Monday, June 18, 2007

out of the sky

I have asked for a sabbatical from death and grief. But, I am not quite certain where my application should be filed, and perhaps that is why people keep dying. I feel like a puzzled child some of these beautiful summery days.
One of my friends said Sunday, "oh, you heard about Berk?" And I said..no...and he said, dead. But we didn't have the details.
And why should the details matter, I wonder. I spent a day thinking...I don't think he was ill, but sometimes these things come quickly. Heart attack? Maybe a car accident in the mountains. And I waited.

He was a pilot. One of his joys was flying a little airplane, just about everywhere, off in the wild places. And it seems he and his wife, Suzanne, were off in one of those wild places, and took off to check some Idaho canyon. They were due to meet up with some other friends--other pilots--at some point. And that was Thursday. And they didn't show up. But the friends thought--well, they were adventuresome, maybe they camped elsewhere, having gone a bit off course or something. And that was Friday. By Saturday people were looking, by Sunday they'd called in the officials. And caught a faint, a very faint signal from a deep canyon, and spied the wreckage, and found the body, and Suzanne, beside it, injured but still alive. And they pulled her free.

So what do we say? "Oh, he died doing what he really loved" "Gosh, guess it was his time" People say all sorts of things. I think of Suzanne, with her long golden hair, beside her partner of the past 30 or more years, watching nightfall, dawn, nightfall, dawn, nightfall again, and dawn again. And what did she think, and what did she say?

But I'll never, probably, just come out and ask her. And I wonder at my own--story creating heart, that is pondering this, trying to make sense--but also seeing a story, or a poem, or some way of making it all a bit more..bearable.

Like words. "the body".

Not: Berk, who was funny, and involved in all sorts of things, with whom I fought and with whom I worked. Whom I called santimonious and patriarchial. Who laughed at me.

My eldest child posted a memory on a local blog. Seems he recalls the white bearded Berk at the Oregon Country Fair, holding a glowing hoop, inviting everyone to pass through it to the other side, to a new dimension. My son, who is more acquainted with death than many, says no one ever dies. He's kind of like my youngest child in that matter--Gabe too says death is nothing at all, though he is prone to now and again beg his papa not to die yet. My eldest, however, thinks it is love that holds our friends here, forever.

I guess it's as good a story as any.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous marly said...

A good many people would like to find that office... But you have found the Bureau of Compassion, the Office of Heart, the Seat of Soul.

And that is no little thing.

This ridiculous word verification system works like a fortune cookie: this one is "yybut."

Why?

Why?

But--

10:45 AM, June 19, 2007  
Blogger LiVEwiRe said...

So many thoughts come to mind, as usual, but none of them seem appropriate. And what Suzanne must've gone through. Perhaps when it comes down to it, a part of facing death is hoping that we can one day be a memory in a post written by our dear friends and family. To know that we mattered and were loved. I'm sorry for your loss.

12:57 PM, June 19, 2007  
Blogger David said...

I am sorry for the loss of your friend Jarvenpa, and for the grief that his wife must now be feeling.

10:38 PM, June 19, 2007  

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