Sunday, November 13, 2011

Real it happens

As I began this day, I had thought of my mother, who 10 years ago this month told me she was dying.  I didn't believe her.  More accurately, I had refused to believe that her body was capable of dying.  As I sat outside,
I reflected on how well people know pain and how very few of us know real happiness.  It's as if we are afraid to give ourselves permission to do so.  It's unknown and foreign to us and often, when we do have happiness come, we test it or destroy it because it is unfamiliar.  It's pain that people identify themselves with.  It's human suffering that the world knows.  It's peace we seem to run away from.

As I boarded the bus to see the remaining shows of the Arab Film Festival I have been attending this weekend, I thought of all of the stories I was to see.  A little further down the route, a young man boarded and stood at the front of the bus.  He was trying to talk to the bus driver and I couldn't help but overhear him, "I love my mother.  Man, you don't get it, I love my mother and I wish she was still here."  He opened a plastic bag and pulled out a gift.  A large black box with a big red bow.  "I bought this for her.  I will never forget her." He raised his voice for the whole bus to hear.  I watched the nervous look of the passengers and the bus driver seemed to fail to acknowledge this young man.  "I love my mother. I love my mother. She died three years ago today.  I will never forget."  He shoved the gift back into the plastic bag and exited the bus.  The silence and uncomfortable exchanges were made as people shifted in their seats.  I sat and stared.  I heard his pain.  His physical gift was how he showed love and he felt the need to declare it in front of the immovable strangers.  I heard his pain as an echo of all of the pain we go through in life.  The varying levels of suffering we have been accustomed to.  The eventual loss of those who come into our lives.  In the movie, "If Fog Had Roots", which is a film that I viewed as emotion without a story, there was a very memorable line about death.  "Death only happens to those who are left behind." 

I decided to write a poem today.  It took all of 5 minutes.

Don't Let Me

Don't let me think for you
even though I share my thoughts
Don't let me feel for you
even though I share my feelings
Don't let me act for you
though I illustrate my life through my actions
Don't let me live for you
I have to live my own life

My life is my own
My loves are my own
My feelings are my own

I had my own stories to write
You have your own

Even though there will be a day that comes when my life 
will leave you with the sting of my death
Don't let me keep you from living yours
Don't feel that when I am gone
That you cannot go on
Don't say that I can't
Instead, say you will
because I did and many others have too

Let me help you

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