The greatest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.
I am grateful for the life of Cote Laramie: kind and gentle friend, talented musician and scholar, an aspiring healer, all around beautiful soul. I wish he were here so I could thank him personally for bringing so much sunshine to the world.
[A confession: It never seemed appropriate to say so at the time, but I’m wishing I’d thrown caution to the wind and admitted to Cote that he once made me laugh so hard I almost wet my pants.]
Here is a poem someone gave me many years ago when my baby nephew died. It’s about the loss of young life and I wish I could say the poem soothes me, but the truth is that these beautiful words both comfort and agitate me, in more or less equal measure. I don’t see how we can ever be expected to understand the death of a young person in the prime of life. It’s true that our friend, Cote, touched the world in immeasurable and lasting ways in his abbreviated, two-decade life. Still… I really wish he had stayed with us a while longer.
For the Father of Sandro Gulotta (whose son was dying of leukemia)
by Janet Lewis:
When I called the children from play
Where the Westering Sun
Fell level between the leaves of olive and bay
There, where the day lilies stand,
I paused to touch with a curious hand
The single blossom, furled, that with morning had opened wide,
The long bud tinged with gold of an evening sky.
All day and only one day it drank the sunlit air:
In one day
All that it needed to do in this world it did
And at evening precisely curled the tender petals
To shield from wind, from dew the pollen laden heart.
Sweet treasure gathered apart from our grief.
From our longing view.
Who shall say if the day was too brief for the flower, if time lacked?
Had it not, like the children –
All time in their long, immortal day?