Sunday, January 15, 2012

Our Ideas About Death


Right after
your father died
you used to talk to me
in the middle of the night
about your ideas
about death,
how maybe you would
dig a hole in the ground
and find Daddy
or how it scared you
that they might
put you and Mama
in different holes in the ground
when you died,
and you would be
very lonely then,
or how you wanted
to die together with Mama
on the same day,
because you always wanted
to be with her,
and it was sweet
and horrible
all together for me.

I had to be
an adult
and reassure you
that you and Mama
would live a long time,
but that it
was still sad
that Daddy died.

I remember you saying to me,
"I never thought
you would die, Jim,"
and it was chilling
to think of you
imagining my death,
to see you face death
so early.

I also remember
after one of these conversations
at the lake house,
you getting up
and saying,
"Let's never die!"
and jumping around eagerly
on the bed,
and I thought
that was
a damn fine response.


Even though I reassured you
about death, and
was happy to help,
I don't really understand it
or like it myself.

I think of it as
a cruel robbery
that breaks hearts
that changes lives' courses
that makes days grimmer,
and I would undo it,
I would stop it,
if I could.

I don't understand
why we are here,
or why we die
-- it does seem cruel --
but despite that,
the chance to meet you
and love you
was worth it.

-Jim DuBois
Nov 30, 2011

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