Monday, August 21, 2006


Dear Angie and Tommy,

The saliva is slowly accumulating in my mouth but I can’t swallow. When I notice my cheeks, they are wet and my headache is not gone, in spite of double doses of Ibuprophen. If I were to go to the Hallmark store and would search for a card, it would not be for the most perfect one, but for the most imperfect, the black and gray and stained and torn one, with no words at all, for there are no words for this. No sympathy can move into this great pit of despairing ache. If there is something that may enter into this grief, it certainly is not words.

Yet, words are our first tools, the ones we so rely upon for almost everything. Words, the definers of humanity, right up there with opposable thumbs in lifting us above the animals, are simply inadequate for this task, which could, I believe, be achieved better by a six week old puppy that could at least crawl warmly into your laps to offer fur for stroking and eyes to look into without having to glance away under the weight of meaning.

So I offer nothing really. What would the right card say? "In this darkest night, there is the light of hope." Or, "May there be comfort in knowing that the memories will live in our hearts forever." Yes, but this is more than can be borne now. Now, the cards should only say, "Would you like a glass of water", or "I fed the dog last night and I’m taking the parakeet to my house for a few days."

This morning I listened to the chorale that sits behind Cantata 140 by Bach. This spoke a little of what my heart is feeling. It said in the notation of melody and harmony, just a little that seemed right. The words are in German so they do not interfere, though I do know that the scriptural text is Matthew 25; not inappropos. Around about the fourth line of this, the harmonies say for just a few bars, what I would like to say.

And maybe tomorrow there will be words. And after that some hope and memories.

With my love and many tears,


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