Dear Family and Friends,
I was pensive last night, the 24th of September, because it was on that night, in 2009, on the eve of my birthday, that Francis and I got the disturbing results of his MRI. I wrote a poem about it in my first book, Sing to Me and I Will Hear You – The Poems, called: “We Missed All the Signs.” And in prose, Sing . . . A Love Story – I wrote about it again, in the penultimate chapter“Crossroads,” under the section (p. 179): “TWO SCENES”. In fact, two years ago at this time, I wrote yet another, a second, poem (to be included in my third book in progress): “Nadir and Zenith.” I even shared it with you then, in 2012.
This third reference to those “Two scenes on that dark day” – in the “Nadir” part of this poem called “The Blow”– recalls “the shock of the 24th / the day we learned / you soon would die.” Then in the third stanza, the poem expresses, not exactly a question, but a kind of foreboding, as if bracing myself ahead of time to expect – that “future birthdays / may be dyed purple.” Last night was the fifth year, not the third after that “dark day.” I sat in my usual place, not for meditation (or “sitting,” as I prefer to call it) this time, but simply to reflect, in the presence of both Francis and my parents, as a kind of honoring of this “anniversary” night.
Having begun working on my third book, “THIS NEW LIFE A Widow’s Journal and Poems,” I already knew something had changed, but I wasn’t sure, ahead of time, how much it had. I was almost surprised to realize that, (not just as at Christmas, 2013 when I wrote you, “It’s Different Now”) even for an anniversary like this – I no longer felt that heaviness. I was sensing, as at Christmas, not just Francis’ joy that “our” first two books are already published, but his joy that I am now turning away from a direction I had begun to take.
I wont, since I can’t anyway, go into detail about this at this time. That is the subject of the third book, the writing of which is very much, still, a process of discovery. I knew from experience that writing reveals something new, but I didn’t realize until now, how much.
So, feeling assured on Francis’ part, I felt joyful last night, noticing my attention was lingering on my parents, instead of on that “shock,” the day we got the awful news five years ago. I was thinking of my mother who gave me birth 79 years ago, and of my father who watched with joy as I came into the world with my whole life ahead of me.
It’s not Thanksgiving yet, but I feel its spirit already. During the annual reunion with my McGillicuddy family, early last month celebrating “Shrine Sunday” (pages 84 – 86 in Sing . . . A Love Story) I was heartened by the experience of how familial bonds deepen as the surviving members carry on traditions we once shared with our beloved deceased. They are still very much with us, as members of the younger generation step into their shoes. And I found that very moving.
Loving regards to you all, dear family and friends,