Sunday, September 22, 2013

Last post.

This is the last picture we had of me on one side, Brian next to me, his fiance' Janet, Pia, my daughter and Jason her husband, and  Ken on the opposite side.
The date, July 2, 2011 was our anniversary, and we were most happy to have two of our children and their loved ones  celebrate with us at Redfish, here in Port Orford, Oregon.

If you had asked me on this date what we were most proud of, we would have told you, without hesitation, that we were most proud of the people our children chose to associate with, and the people they chose to spend their future with. Brian, our youngest, had just become engaged. He and Janet were most happy, and we were all celebrating our good fortunes.

I'm closing this blog. I thank you for your sweet words of support these past two years.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

When you fall into a sinkhole...

If you want to know why I can't seem to find words these days is because
you can't hear my words
after I've fallen in the sinkhole of grief,
and can't seem to  find my way out.
I am still threading water, coming up for air.

I can smile when
this little clip of him= Gobble-Gobbling
pops up
in my cache
of photos I seem to use as my raft.

At other times, I sink deeper and deeper, worrying about what I should have done,
like calling him the evening of his death
teaching him the very skill
that he needed to survive that night.

I search for his voice, his face. in every one I meet.

A short loop plays in my head over and over again
where I can see what I think happened that early Sunday
when he was hit, ended up on the pavement, passed out, died.

A sinkhole has no exit paths.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Writing is just an excuse...

Writing is just an excuse for me to talk to you face to face as though I'm in the car with you, stopped at a crossroads. I want to ask you so many questions.

We have not cooked the stuff you liked, for fear of 'losing it".
We take turns telling the other about how just thinking of you chokes us.

Out of the blue, I think of how you loved to nap at the strangest times.
I think of  how you played with your pets, how you managed to create a household where both cat and dog had their spaces. You worked so hard at getting that house so you could have a dog.
Newkie still goes out a window at night, at will.
I suppose that Butters still devours her food in one bite.

You asked about God and the afterlife.
I still do.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Two years ago...

Today is not an easy day.  Our loss
is not any less two years after
your death. 

You were there one day
gone the next.

No fault of your own.

Homicide, said the death certificate.
Battered by another was the cause of death.

The irony?
You were among friends when it happened, at a party next door someone, whose name shall never be repeated by me, took offense to something you said to him, or his girlfriend, they claim,  and that someone followed you when you left their residence and clobbered you from behind. 

When you fell, and collapsed, that someone fled the scene. Your friend called his own brother for assistance in moving you from the pavement to their house, where they let you sleep off whatever was wrong with you. They had no idea what was wrong with you.

You never woke up.
The next morning, the police was called, and you were declared dead.

Later in the week, the police arrested the culprit and held him on a million dollar bail.
The case is still open.

As is my wound.
We are still bleeding.
We are still waiting.

Nothing will change the fact that you are forever gone from our lives and we will miss you throughout our days. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's all good, people.

(Chris Baron and Brian)

I met most of Brian's friends, with the exceptions of his childhood friends, at his memorial, school friends, friends and spouses of friends he knew for the last ten years, and his colleagues at L3.
I met many more at the building of his memorial garden too.
I knew nothing of them.

This picture of him and Chris Baron show that both of them sport a bit of a beard!
Perhaps even a mustache.
And the smile says it all, with the thumb to cement it all: It's all good, people!

Yes, the thumb was up in most of his pictures with friends, letting it be known that things were fine, were all a go!

It's all good, people, he'd say, let's play a game. Why, I just thought of this one...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Father's Day at Disneyland.

Our family spent Father's Day at Disneyland. Ken had decided early in his fatherhood status that getting us all to Disneyland would be the gift he wanted for himself on Father's Day. The kids loved it! So, from the time he was in diapers, no, in uterus, Brian experienced Disneyland with the family on Father's Day.

The day went something like this: I would complain that we couldn't possibly enjoy a place that was so predictable, year after year. The kids would protest loudly that it was a tradition and we couldn't break such a tradition; and Ken would respectfully nod in my direction and promise he'll think of something else or someplace else to go to the following year.

One year Brian convinced me that I should join him on the Matterhorn Ride, even though I was not fond of such rides. I hated it. For years since, as each new ride appeared to thrill the family more and more, I sat behind and waited for them to get their fill of the thrill.

One year Brian convinced me that the ride at Space Mountain or...was not as bad as I thought, and that I would actually enjoy it. I went, and just a few minutes into the ride, I was furious. When the ride stopped, I was so mad I could barely contain myself.

Yet, aside from my aversion to rides, the evenings at Disneyland turned out great. Later, when friends and significant others joined us, we hardly saw our children, except for the end activity, a ride at the Pirates of the Caribbean and a meal at the Cajun Cafe overlooking the Pirates'.

Later, as Ken drove us home, each child donning some hat or trinket from his/her favorite ride, we'd talk about the day, and everyone, including me, would agree that Disneyland had not disappointed us on such a memorable day.  

Friday, May 31, 2013

I found your Mother's Day card.

Every weekend
when I talk with
you guys I feel
more and more happy
to be alive. Thank
you so much for this
wonderful gift

Thank you, son, for this gift.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

White lights.

You walked these aisles
and stood at the check-out stand
looking ahead to
the next event
the next opportunity to
fill your cart to the brim
each time learning to maneuver
life's supermarket
with more ease and style.

Shiny lights reflecting
surfaces scrubbed clean
written orders of importance
and sequence of events
all traces of previous lives
erased every hour
on the hour.

We live private lives in public places, yet, few traces
of ourselves exist anywhere.
Except in a mother's heart where it all started.

Monday, May 6, 2013

You liked music..

