Sunday, October 23, 2011

The story I want to tell.

Come in. Come sit with me. I'm dying to tell you things. I may be breaking into tears now and then, but  it does me good to see  people, to hear my own voice.

I dream complicated sequences
silent cinemas,  rooms always too cramped
too dark, too uncharted.
No exit in these dreams
no entry either.
When I finally wake, I'm in a sweat.

I'm working at being still.
I'm working at being busy.

In the middle of the day, frantic
I run to the post office hoping for something. NO
not another condolence. I'm saturated with these.
People know thousands of words and what
do they say? So Sorry!

No. No. Say, instead, what a lucky woman you have been
all those years. Your mother lost a child who was just a few
months old and she carried on and on for ever. What did she
know of that life that slipped away? The child had a name, but
no history.

Ask instead:
What did your boy/man do? How did he live? How did he love?
What kind of childhood did he have?

He was RH negative like me, I start.
You know that's  a universal donor!
He was a generous child.

You know, he was not an easy student?
He had trouble with his teachers, to my consternation.
He had trouble with their rules, their routines.

I want to capture these memories before they fade.


  1. As a Chinese philosopher once observed, “when you write things down you live them twice”

  2. It's good to linger over memories.

  3. i'm working at being still. i'm working at being busy...

    there is something - so achingly - true, and honest about those statements. you've captured some poignant memories here. the universal donor, a generous child....this is a powerful revelation about your brian.

    i love what patricia said - and it brings comfort to think that writing things down enables one to live them twice. i hope that it does the same for you, dear rosaria.

  4. every element is sacred. every element is worth capturing and then allowing to go on wings of their own.



  5. Yes, I know what you are saying. I am listening. Tell me more about your boy. Tell me about your young man. Tell me about Brian.

    I love that he had his problems with the rules, the regulations, the things that teachers expect. He must have marched to his own drum. I love that. It is hard for a teacher when our children reject "doing school" because they want to be free to learn. I think that must have been how Brian was.

  6. Rosaria, I too am Rh negative, and when I read your first line I felt I would love to hear your voice, your wise woman voice. A voice that may break down and a voice that may be strong. I would love to sit and talk with you about our lives and what has come and gone. And what is yet to come...

  7. I came too close to losing my own son a week ago..
    In those dark moments of waiting I thought of him laughing. I couldn't think of him silenced.

    I have a brother named Brian. I love him like a son because I was more like his mother.

    Rambling. Feelings. This is the stuff of life. There should not be rules.

    hugs to you. we are strangers yes, but we are connected .

  8. Rosaria,
    This really spoke to me. Wide-open honesty and joy and grief all tangled up together. A mother I knew once lost her daughter but was able to say at her funeral that she was lucky, lucky to have had her for fifty years. I was so struck by that. But few of us would dare to say that to someone suffering from such grief for fear it would appear to trivialize their loss.
    From what I know of your Brian, the fact of his having trouble at school was surprising and reassuring. Reassuring because he wasn't a misfit - he was obviously a good person, kind and considerate and clever. It makes his not wanting to follow the rules perfectly OK. I'm sure I would have liked him.

  9. I am at this juncture with this. Like Deb, though not nearly as touch-and-go, my son had an accident a few weeks ago. He was so far away, and I was terrified. And now a grandson gestating in my daughter's belly, and she has the RH factor. I want to let it go, not to worry. But this is life, isn't it? It's the circle of opposing forces, ever, in constant motion.

  10. I've come back to read this again and again, Rosaria. What you've written is extraordinarily compelling and it's something that I hope I'm able to remember if - no, when - I am faced with the grief of another. Yes, I can absolutely see that the right thing to do is to ask for stories.
    And so I'm curious - since Brian was not an easy student, how did he get to where he was, academically? Despite his rejection of rules, he must have embraced learning.

  11. I'm intrigued by this side of Brian, this not being an easy student and giving his teachers fits. My grandson has announced that he is not going back to school, that's it's boring and he won't spend his time that way (he's nine). What did you do? What did Brian do?

  12. helgakohan@yahoo.comOctober 24, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    There you are offering your aching heart on the palm of your hands, Rosaria, as a gift to us. And my tears flow.
    I remember sweet little Brian so very well, with his endless curiosity, with his innocent nosiness, with his carefree need to inspect and examine and know. He gained knowledge by investigating, opening every door, taking things apart, trying out, wanting to figure out, being daring. That’s how all children should be allowed to learn – the world an adventure to be explored. Though it can be a challenge for us orderly adults with rules, with regulations, with little patience. And the imaginative stories Brian could come up with! Yes, at times they were excuses but still oh such creative explanations, always amazing and oftentimes amusing to me. This little resourceful boy, someday, he just had to become a gifted writer or an inventor, that’s what I thought back then.

  13. Well, he kept taking things apart and exploring the world. We, his parents and siblings, kept him involved, engaged, disciplined. He excelled at competition, and in high school he was chosen to be on the Academic Decathlon, in a school that was a National winner.
    He took well to challenges.
    He didn't excel just to please us, though. He excelled in what he was interested in. So, we kept looking for opportunities for him to get involved, to research, to ask and search for questions and answers.

    He started his own business, a computer set up and repair system, when he was barely fourteen. He wasn't afraid of any thing, or anyone. He majored in Physics, and was interested in everything else too. His most remarkable skills were in writing.

    He taught me, the teacher, that teachers don't really know much about a child until they ask him/her what he/she would like to learn. He read and got answers to his own questions.

    He and I would spend hours in the kitchen making a meal, while talking about the chemical aspects of cooking, the historical significance of transporting certain goods across the ocean, how people survived in harsh environments, etc. He was a philosopher/scientist from early on.

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  15. I came back to read about him, Rosaria. It's not right to suggest that a person can be missed more because of their special-ness, is it? But, oh, your Brian was not ordinary. Hold on tight to what was so wonderful about him.