No heart for speech

…but a thought
Of that late death took all my heart for speech.

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This morning I learned that the daughter of good South End friend was killed in a horrific car accident on the major highway running from San Francisco through Silicon Valley. The why is unknown but she was driving southbound in the northbound lanes and crashed head on into a taxi with two passengers. All four people involved were killed.

I have no words for this, no words for my friend that could possibly help. It’s every parent’s nightmare. I didn’t know the daughter, but my thoughts aren’t about her. She’s gone, tragically. My thoughts are with my friend her mother.

Coming on top of my own son’s cancer diagnosis last month only deepens the idea of loss, the feelings of helplessness and despair. Adam underwent his first chemo infusion last Friday and seems to be faring as well as to be expected; maybe even better than expected. His spirits are good, he’s maintaining his medical school routine, his life is being lived as normal. We had dinner together last night and all was as it should be. It’s a crisis that brings us all even closer together. As it should be.

We only have one another in this life, our family, our friends, our fellowships. To abandon those bonds in pursuit of some private aim is truly a moral failing, a failing of the universe to hold us together.

To abandon the man who loved her was my wife’s failing. What do we have if we don’t have one another? To not try, to reject love, to seek solitude and perhaps even loneliness…why?

I’m told over and over that she was never kind to me, that I was looking for something she could never give me, that the intimacy and affection I sought was never there and could never be there, that the damage my wife had endured in her life grew her protective armor only harder and harder through the years. There was no way, never a way, I could break through, and that my trying, and need to break through, drove her away.

Knowing this now, being alone might be better. But at times like this, in times of family crisis, and crisis with friends, having the support and simply being-there companionship of being married would be a comfort. Not to be.

Her vision was too clear to contemplate remaining together.

So tonight I remain alone; perhaps she is, too; or perhaps she’s tending to the needs of a former now gravely ill lover. Maybe he’s no longer living, I don’t know.

I’m listening to Jessye Norman sing Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs. Jessye Norman, too, died last week. Strauss died before the songs were first performed. My friend Ray calls them the end of Romanticism. They are otherworldly beautiful.

There are many ends to the end of romanticism.

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