Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Boatman

It has been a busy couple of months. I had a wedding, moved, went on a family vacation/road trip with our new family of 10. Got started in 4 new schools, started settling into our new place. And I'm learning how to be married to a pilot. I'm learning I love being married again. And I am learning it is still hard work. So many things I should devote entire pages to. And I will. And pictures.

I love my new life, my new home, my new friends. And I love my new family. I feel… just so full up and content when we get to all be together and I see how the kids are loving each other and playing with each other and I can cook for all of them and learn what everyone likes and doesn't like. I love making 6 lunches for school. I love how love expands from the man I fell in love with to the children he is responsible for. And even when it isn't easy, it is still love. And that is a gift and a blessing.

BJay has been on my mind the past few weeks. We just passed the 4 year mark of when BJay died. I was going through some old files and I found this poem I wrote in the days after BJay died. It was all so fresh then, that hurt. But I like that I have stuff like this to remind me how I felt. I had forgotten that Jamie, my little sister made cookies for the kids the day BJay died and they saved some of the cookies for the man in the fishing boat who helped them. I never got to thank that man. He literally disappeared as soon as he came to shore. The children divided their food for him. And it made me think of him as something mythical, or some otherworldly being. I was thinking of Greek mythology here, the boatman who takes people to the other side. And you leave coins for him on the eyes of the dead. And I thought of how hard it would be to have that job. At the time I was seeing people who dealt with the grieving all the time. Funeral home directors, cemetery plot salesmen. These people see grief every day, they live in it. They hear it and see it. And I just think it takes a certain kind of strength to do that, to see it and hear it all the time.

Anyway, that is where this poem came from. Out of all those thoughts. The most important being that BJay, as a father willingly took the place of his children in death. Just as any real father would do. There is dignity and honor in that. And that was and is very important to me, that that is the message that comes across when I talk about what happened to my children's father. I think some day there will be a message that is important for me to show the world about the man who is raising these kids now. And the respect and honor he has for BJay. The men I love are the real kind of superheroes. What a lucky woman I am.  Anyway… enjoy. Or not. ;)

The Boatman

He is always there before you expect him
gliding through a cloudless fog.
Keeping time, keeping constant strait lines-- never far from shore.
The boatman's time keeps pace with tragedy.
With heartache and disembodied cries.
With pain so acute and fresh it can't be contained.
He has to hear and hear and hear, a chorus of anguish,
that is part of the chore.

It is a thankless job, for coins.
And no one ever thinks to give him anything more.
Once in a while he gets to see what is out of place.
The people who don't belong,
ones he can't bear to carry across.
And that is when he takes them back.
Wishing, just once, to reverse the order.

But he can not go back across empty handed.

He guided my children to my arms and
left us standing on the shore.
He took my lover to the great beyond,
because he had to do it.
Because order can not be undone.
Because a father willingly pays the price for that mercy.

I have met him but I did not see his face.
My children know him and they
divide their food.
"For the boatman," they say, because he helped  us.