There is always more to say when you are speaking about death, and also, nothing to say.–Francesca Lia Block
Some things should be sacred, I know. But should the sacred be secret? If I keep my brother locked in memory, will it be as if he never existed? We breathe life into things with words, by keeping quiet am I slowly erasing him?
My brother died two years ago today.
How do you fit a whole life into that small word. A laugh and a voice and everything he ever said and touched and moved. I guess that is what we do when we grieve, try to stuff a whole person into that small space, then try to stuff ourselves in there with them so no one is left alone, then we have to learn to breath and move in that dense air.
I can smell that day so clearly, big raindrops fell for a few minutes and the wind moved and things fell from the trees and the house was full of sad, broken people and I sat on the porch trying to process what was happening. In some ways I feel like I am still there on that porch.
It’s funny how we give meaning to things when we are trying to feel less alone. As it began to rain that day I remember thinking, Blessed are the dead the rain falls on. I read that somewhere and it came to me and helped. And then a moth flew in the house as I sat on the couch with my family and I thought, That is his spirit. And, sadly, that helped too.
And slowly that day wore on and we wore on and life went on. My mom began listening and chanting healing mantras, and we made the tamales that my brother loved to eat, and told stories, and listened to music so we wouldn’t feel alone and so we wouldn’t feel we left him alone. I felt the urgency Nick describes when Gatsby dies, the urgency to not let him go alone. See, you are not alone.
And that is how death goes and leaves life behind.
And here is the problem with speaking the sacred, it somehow feels untrue.