total strangers, saying goodbye
on any corner of the world frays at my soul.
the simple gesture of the open hand
waving back and forth in the gathering sky,
like bright tissue paper kites darting this way and that
too far above us,
or the distant cry of a summer loon....
remain so hauntingly out of reach.
the way; in the autumn of life,
we know goodbyes separate us from the ones we love,
is not a wave of longing, or melancholy,
it does not catch in the heart of holding on.
it is a faster, fiercer wave that throws caution to the wind;
sends its love in a furry careening off towards adventure,
rarely looking back.
(i have a young son and recognize the unencumbered velocity of youth
moving forward like a great unstoppable wheel of wanderlust
propelling him ever forward to places unknown.)
when i was sixteen my best friend moved to sinaloa, mexico.
after countless months apart
i convinced my parents to place me on a tijuana southbound bus for her, and springbreak.
the two day rosary swinging on the dashboard of a treacherous ride ferried me away
to a small village where i would awaken to an exotic world
that would shatter the cookie cutter mold of
my lily life.
i am sure i waved goodbye
with the same wild abandon i now see in my son.
and although i jumped on the over crowed bus
with an electric sense my world was just about to burst open,
i did notice my father's eyes, his pure unguarded love
and something that seemed to catch in his throat like thickening darkness.
an unmeasurable weight on the heart i recognize now to be
the pain of letting go.
my father lived his life as bright
as all my favorite memories combined.
he had an uncanny way of encouraging anyone who waked into his world
to feel their import.
he always had time to listen
with the kindest blue eyes that held everyone in acceptance.
he had a way about him.
a way of making everyone in the world belong.
i could write on and on about the ways my father enriched our lives
with his open and generous heart.
the sound of his laughter, the warmth of his embrace,
the way he always said
just the right thing to reassure a steadfast foothold in this challenging life.
for all the ways he enriched the course of my life
i have to say
the last gift he gave me remains priceless.
the gift of facing death without fear.
for when death arrived wrenching all our hearts,
he turned his impossibly blue eyes
and faced the ultimate letting go with utter grace.
his peace gathered like a wild awakening into
the measureless sky.
all the moments of a lifetime of unconditional love finally rising together
into that last wave of departure.
the man who made living so intensely heartfelt
paving a steady path for me in
the the ultimate letting go.