Sunday, July 15, 2012

For One Whose Words Have Forked No Lightning

There is a Land of the Living
and a Land of the Dead,
and the Bridge is Love,
the only Survival, the only Meaning.

- T. Wilder

Sad business on tap today.  Joe, Frank, the Missus and I are taking a bridge - in this case the Verrazano - to cross the river from the Jersey side.  Our destination is a place where many good times have been enjoyed over the years:  the home of Joe's brother Sal on Staten Island.  Today, however, shall likely not be one of those days.

The expression "larger than life" was coined with a person such as Salvatore Bozzomo in mind.  I think that is why as he has battled cancer for the past decade, irrespective of how he was feeling on a particular day, I had fully expected that he would eventually whoop its ass.  He is simply not programmed to not succeed. 

Unfortunately my greatest of expectations shall not be met.  Thursday night Margaret received a phone call from her cousin Sallie Jo through which Sallie Jo reported the terrible news that after eighty-plus years her dad has run headlong into an opponent he cannot defeat.  The cancer has spread throughout his body.  Life expectancy estimates are now being discussed in units of "days" and "weeks". 

We are going to Staten Island today so that my father-in-law - who may very well be one of my favorite people I have ever known - can say goodbye to his brother.  For Joe, for Margaret, for Frank and for the whole family, the summer of 2012 shall now take its appointed place alongside its four immediate predecessors as a summer in which we have lost at least one loved one.  I would not pretend to speak for my bride or for the rest of the tribe but I am really f*cking starting to hate summer.

We go to Staten Island today also so that we can give whatever support we can to Sallie Jo, Kevin and their girls who are preparing now in short order to face life without an integral part of their family, their household and their life.  Everybody dies.  'Tis true.  It is a damn sight easier however to view the experience through a clinician's eyes when the person dying and those being left behind are not people you know.  And are not people for whom you care greatly. 

Everybody hurts.  Today it is our turn.  But it is also our turn to say our goodbyes to an amazing man.  My life has been made better for knowing him and his death shall do nothing at all to change that... 

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


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