Thursday, April 15, 2010

I don't feel like it

I don't feel like blogging. I don't feel like doing anything. I've been done in for too long.

Christy's family held her memorial at the Lovejoy's Tea Room, her favorite place. It had been so long since I'd shared tea with Christy there that the tea room was in a new location down the street. They had displayed lots of Christy's hats on the Victorian hat rack, and had lots of wonderful photos of Christy throughout her life playing on a video screen. It was great to see her at so many ages and in so many circumstances, loving life and brightening the lives of others. I had brought a tube of extra posters that she and I had printed for the book we did in case some of her loved ones wanted a copy. They seemed glad to have them.

When we were invited, I spoke about my relationship with Christy. I brought condolences from some of our other Goddard friends. (Some of us are planning a picnic on Ring Mountain later this month in memory of Christy.) Others had mentioned how she was always giving little gifts. I told of a Waterford crystal shot glass she gave me that I intended to fill with Jameson's when I got home and lift a toast to Christy.

After the ceremony, Richard shared with me some of the details of Christy's crossing. I don't want to share them here because I don't know if that might feel too revealing to her family, but I can tell you they moved me deeply. They underscored my feelings and knowledge of the dying process as well as what a special person Christy was.

Richard asked me to close the ceremony with this poem that Christy loved, written by a mutual friend of ours from the San Francisco Writers Workshop we used to attend at the library named Mary TallMountain. Mary, now also sadly gone, was an Athabascan from a remote village in Alaska.*

There Is No Word for Goodbye**

Mary TallMountain

Sokoya, I said, looking through

the net of wrinkles into

wise black pools

of her eyes.

What do you say in Athabaskan

when you leave each other?

What is the word

for goodbye?

A shade of feeling rippled

the wind-tanned skin.

Ah, nothing, she said,

watching the river flash.

She looked at me close.

We just say, Tlaa. That means,

See you.

We never leave each other.

When does your mouth

say goodbye to your heart?

She touched me light

as a bluebell,

You forget when you leave us;

you’re so small then.

We don’t use that word.

We always think you’re coming back,

but if you don’t,

we’ll see you some place else.

You understand.

There is no word for goodbye.

* Bill Moyers featured an interview with Mary on a show he did about Native American poets. He found her enchanting.

** Unfortunately, this blog will not accept the proper formatting (indents) even if I don't put the poem in quotes. Apologies to Mary and all poets.

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