Monday, October 6, 2008

Pierre's Birthday

From P's Tree
Well, today was indeed a poignant anniversary. The sky was full of clouds and it threatened to rain for the first time in over two months, but it was only a feint, and even had it poured, it would not have deterred us from our task of the day.

Today we buried Pierre, on what would have been his twenty-first birthday. I know, it's odd, backwards, even, being buried not on one's death day, but on the anniversary of one's birth. It is, however, an appropriately symbolic event to honor Pierre, who would have, at the very least, appreciated the irony. He'd also have loved the tree that we planted for him; a tall thin newly emerging Pecan. It has a slight bend in the middle and a twist overall as it reaches up for the open sky.

My hands and back hurt from the labor of the day. We not only planted the tree, but also built a low retaining wall around it in the back yard, defining the space and leveling the yard from the back of the house out. We will plant a garden around the tree and set up a flagstone patio below the wall to place the hammock where Valery can enjoy a view of the greenbelt with the shade of Pierre's tree overhead.

The pain of hard labor is good for me, however. It blocks from my mind the pain of my heart, though on such a day I have no reason to hold back my emotions and did not. We had a couple of good cries, if you can call them that, for the tears come not in torrents or waves, but in pulses of thick feelings, like molten magma forcing its way through the hardened crust. The will of the earth is strong, but the force of liquid rock is stronger. The annealing power of pain is repeated, pounded and folded into the blade of my heart. Each pass through the fire readies me for a new shape, but nothing can prepare me for hurt of the hammer as it strikes again and again.

Even knowing that I will emerge stronger from the experience has no palliative power; little wonder it is, knowing as I do that we all succumb to the transformative force of death. For most of us, death comes but a little at a time. Pierre, in his way, simply took his entire dose at once. Never one to turn from the truth, he has gone to meet it, while I will wait a while longer if I can.

To say that miss him is to understate that truth, so in keeping with my philosophy of taking only what I need and can digest, for now, I will miss him only as much as I can today, and leave the rest for tomorrow.

Pierre, my beautiful and lost child, I love you.

4 comments:

valgal said...

that is beautiful, phillip..you've such a way with words that fill me up with emotion. thank you for that.xoxo

d2 said...

A fitting and beautiful environment to remember a beautiful person.

ac said...

Very well put, in many ways!
A fruitful and loving memorial we can all share in-

Trevor W Goodchild said...

a tree is perfect way to honor his being, as it grows, so do we, well done my friend, you do him justice.