I've already written in a poem about saying goodbye, so I am not sure this momentary pause in thought, matters in respect of the RedRoom weekly theme request. It counts for me, as this past week I lost a part of me. I lost the bedrock of my life in enforced exile. As the theme has been about saying goodbye; the emotional punctuation of a life ending is vast and consuming, as much as it is invisible and irrelevant. Goodbyes, over the years, in my personal corner of life's Hundred Acre Wood have been fundamental sayings of erasure: not of those gone, but of aspects of me; of who I used to be. Each erasure has brought within it a miniature lesson about the nature and essence of living - not the absolute generalised kind, caught in slogans and taglines, euphemisms or clichés, but the raw, inevitable kind that alters the state of psyche and one's skin. Losing a father ...however qualified, is tantamount to a section of your rooting cut away and not having said goodbye,not knowing so as to be able to say goodbye, leaves me dislodged of my centre, breathless and feeling as if I tred the cusp of an unknown in toe shoes: the margin becomes miniscule and stretches out like invisible string. You would think losing one paternal figure enough, my count is four.. so far. Each paternal figure has been imbued with a different role and different emotional significance, creating perhaps something of a cubist dimensionality to my emotional landscape: but then I have had no ordinary life and death has intimately shaped mine. And seem never able to be there to say goodbye. My step dad, my Dad, died in the early hours in a hospital from pneumonia. It was from complications he suffered following a physical assault while he was drawing money at an ATM on a Saturday morning. His attacker left him and he was found lying between cars in the carpark by strangers. He was so sadly weakened by decades of alcoholism, that he had no way to fight his attacker off, let alone survive his injuries. I never had the chance to say goodbye. My ex father-in-law, an impressive man and a Dad double-time when I had no one, died of a heart attack he knew was coming..his being a surgeon after all: He died half a world away. How was I to take my leave of him? My father-law, with whom I shared a birthday, suffered the onslaught of liver cancer and was gone almost as quickly as I had come to know him: the gentlest of soul burdened by too much experience. He died around the 11th hour just before midnight of what would have been our joint birthday... And now Juerg, the steadfast bastion of my second chance at life , fought cancer briefly and gone in a whisper..and I was none the wiser.In grieving, we ache for a loss of ourselves as well as for the people who shape us. How can one not but learn about the depth of beauty within someone, when your soul tears in agony of your imagination's conjuring : a barely imagined blunt horror a close friend stabbed in her bedroom fourteen times by her long time boyfriend..a room you knew intimately for the hours spent between splahes of paint and laughter as you assisted her re-deocration: A mutation of a man you spent evenings in the company of, in conversations about the holy grail , art and the making of jewelry - his creative speciality. How can you not live a kind of self-erasure as disbelief sinks like a stain into your mind knowing you have no idea how to save a life. How do you breathe in a viewing room filled with grieving friends and see the mammoth grief beyond the grasp of a boy in his mother's aura as Purple Rain fills the air and to the music, my own pain and anger chokes as I wish to strangle her, my best friend, for leaving him this lifelong hell, for hanging herself three days after his eleventh birthday.. and as my soul shrivelled tight in its deep freeze, I really wish to ''strangle'' myself, for not, yet again, knowing how to save a life. How could I breathe long enough to say goodbye... I couldn't and have been socially reclusive ever since. How can I not have learnt about the essence of life, in living the deepest irony of all... losing my dad to alcoholism in life by the time I was nine and losing my mother to a drunken driver, whose recklessness killed her while on parademic call in an ambulance. We buried her two days before my twentieth birthday... I'm still learning how to say goodbye for all the saying of erasure continue to teach me of how to live.
Causes Renee Sigel Supports
The Grossman Burn Unit