In the third grade, watching your sister play piano, you decided you wanted to learn piano too. So, we  enrolled you with Ms Galen, right there on Topanga, and dropped you off every Monday evening, right before dinner, for your half-hour lesson. The first evening you returned excited, telling Pia that in no time you and she could play a duet.

On subsequent evenings, Miss Galen sent notes home, written right on the book, with instructions to practice more. You sat and practiced when Dad or I or Pia reminded you to do so.

On your first recital, nine months later, you bowed at the audience and played your piece with confidence. You had seen such recitals for a few years, and you admired the little ones who could barely reach the foot pedals. You thought any day, the piano could be conquered.

When Michael began taking piano lessons with Miss Galen, your enthusiasm returned.

But you stopped piano when you reached Junior High, and there was nobody home by then to see that you practiced most days. It was a busy time for me, having just started my job as principal in the Antelope Valley I got home late most evenings.

In Junior High you took up flute and played it for a couple years until you needed braces, and could no longer work the flute.

Later, in college, you picked up guitar, and then got a gift of a special guitar from Mike Connoway nephew of Billy Strayhorn, the music writer and arranger for Duke Wellington. Mr. Connoway told your Dad that as long as you were interested you could keep that guitar.

Here, in this picture, I see you play with Michael, who ended up becoming a professional musician and musicologist, encouraging you to stay with music.

We were glad to find the Connoway guitar among your possessions. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The last time we saw you

Brian posing next to a skeleton at a museum in London, during  a stopover visit from his trip to India  in February of 2011. His last profile picture on Facebook.

Brian and Pia, his sister. He and Janet had visited her in Eugene, Oregon, and this picture shows the Willamette Bridge behind them, the same bridge where they all danced on the very same night.

Our last view of Brian is this and the next one, Brian and Butters down on the floor at our cottage in Port Orford, taking a nap after July 4th parade and lunch in Port Orford.

We had never seen him happier.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Learning Lessons.

Port O'Call, Southern California, St. Vincent's Bridge, Long Beach.

We talked about you yesterday
the time you sped down the Simi Freeway
from a job that went sour
and got a speeding ticket.

You were polite
and thoughtful in the Judge's chambers
opening the door for me
holding the chair before I sat down
contrite with your whole body
choosing your words carefully.
The Judge studied your demeanor
and gave you a pass
allowing you to drive
for work and school and community work stint
at the local golf course.

You didn't mind the hard work
soon scouring old shops for good clubs
getting friends to join you in
learning a new sport
in the place where you were making amends.   

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Canoe trip.

Quite often-mostly in summer- as I comb these beaches,  I see someone your size, six-four, with a lively dog, walking the shore. Down this path you and Butters ran up the knoll on the left and then disappeared at the mouth of Lake Garrison.

One summer, you and a friend were planning a canoe trip to the beach at about ten in the morning. It was way in the afternoon  when you finally took the canoe late across the mile or so space that separates our house from the beach,  the wind making it hard to paddle to the ocean by now. You worked hard, and I could tell, sitting on the deck, and spying through the binoculars, that the wind was making you work even harder than you had anticipated.

Then, I watched as you combed the beach for what seemed like an eternity. I kept hoping you had realized that winds don't disappear; that winds would make the return trip more treacherous.

An hour later, I could see you and your friend paddling against a strong current, and making little progress. Then, you disappeared from my viewfinder and I held my breath in anticipation.

Before I decided to send for help, before I warned your father of your demise, knowing how proud you were, you both walked in the front door, tired and disappointed, and asked Dad to help you retrieve the canoe back in a cove, surrounded by reeds. The three of you had quite a time getting that canoe, dragging it out toward the path that led to the parking area where the suv was waiting.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cat people.

First, Samantha.
When I picked you up at nursery school, you were barely a toddler, still in diapers, Samantha had  spent the day
with you, in your pockets.  She was the runt of the litter. The rest of the babies had been selected by other families, earlier in the day. Samantha was the last one, and you volunteered to take her home with you even before I arrived at the end of the day to pick you up. 

That night, and every night, she slept with you, suckling on your thumb, probably too young to be separated from her mother. Through the years, she hid for everyone, but came out when you called her. When the earthquake pushed us out of the crumbling house, when the place was turned upside down with a new foundation and new buildings, Samantha found her spot in the garage and wintered there, coming out for you every morning when you walked back to the construction site to feed and water and play with her before and after you went to school.

Samantha was eighteen when she died in a car accident.
You had grown up together.  

A friend brought you Newkie.
Newkie and I talk about you every morning and every evening when she cuddles up in bed with me, just the way she cuddled up with you. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Into the Universe.

That telescope
waiting in the living room
the lens loose and grimy
the connections flimsy
and hesitant
told me 
that soon
you'd have it all down on the ground
in little pieces
a puzzle
you craved to
your goal
look at the universe
as your playground
not that you had more time
or more skills
or more dedication.
You just enjoyed 
the beauty
present in
intricate puzzles. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Read my shirt.

Like music tunes
your t-shirts
in your playful life.

They were part of your beat.

Friday, January 4, 2013


 (Brian and Janet and Butters in Port Orford, July 4th weekend, 2011)

 (this one has a definite date, Michael's birthday party, 2011)


 (in Port Orford, 2010)

 (with friends, from the haircut, @2010)

 (Brian and Newkie @2006)

(Brian at Cape Blanco, @2005)

I'm stuck in a ever-repeating loop,
Counting backwards
to find my way all the way back
like the time we
hiked Cape Blanco,
fighting the winds,
dodging heavy surf
all the way to the lighthouse.

You drove up all night,
to spend a few hours with us
on that Christmas Eve.
We picked you up in Eureka
a few times
when you were in a big
back to a
life without us.
I knew so little about your adult life.

I found out
a whole lot more
at your funeral.