Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sweet love

Loon Harper Berry passed away peacefully under a namesake canoe beneath the pine trees in Mt. Hermon where my dear friend, Harry (Bob, to you) has found grace with soulmate Chris. Harry learned earlier than I did not to live your life as fodder for fiction. Middlebrow fiction, at least. I am sorry for the loss of Loon, a dog of stature and sweetness. A dog of grace. I am thankful too for the comfort Harry and Chris have carved there in Mt. Hermon, a place I often yearn to be.

Chris and Harry cared for the real Harry, the father, at the end of his life and tenderly ministered to the vessel of the most tender of souls. Some people exude an innocent goodness, that when I am in the depths I am ashamed to say I am still vulnerable to, keeps me hovering in the agnostic zone. God is Dead. Maybe.

Kaz's mom, Alice, found her soulmate in Jack, one of those exalted souls that inspires me and nurtures my faith in faith. Alice was laid to rest on Saturday. Kaz's John tucked Jack into his bed the night of the service and Jack signed, "I'm so tired." These were the last words he spoke. He passed away the day after his wife's service. Now, knowing that Alice is safe and not suffering, Jack can rest.

Anna, the birthmother of Himself and her husband Jerry visited from San Francisco and met my boys and joined us for Shabbat dinner in my new kitchen, which no one will love like I love and that is a good thing (back in therapy...). We were all very nervous but it was the happiest of occasions.

When Himself brought Jerry and Anna to my office I was reminded of how much my dad would have loved meeting them. He adored entertaining visitors from his big leather chair, surrounded by an impressive collection of movie star photos, all "To Al," Jimmy Cagney's in Yiddish. I can only imagine the wildly inappropriate comments, questions and filthy jokes that would have sprung forth if he had lived to meet the birthmother. My father was the man who asked writer Alex Haley (Roots) who was doing some research at our library, whether he was still writing “that Black stuff.” And still, I never missed him as much as when I heard the footsteps of guests in the hall.

Kaz noted that not too many husbands provide two mother in-laws. While I have no hard feelings about the first one, the second one, I hold in awe. To step from the shock and shame and rage she expressed and truly felt but half a year ago, to break bread at our table and share a bite of chocolate with her grandson was an extraordinary leap and act of courage that planted fertile seeds of sweet new love.

And then there's sweet old love. We are nearly twenty years together now Himself and myself. He has impregnated me twice resulting in the infiltration of Casamurphy with a teen and a preteen. We have buried parents and pets. We have remodeled. We have wept together at his birthmother's rage and then again, when she reached out finally in love. The yoga teacher arrived to find us in a screaming fight. The stereo in my car is too loud. I listen to Tupac. I don't put my shoes away. I ate the last piece of the See's soft centers that had the little sprinkles on it and didn't exactly lie about it but obfuscated, not to mention my chronic consumption of rice cakes in bed. I believe in love. My heart is full. Read this and feel. Happy Valentine’s Day.


Mimi Pond said...

Very nicely said, hon. Happy V-Day!

harry said...

I go back and forth. The intense center of life marked by death's diffusion. Deep and wide, a fountain flowing. The focusing insight of loss. Like a window in your heart. Yin yang. Molly Bloom's yes. Carlysle's no. The same as the gutteral no/yes when looking under the canoe. Somebody else's voice. Meetings on the edge.

Lovely paragraphs dear friend. Happy Val.

FionnchĂș said...

Thanks for the love we share. Vivificat semper! May it thrive always! xxx me

Chris Berry said...

Layne, once again you've left some beautiful thoughts/memories for the world to ponder here...

Loon always held his tail high and wagged it enthusiastically when your clan was in the hood (or when we were in yours - especially when he'd just stolen a pie off of your kitchen table).

Happy Valentines Day.