Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Ice dance

My baby nephew Stephen Andrew Henry died seven weeks ago today, after ten weeks of life.  I have been fighting the urge to use words to reconcile myself to his death because his death is irreconcilable.  Writing about it feels futile, as does everything else.  Words are become powerless.

“It’s all one,” said Keats.  “We keep on breathing.”  Or we don’t.  Keats didn’t, at 26.

My nephew didn’t, at 71 days.

Someday I won’t anymore, you won’t.  It’s not just the knowledge of the surety of death that this has brought home to me, but how asinine are most of my pursuits.  I want to hold on to that crystal clarity I found in the days following his death, the purity of love I felt then, in honor of him.

My intention to live only with hope from that moment on.

But it infects everything I do and write now, how God allows bad things to happen to good people, how the problem of evil is the only problem that matters, how death is a living breathing presence behind each of our backs.  And that makes all my inanity seem less important, all the ephemeral photographs of a New England summer.

“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted.”

All that’s left is an empty shape, an outline, a blank space, and if we heal then that ragged hole will be gone too and we’ll have nothing left of him.  But words are the only weapon I have with which to fight the darkness.

Art Spiegelman, Maus


Ed said...

My condolences on the loss of your nephew.

kolinko said...

I'm so sorry. Don't be afraid to write. I don't know if this helps, but no one ever fully heals from a loss like this. A scar will always remain. It'll still hurt many years from now. Grief just gets a bit easier to bear as time goes on.

Moxie said...


sally tomasik said...

Very powerful words, this will always be a part of you now. Always a huge part of everyone in your family, thank you for sharing this beautiful picture Melissa. Keep on.

Paul and Lois said...

"And that makes all my inanity seem less important, all the ephemeral photographs of a New England summer."

You mention the God who allows bad things but it is important not to be consumed by them, He's not only the one who creates the winter but also the ONE who makes the summer for growth and production. It seems to me He's just so much bigger and higher than we can imagine, that only by appreciating the summer and perhaps even the winter that we catch a glimpse of His might.