As mentioned, my daily reflections come from my journal, which with the death of my wife October 23, 2015, has turned toward a focus on grief. What I share now is different than what some of you are used to, but I hope especially for those of you facing grief, loss, & trauma, it is helpful.
This poem so expresses my relationship with my wife, who I lost recently. It was written when I was working in Chapel Hill as a chaplain, while she was still pastoring an hour and a half away. We would see each other only on weekends, when I commuted back to Fayetteville where she was a pastor.
For me the poignancy of the poem is strengthened by the fact that what changed this scenario was her stroke connected with her Arnold Chiari malformation, the connection that later took her life.
Los Angeles Love Story
I remember the first time
I heard the crunch of your feet
stepping on autumn leaves
that crumbled beneath you at the click of your crutches.
I could always hear you coming behind me,
your laughter like a robin’s cry
cheerful and life-giving.
That was the moment
and still is
when the sun shines
on my soul
and every silvery cloud
like the Metro heading off full-tilt.
I remember too our late night talks
the fire-pit we built
the wind in our hair.
to do our work together
in downtown Inglewood
where love blossomed
sweet as Hyancith in spring time.
I remember too the night I knew
you were mine
and I was yours.
The feel of your fingers
Hearing “If this isn’t love why” with you
and thinking, it surely is.
I remember the taste of your lips
on our first kiss.
Seeing you standing
radiant and amazing
atop a California mountain
that became and remains
the top of my world.
I remember too
being filled with curiosity
and wonder that first night.
And every night –
or morning – like them, since.
I remember each moment
together we have woven a life,
we have knit a new beginning together
with cords that cannot be broken.
I know too even as I sit here,
cool with the autumn air of Orange county
chilling my skin
that is still warm
from a hard day’s work
and you sit
surrounded by the screech and honk
of Fayetteville streets,
and the surrounding voices
of the people you serve in your parish,
this is just the beginning for us.