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Monday, March 31, 2014

Dear Josie

I remember the first time I felt you.

I was sitting behind a backstop in early October.  Jacket weather.  I felt you as the crowd cheered in the seventh inning of a high school softball game.  You were subtle and soft.  And I smiled, alone in the crowd with my secret.

There have been hundreds of times since then.  In hallways and car rides, in backyards and on sandy shores.  A force that often stole my breath.  A love that woke me in the night.

I always knew you would teach me, just not so soon.

Suddenly I felt so empty.   There were no more flutters underneath my t-shirts.  No more morning serenades.  Just emptiness.  A world of emptiness and nothing but time.  

Since you left me I have felt nearly every possible emotion.  There has been despair, anger and jealousy.  There has been guilt and appreciation.  I have been grateful and resentful.  I have even felt happiness.

But there is one thing I haven't felt in your absence.

There is no fear anymore.  

You see my love, d
eath no longer mocks me from the shadows.  It doesn't lurk or taunt.  I have seen death in the morning light.  I have held it in my hands.

Death is charted waters.

It has a brother's lips and a father's toes.  It is soft and unassuming.  
Death has a name and a smell, a memory to me now.  Tangible and concrete.  It visits me in life, but not in the ways you'd think.

Death comes to me in pretty pink bows and sparkling packages.  I smell it in fresh paint and flowers.  
Death brings a life to the tears; a purpose to the sadness.   I can no longer dread, only appreciate.  

In your passing, sweet girl, you have freed me.  
My worst fears lived, death's peaceful confrontation is but a reminder now.  For in time, there is someone I can become.  

She dances with you above all earthly understanding.  Within her, a strength that most will never earn.

Death has shown her a love beyond bones.  

There is a face in the abyss, a soul that bravely lays the path for mine.  And I am closer with each step.  

There is no pause, only resolve.  A candid surge in a timid skin.

And my dear, you are the push.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

For Josie

This is for you, the first step out of bed.
These legs that don't quiver, 
This strength I won't shed.

These hands do your work, love
This heart beats for you.
Though they knew you briefly, 
These arms are yours, too.

This is for you, 
Every wound they can't see.
And the crease in the hand
Where a daughter's should be.

Every ray on this skin
All the mornings I wake,
Every laugh, every scar, 
Every breath you won't take. 

Yours is every dance
Every joy, unforseen.
As you steady my step
While I'm mocked by the spring.

I'll meet you in silence
And I'll treasure your face
In the smile of a brother,
Or a father's embrace.

But when grief won't relent-
And the light starts to fade-
Threatening to drown
This mother you made, 

A pulse shall arise
From the soul it once grew.
I promise, my darling
I'll do it for you.

To:  My Josephine
Love: Mom