Thursday, February 7, 2019

Call-and-response


In the emergency room, after they called your time of death (which was strange, because I saw the moment when you died with me, and that moment was an hour earlier; I watched as your brain stopped all thought and your eyes became fixed and dilated, though the men continued working to keep a heartbeat for you, that could no longer keep itself), a wail loosened and I couldn't stop calling your name and your epithet: darling darling Alex darling Alex darling

In the waste of cold lights and twisted sheets and metal things, you  couldn't answer me

I took your dead hand in mine and suddenly, beyond the wailing, there began a chorus of voices,  a sea of crumpled people in the curtained beds all around us, reedy thin hesitant voices "I'm sorry" "I'm sorry" "I'm sorry" locked with my voice in the call-and-response of a blues song as old as human memory

5 comments:

Karen ^..^ said...

Oh, my dear friend. I'd nearly forgotten your writing. It's a true gift, to be able to share your raw emotions in such a way. I can't ever express my sadness for you and your family, at the time of this terrible loss. Where your friends are in shock for you, your grief must be utterly overwhelming. Your writing does have a David Foster Wallace quality to it. This post was like a gut punch. I've followed your FB posts, of course. But this. Purely visceral. I can never extend my condolences in a way that would be worthy of such a monumental loss, but please know that every day since this news, you've not strayed far from my thoughts. I wish I could take some of this grief off your shoulders for you. Thank you for sharing it. I hope it helps even a little. xoxo

Pat said...

That awakened so many memories - my heart goes out to you. Be gentle with yourself - do that for him. I wish I could do more.

Ms Scarlet said...

Oh Leah, I didn't know, as I'm not on FB very much. Wail as much as you need too. You are a powerful writer.
Sx

Ponita in Real Life said...

My heart wailed with you. I am only glad you were with him at the end, connected to him, his love for you, your love for him, yours hearts together as he left this mortal coil. xoxo

Zoƫ Dearborn said...

Leah, your words carry the weight of both life and death. How strange death is to the living. I wonder how it is to you, for you, to be living. I feel the realness of your grief from afar, but it feels so close, when I read your words. And yet, as I write this I am aware there really are no words. And that words are always an approximation, anyway, of trying to get at living. You do a splendid job. Thank you. I hope you keep writing. Keep feeling and sharing, as long as it helps you. It helps us all.