It took a while
before I could find the words
to arrange my thoughts
about this loss…
complex really.
… it comes in the most subtle of moments.

an a + b selection.

a.

and now
the end
is near
and so
I face
the final
curtain

I can smell him…
I can hear him…

Sitting quaint, while partitioning my moussaka, I tune my ears to the lounge singer… he doesn’t know the order of the lyrics. Shaking my head I’m taken aback. Like a wave, his closeness hits me

This was his last song.
He told me this is what he wanted the world to hear…

My friend
I’ll say
it clear
I’ll state
my case
of which
I’m certain…

I’ll never forget the childlike love he had for this time of year. You would have thought Santa had him on the nice list! Grinning ear to ear, he could not wait to share this time with his puddin pie.

Collis Pierre Dean. b. July 16, 1965. Favorite Holiday: Christmas.

I’ve lived
a life
that’s full
I’ve traveled
each and
every highway
and more
much more
than this
I did it
My way

He dropped his grin and sobered up to clear his hustle to tell me this…
“I want them to play this song at my funeral.”
His wrinkled maroon red dress shirt, tucked in to his odd-sized faded dress pants. This was a celebration. Singing and drinking we shared special memories just days before Christmas

Regrets
I’ve had
a few
but then
again too
few to
mention
I did
what I
had to
do and
saw it
through
without
exemption

On that side of town.
With that group of people.
By this point?
I could not deny any of what I had already known…
imagine meeting the characters from your favorite reality television show… you can’t help but envision all you’ve seen and heard before the official greeting. I wish I could forget those late nights. I wish I could unlearn those story lines. But never the times I saw him at rest within himself. This was one of those times. Those 3000 seconds were heart wrenching and oh so genuine. I never knew I’d be fulfilling those dreams years later… with flip phone quality video to prove it…

I planned
each charted
course each
careful step
along the
byway
and more
much more
than this
I did it
My way

My eyes welling while hearing this complete stranger touch the interstellar wormhole that was my heart, wow I wasn’t expecting such a moment out of the blue.

“He asked me to be sure they played this at his funeral”

… the continued conversation is a complete blur after muttering those words… still shaking, goosebumps around my shoulders, I felt his embrace from the great beyond…

Yes there
were times
I’m sure
you knew
when I
bit off
more than
I could
chew but
through it
all when
there was
doubt I
ate it
up and
spit it
out I
faced it
all and
I stood
tall and
did it
My way

What is happening? My portbello mushroom turned to molting lava. My risotto turned to rubber cement. I was not sitting at this table, I was not without him. Blinded by reality, even still connected face to face. Time stopped and air stood still while I heard his voice through the host form of that black old lounge man. I knew he heard my heart yearning to have just another day with him. I felt his Humphrey Bogart squeeze only dictated to me on that final 24. I heard his laughter that had been silenced. I saw his proud stare… typically longer than comfortable, now ingrained in my heart full of wishful repeats…

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill, my share of losing
And now, as tears subside
I find it all, all so amusing

Somehow, I housed the myriad of thoughts and feelings that these joined words and rhythms evoked upon me… I held them on my heart… not resisting, no revolting… I rested in that moment of cathartic release…

To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way
Oh no, no, not me
I did it my way

I’m grateful for the man that was. Through it all… he meant so much to us… to me. Relationships evolve… but the innate love that is felt in every fiber of your soul when you face the dreaded moment of releasing their mortal flesh to the dirt… that ache is so tangible. Speechless, it is undeniable to experience at some point… Delighted to have been given this combination of shared moments, I just look back and smile… cry… perplexing perspectives of hindsight and hard times… even still… nothing replaces the life he lived with his whole heart… and the rest he found in the transition…

For what is man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way

Yes, you did…

And did it my way

Francois, C. Revaux, J. Anka, P. (1968). My Way [Recorded by F. Sinatra On Blue Lace, Reprise Records.

Sunday Service, Christmas 2009.

b.

Doo do do do do do
Doo do do do I’ve got…

Oh em gee
Oh em gee
What?!
Seriously?
Is this happening right now?

Sunshine
On a cloudy day

This was the first song he sang to me…
This is our song

I guess you’d say
What can make me feel this way
My girl
My girl
My girl
Talking bout
My girl
My girl

… how is it that I hear our first and last song together out of nowhere? No context. Just life encountered happenstance. Clearly you are letting me know you’re okay… as I breathe a sigh of relief. Shaking my head. Groaning in my soul…

What are the odds?

Is this part of my requested closure? Is this how you will continue to visit me when I’m wondering if you knew my heart? I couldn’t have prescribed a musical therapy to touch this little girl, stuttering on memories in the midst of the mundane. I wasn’t expecting to be taken aback by this collection of moments. In ways, I thought I was well along on my processing of this loss. Truthfully, there is always a mark of unfilled tissue… overtime it heals… but it is never again complete.

I’ve got so much honey the bees envy me
I’ve got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees

I see her. I see the light in her (my) eyes when she (I) was with you. I now look at my brothers and imagine the impact they will one day have on my young. Integral… I was your sunshine when you were surrounded in hurricanes, you were my sunshine when I thought I’d prefer lights out. With every changing season, you only wanted to lift me… because you too wanted to be lifted. 2 broke(n) folks looking for a glimpse of hope. I learned a lot from you. On every end of the spectrum, I learned to get adjusted for better or for worse, modeling my coping mechanisms and medications after what I saw in you. It wasn’t sunshine… for a long while, I was no one’s sunshine on a cloudy day.

I guess you’d say
What can make me feel this way

How did I get here? Tainted by the experiences that have hindered forward movement, I hear this and am stuck. I waited too long to see the light of day. I am far from relieved that you are gone, but I’m so glad we’ve placed our cards on the table. I tried to hide my light, my life from you… and inflicted unnecessary cloudy days on our distance. And now I see how much we were more two sides of the same coin. Both broken, trying to find freedom from our cold winters and the sweetness of honey after the bitterness of our pain. I loved you with more of myself than I was able to reconcile… I’m still processing that. I’m grateful to have started a different path of love for you before I was forced to face this…

I don’t need no money, fortune, or fame
I’ve got all the riches baby one man can claim

You get it. You understood… all you wanted was the joy of us… all together. Life was a mere collection of days… but distance and time couldn’t separate you from those you had written on your heart.

I feel it… that love you demonstrated in your own imperfect way. You loved without letting go and you made the world know it…

I guess you’d say

Robinson, S. White, R. (1964). My Girl [Recorded by The Temptations on (Talkin’ Bout) Nobody But My Baby. Motown Records]

This. Lounge. Singer. Has. No. Idea. What. He. Just. Gave. Me.

The very next day…. Facebook reminds me of our friendaversary…

Really?

Thank you.

Sunrise: July 16, 1965 – Sunset: August 12, 2018

*This is not a Christmas post I intended to publish. But I am so grateful for the gift of these precious moments. May you cherish every moment you are granted with peace, love and blessings.

Christmas 2009 “I want this to be played at my funeral…” Rest in Paradise, Unc.

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