Saturday, December 26, 2009

Capacity for Love

canyon, originally uploaded by Diana Kimball.

At the funeral home, we sat on a floral couch. Chapstick in a jacket pocket, buried between couch cushions. I shifted sadly in my seat. Music piped in over the speakers, chosen in the dead of night: strings, songs about avalanches. While my mind slipped out of focus, blurring.

Before my brother died, his organs failed. Suddenly, completely. Leaving the hospital, my dad asked the surgeon if any of Spencer’s organs could save anyone else; “he would have wanted that,” we reassured ourselves. The surgeon said they couldn’t.

Once we were home, calling everyone we knew, the hospital called one more time. They could save his eyes—his corneas at least. “I guess I should tell you that he wore glasses,” my mom told the hospital. They said it would be all right.

So his universe was full of dark angles, devastating humility and desire; surprising light.

But when I think about the past three months, I can’t hold them all at once—everything starts to blur. Most days have been lighter, at least: just waking up, under a window or high heavy ceiling.

I know that on September 21, the day Spencer overdosed, I took the train to work in the morning. At my desk, I started a new notebook:

All weekend, I looked ahead to today—with a mix of wariness and optimism.

This morning, I’m wearing: a teal t-shirt, a purple cardigan, a golden locket. Listening to the Antlers. Eating Kashi Heart-to-Heart cereal out of a compostable bowl. Staring at quivering ice water.

What do I want my days to look like, now? I feel like I’m entering the next stage of something.

Before I knew anything—before anything had happened! But the incredible part is: this has been the start of something.

In his last letter, a suicide note, Spencer wrote that the greatest compliment anyone had ever given him was that he had an amazing capacity for love. I think I’ll try to hold that instead.

1 comment:

City Wendy said...

I'm sure you always feel your bother's presence in little ways. I hope it's brought you some peace this first holiday season missing him.