. Wonder who I will be tomorrow? You won't even know me then. The process of becoming is daily. Do you think that's why so many relationships fail? We forget that each day we wake next to a new creature who is as yet unknown? We live the day as if our partner is the same as yesterday, and no time is taken to discover the minute changes that become new beings over time. Interesting thought.

  13. Human down to the bone and marrow. Touching. Poetic.


Thank you for listening.