Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Monday, April 03, 2006

public private confession eulogy

I received news of someone's death today, an acquaintance who I had a spat with years ago. I hadn't thought of her in the years since we parted ways, without speaking, and then I found out that she had died in a freak accident. I was going to send something to postsecret, but I've already told some people about this.

We had a stupid disagreement which we never resolved. And for all the world I wish that I had been more willing to take that first step to resolve our differences. I am sure that I have matured and that she has (had?) grown and that had we time in this world, had our paths not divurged, that we could sit down and agree that it was a petty argument, that we should have a fresh start.

I recognize that there is no way to make this situation whole again. You were young, talented and bright, I mourn your passing, and I hope that you are resting in peace wherever you are. Days like these when the rain pelts down from a bleak sky and my heart is heavy with sorrow, I wish I had a faith that would easily absolve me of my guilt. Something that would lead me to believe that you are in a better place, except that I don't believe in an afterlife. (I wish that I did.)

Many people have died and I have grieved over their passing but never did we part on poor terms, so all I can do is to take steps in the present and future. This I resolve: to be a better, kinder, more forgiving person. To be more sparing with criticism and more careful with my rash words. To contact the people on this earth who I need to make amends to, and ask for their forgiveness. To get back in touch with old acquaintances and friends, and to share in the fire and beauty of life. I hope in someone that this will partially pay respects to who you are, were.

I know that you died doing what you love, that you were full of the rush of life, and I miss your courage and vitality. Some people only dream of dying this way, while others just pine away withering under the burdens of too many mortgages, loans, liens. You shone and you should have had more time to show us your light. I am sorry that we cannot repair or undo the past, but the future is always possible.

I found a poem you would have liked:

Lines For Winter

Tell yourself
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
that you will go on
walking, hearing
the same tune no matter where
you find yourself --
inside the dome of dark
or under the cracking white
of the moon's gaze in a valley of snow.
Tonight as it gets cold
tell yourself
what you know which is nothing
but the tune your bones play
as you keep going. And you will be able
for once to lie down under the small fire
of winter stars.
And if it happens that you cannot
go on or turn back and you find yourself
where you will be at the end,
tell yourself
in that final flowing of cold through your limbs
that you love what you are.

Mark Strand


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