Friday, October 19, 2007


A small girl holds her mother's hand
drifting up third avenue on the
vast luxury liner of childhood.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Trying on reincarnation

If there is a cycle of karma, if we go through rebirth after rebirth until we figure out how to drop the sorrows of existence, then motherhood must be one of the top causes of samsara. I'd not only go through all this pain and grief again for those moments of joy, I'd do it right now. This morning on the walk to work, I heard a toddler saying "look, mommy!" It didn't hurt at first. I thought of Jesse, of course, the babyhood he left behind to become a man. But also of my cousin-- I remember him as a baby, a toddler, and loved him, but I don't mourn that babyhood as if I had lost him forever. I mourned Jesse's early years before he had even reached adulthood. Wise mothers don't tell that secret to their children.

My younger son and I were talking about (Godknowswhat) not long after his brother died. I was reassuring him about something, and said, "... of course I will. You're my emissary to the future." He liked the idea, but I don't know if he realizes what that means (who could?) Maybe that's why we keep our mouths shut about the past we have lost. Who knows how delicate a matter is the future.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Feeling it today.

From a conversation elsewhere (I was asked why Western women don't try to enlighten Middle Eastern women about the veil and all it symbolizes). My response was that it's wise to take care of the log in your own eye before addressing the burka over another's. My conversant took this to mean "men" were the problem, which I found an odd take on my point. So I explained further: women have to take responsibility for their own lives, and blaming men isn't useful.

Identify the problem, come up with solutions, and get to work. Share your insights with the sisters and the brothers, so everyone benefits. There's a reason the human race is still around, and it's not wars.

Destruction is not the reason we exist. Evolutionary success at least, has been largely a result of births within social units that protect our unusually weak offspring (for such a successful species), the cooperative nature of our species-long endeavors as they've developed (from hunting and gathering, through the division of labor during the industrial revolution, and on) and and therefore commerce.

War provides only a partial employment of these two vital aspects of our success, and while it informs the gene pool sometimes by creating a clear winner, so do the other social forms (besides war): family/parenting, group/social bonds, intergroup/society trade (in both ideas and technology), and intergroup marriage to create larger "safe" groups that increase population over larger territory therefore creating a wider selection of genetic material, and more techniques and land mass on which to find food and resources.

About moving on.

I know eventually I will, we all will. I know the last thing Jesse would want is for all of us to wallow in grief over him until we ourselves die, having achieved nothing. He would want us to carry on the exact kinds of things he expected of us all, and of himself in life. I couldn't be the kind of mother that I wanted to be with Jesse (life and human limitations saw to that), but we both tried, again and again, to find the kind of peace we wanted to have between us. I think if Jesse were around today, he'd be urging me to get things done, like going back to grad school, like traveling, turning dreams into plans into actions.

But I can't let go, move on, forget. I can't live for Jesse, and I can just imagine what he'd say if he thought I were. But I can't live without the belief that he is still out there somewhere, even if I have to lie to myself a little that there is some kind of afterlife, some way he knows of me and that I can know of him. That's my way of accepting my own limitations in the face of this ineffable, monstrous, mundane, obvious fact of existence. This bargain we make with life.

I can maybe add some new threads to the fabric of this blog. A little broader picture of life, of what it means to survive the event horizon of this endless loss. I can't move on, really, but I can move forward.

I had a dream

about Jesse. It was part of a longer dream and a lot of it was odd to the point of nonsense, but the parts I remember: I'm standing on a street corner with a bunch of friends. Behind us is a rolling clothing rack you often see in the Garment District, full of clothes. We start trying to remember the words to that kids' song, "do your ears hang low?" and all the moves. None of us can remember all of them. Suddenly Jesse appears, hovering cross legged above the clothes rack so it almost looks like he's sitting on it, but that's impossible. I know in the dream that means he's there as a spirit. He's smiling and aping our movements, but he remembers the parts we don't, and I smile and clap, raising my hands up in his general direction when he's done.

Later my younger son is watching tv with a group of people, and one of them (his college prof?) tells him "I don't like this show, change it," but when he changes the channel the guy says,"NO, I mean change the tv!" and he does. For some reason this causes the front air conditioner to spring a leak down the inside wall. I go back to ask him to return to the original tv because this one is making the AC leak, and he looks at me, exasperated.

Jesse appears, this time standing, and gives me a hug, smiling. I tell him how glad I am to see him, and he tells me he's going to fix the tv for his brother, and the leak for me. Then I wake up with a start.

It made me feel somehow relieved that he was smiling, that he looked healthy and that he was offering to help us do something. Those are all three things that didn't happen much in the last few months of his life. I wish I dreamed like this every night.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Bikeathon, racing in Jesse's name.

I just attended a fundraiser last night for a woman who's doing a bikeathon in AZ. Her name is Christina (Peach) Ciucur, and she's part of the New York team for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's TNT program. She and the team want to race in Jesse's name with a photo of him. If anyone would like to know how to donate for Peach's race,or if anyone has a picture of Jesse they think would be good for the team to use, let me know, and please pass this along. The race will take place on November 17 in Tucson. Her site link is

Thanks everyone.