to moan and weep
when it is not he
GABRIEL B., NOVEMBER 12, 1997 – JULY 10, 2004
I remember where I was sitting when I heard it was coming, and how I got up out of my chair and ran down the hallway, blind from hot tears, not knowing where I was going, and I remember how the sun burned down when I stood there on the porch, and I looked up, and knew in an instant he was gone. It felt wrong for the sun to be so bright, it felt wrong to be breathing; and later, it felt wrong for berries to be so vividly blue, it felt wrong to taste their broken sweetness, twisted as they were into the batter of the pancakes we ate out back, under the deep-rooted oak.
But color doesn’t fade when grief comes; it is only blurred for a moment because our vision trembles. But it doesn’t fade; it doesn’t rust and it doesn’t crumble, because “we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed”.* It shines, and it is brilliant in color, and it is love, and “Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark, but shining out at times like gold stitches in a piece of embroidery.”**
My vision trembles from time to time, again, even now over the years; I see the blur in a memory, in notes of a song, or in the way sun shoots down through the woolen clouds even when it’s most dark. I see the blur, and I know it is well with my soul.
Today is different than that day because I’ve learned it’s not wrong for the sun to be so bright, it’s not wrong to revel in the taste of the blueberry or the way the daffodil splits the earth in the spring.
“The living can’t quit living…They can’t because they don’t. The light that shines into darkness and never goes out calls them on into life. It calls them back again into the great room. It calls them into their bodies and into the world, into whatever the world will require. It calls them into work and pleasure, goodness and beauty, and the company of other loved ones.”**
**Wendell Berry, Hannah Coulter