September 23, 2008 — nine years!

So, you might ask, what did I do today? The answer is: I went to the gym as usual, but while I was there, I listened to some of Paul’s favorite music — Cat Stevens, the guy he loved when he was little, and John Lennon, the guy he wanted to emulate. I went to work, wearing a purple t-shirt, Paul’s favorite color — really it’s better to go to work than be sad alone at home. And, then Bob and I went to the cemetery at noontime and each of us left a smooth stone on his grave marker — now dim and old and it’s hard to see all the lettering, and one of these days I’m going to have it replaced. Then we went to lunch and ironically the music playing in the restaurant was jazz — John Coltrane playing sweet jazz on the piano — somethig I usually avoid if I can because hearing jazz after Paul died was just too painful. And, then back to work, able to concentrate on nothing, and I’m home now. And, I’m sitting at my computer wondering what all this means and whatever I do to remember Paul, doesn’t make any difference to him, and it only helps me get through this day. And tomorrow I know I will be better. But more than anything else in the world, I really hope and pray that no other parents will have to experience this kind of loss ever again.

Tonglen Practice

It’s the mothers and fathers I care about.

When my son died, I grieved for him
and all mothers and fathers
who ever lost a child.
I breathed in pain,
and with each exhalation prayed
that no parent
would have to feel
the pain of such a loss again.

But I can’t do it alone.
The mothers
and fathers
over all the world
must practice Tonglen with me.

We must take the pain into our bodies,
into our souls, into our hearts,
and cleanse it with our healing breath.
Then with our collective breathing out
give this world a chance
to be safe for all our children –
all our sons and daughters.

Breathe in, breathe out
now, forever,
breathe.

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