Friday, December 9, 2016


I drove past the cemetary on the way to the airport today. The air was so clear, warming from the desperation of the cold – the beauty that has kept us inside for the last few days. And I blew a kiss. I don't always, sometimes I drive right past, but your memory is dancing all around me these days as I consider working in the world of addiction, returning to California. As my best friend is burying her brother, who shared your struggles. I called 911 two days ago, after a mama locked her little in the car in 10 degree weather. It wasn't a panicked phone call, it was calm and calculated, because I don't know how long it takes a fifteen pound baby to freeze to death, but I know that it was more than twice as warm the night you did.

I don't know how long it took – how long you were down before you were out. Whether you suffered or simply slowed as your blood turned to ice. In the dark, cold month between the anniversary of your birth and the anniversary of your death I often wonder what song was playing in your mind, what images were dancing in the fog of your last breath.

Where you've gone.

Why your memory returns without warning.

How to forgive myself for our last meeting, when my attention was lost in a triangle of men, when I ran away into the arms of someone who didn't deserve that kind of reward. I wish that I could go back to that moment and say something – anything – worthy of a goodbye. Or better, something that would remind you that I still cared, even though I wasn't sure how to say so.

I'm cautious with goodbye now, cautious with saying what I mean, even though it isn't culturally appropriate to do so, even if it has lost me some friends or affections. Even if it closes some doors, this is something that I've learned from losing you.

My driver this morning was named Jesus – auspicious, for sure – but also a harmonic of you.

The sweetest Gethsemane, birthday buddies. My lost boy who slipped through my fingers.


Dear Jon, I wish I could have saved you. That's my sickness, the shadow side of my gift. A lesson I didn't learn until it was too late. Something I had to relive to truly learn, a darkness I barely escaped.

This year I'm going to learn how to drive a stick (again); I'm going to say goodbye with compassion and the fullest expression of honesty that my tiny body will allow me. I'm going to write a book, and in it, I'm going to call the chapter about you Buford, because that's the word that keeps your memory alive in me.

I'll keep blowing kisses, keep remembering.

Because my curse is loving too well, too often, without the ability to disentangle my heart from the places it's been.

And this year, that will also be my gift.  

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