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Sunday, January 09, 2011

the day after the funeral


I woke up yesterday morning after the funeral at my in-laws' apartment in Brooklyn with a couple verses vying for my attention. Something about the combination of a childish rhyme and a teenage suicide wouldn't let me go until I gave it whatever life I could. Life. Ha. I scribbled it down in the back of the memoir I'm reading.

Writing helps me maneuver through this death. Okay okay, it helps me maneuver through life. I am thankful for my writing habit—it's here when I need it, now more than ever.


Today my heart is especially raw and breaking for Stuart's pallbearers, a creative mix of teenagers who wore fedoras to honor their friend as they carried his coffin during the funeral.

It's subject to change, but in the meantime, here is what it became:

Rhyme for a Departed Child

I got that he was hurting
Didn’t get how much

Knew about his passion
Didn’t get his touch

His fire was explosive
Mine fit on a candle

Life for me was tepid
His too hot to handle

His view was from the ceiling
Mine was from the floor

Didn’t realize till too late
What he was fighting for

He stormed into a room
I didn’t like the sound

I spied him from the corner
Didn’t want him around

If only I’d known better
But what would I have done?

Guilt won’t change what happened
If only weighs a ton

His life seemed like a riddle
I puzzled for the answer

His meds just stared working
But his pain was like a cancer

Did he play us like a fiddle?
Did he plan this every day?

If we could have just one more hour
Would he even say?

He left no note to tie loose ends
A vest to keep from drowning

His final grace, his poise, his face
Nothing more than clowning?

Until the final memory fades
We’ll wear our worry stones

He’ll never have to share our loss
It’s we who must atone

He left a trail of broken hearts
One for every pill

When his stopped short that Monday
Ours grew loud and shrill

He flooded us under a river of tears
On his way from home

Would things have turned out differently
If only he’d have known?

He cared for all the living things
Ate no fish or steak

But in the end he killed himself
The first ironic wake

His aim was never to destroy
Yet destruction led the way

The fish are safe. The fowl, the steak
While the humans writhe today

And now we cry together
While he rests calm and free

Never knew how full my heart was
Till he left you and me

Stu you taught me wisely
Boy you taught me well

There was a method to your madness—
But your lesson hurts like hell

So take care of the angels
And let them braid your hair

And join them in their herald song
And sing to us from there

And never mind our weeping
Forgive us our despair

Your time with us was fleeting
You’re free now. Rest. Take care.

4 comments:

kristi said...

thank you for sharing this, friend. love you.

Justicia said...

Elise this is so heartbreakingly beautiful. Thank you.

Laura said...

Elise, your words are so raw, so real, so heartbreakingly sad. your love reaches to the heavens and sing to the grace your nephew possessed. my deepest condolences to you and your family, though that feels so hollow to say. thank you for sharing this. you are so breathtaking.

Elise Abrams Miller said...

it means so much. thank you. laura, not hollow at all. really heartwarming, thank you.

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