My brother Kenny lost his battle with cancer yesterday morning. It was a short battle...from the point of diagnosis to the time of transition...the disease took all of us by surprise with its implacability.
The sense of loss for all of us is so deep and large that it cannot be defined. My nieces have lost their father who was a man that loved them unconditionally. Although as children they may have experienced his "barking" at them for one misdeed or another; they also realized as adults his limitless love for them. It was a limitless love and support that were an integral part of the fabric of their lives.
When I was young...and there was a 13 year age difference...he was my hero. I am sure the age difference contributed to that worship for when I was three he was 16...when I was five, he was 18. He was someone I looked up too and tried to emulate (which at times got me into trouble with our parents). I was allowed to "hang out" with him and his friends and thereby grew a maturity well beyond my years.
Then we grew older and grew apart. He went his way. I went my way. Yet he was a "constant" in my life...I knew he would always be there.
Now today I know he is not "there" nor is he here...he has simply transitioned to the next level of this thing we call life in this universe we truly do not understand. I have yet to absorb the fact that my "constant"..the man that was and is my hero is no longer here.
Last night here on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, we experienced a beautiful sunset. A dear friend...commented that it was a symbolically beautiful sunset on what was the last day of Kenny's life on this earth. I had to agree with this beautiful thought well expressed.
...And I also realized in that moment that just as the sun was setting here on this coast...most assuredly somewhere in the world that very same sun was rising for a new morning and a new day. Yes, it was the sunset of Kenny's last day in this life...yet at the same time it was the sunrise of Kenny's new day in heaven.
My brother for all intent and purpose appears to now be in the final hours of his life. My heart is heavy with emotion...how do you capture a lifetime of loving a brother who was your hero when you were young,,,and your "constant" as you got older. Yes he is the same age as our mother when she transitioned to the next stage being. Yet it is too soon...way too soon...I have so many things to tell him...things I should have told him...and now will never have the chance to tell him.
In moments of quiet prayer and meditation all I can do is send him love and see him being held in the white healing light of God.
In this tumult of feelings, memories, and emotions...I remember a poem by James Dillet Freeman. Today it gives me comfort as it has so many times before. Today as I read it, Kenny you are on my mind and in my heart and I want you to know that you are part of my soul...and I am going to miss you.
I Am There
By James Dillet Freeman
Do you need Me?
I am there.
You cannot see Me, yet I am the light you see by.
You cannot hear Me, yet I speak through your voice.
You cannot feel Me, yet I am the power at work in your hands.
I am at work, though you do not understand My ways.
I am at work, though you do not recognize My works.
I am not strange visions. I am not mysteries.
Only in absolute stillness, beyond self, can you know Me as I am, and then but as a feeling and a faith.
Yet I am there. Yet I hear. Yet I answer.
When you need Me, I am there.
Even if you deny Me, I am there.
Even when you feel most alone, I am there.
Even in your fears, I am there.
Even in your pain, I am there.
I am there when you pray and when you do not pray.
I am in you, and you are in Me.
Only in your mind can you feel separate from Me, for only in your mind are the mists of “yours” and “mine.”
Yet only with your mind can you know Me and experience Me.
Empty your heart of empty fears.
When you get yourself out of the way, I am there.
You can of yourself do nothing, but I can do all.
And I am in all.
Though you may not see the good, good is there, for I am there.
I am there because I have to be, because I am.
Only in Me does the world have meaning; only out of Me does the world take form; only because of Me does the world go forward.
I am the law on which the movement of the stars and the growth of living cells are founded.
I am the love that is the law's fulfilling. I am assurance. I am peace. I am oneness. I am the law that you can live by. I am the love that you can cling to. I am your assurance. I am your peace. I am one with you. I am.
Though you fail to find Me, I do not fail you.
Though your faith in Me is unsure, My faith in you never wavers, because I know you, because I love you.
Beloved, I am there.
I can hear my brother's gruff voice stating, as he goes through this transition: "This is all such bullshit!"
...and I respond, as little brothers do: "It may or may not be but please just get over it because we all love you."
Not everyone knows that one of America's beloved poets was gay...and that he was also a "new age thinker." Those two facts are something that is not in high school English lit.
Portions of Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" are quite homoerotic. The poetry conjures up images of male to male love.
In my mature age, I realize that I have been blessed with a few very wonderful lovers as well as many loves. Truly, as I look around me I am blessed with all of the love that is in my life.
Today my last lover has been on my mind all day. Against all odds or all reason we had an affair that lasted on/off for six years. The last time I heard from him was either 2002 or 2003 and he may be in Georgia, Louisiana, or maybe California.
My nickname for him was "The Little Guy"...and to this day I still refer to him by that name.
Over the years that we were together he said a number of romantic things to be that are for some reason branded on my heart. One day after spending a day in the sun at San Gregorio picnicking, drinking wine, smoking a little weed...he said to me as we returned to my home "If I were a puppy dog, my tail would be wagging right now in happiness."
On another day and at a more serious time in his life, I had called him and in the start of our conversation I'd asked if I had called at a bad time. He said: "Do not worry for every time I hear your voice it calms my heart."
By the way, the above sketch is of him at his home (it is a snapshot that I've doctored up to protect the innocent...or not so innocent. :-))
So...today... Little Guy...I am thinking of you and I send this Walt Whitman poem to you wherever you are:
When I Heard at the Close of the Day
BY WALT WHITMAN
When I heard at the close of the day how my name had been receiv’d with plaudits in the capitol, still it was not a happy night for me that follow’d,
And else when I carous’d, or when my plans were accomplish’d, still I was not happy,
But the day when I rose at dawn from the bed of perfect health, refresh’d, singing, inhaling the ripe breath of autumn,
When I saw the full moon in the west grow pale and disappear in the morning light,
When I wander’d alone over the beach, and undressing bathed, laughing with the cool waters, and saw the sun rise,
And when I thought how my dear friend my lover was on his way coming, O then I was happy,
O then each breath tasted sweeter, and all that day my food nourish’d me more, and the beautiful day pass’d well,
And the next came with equal joy, and with the next at evening came my friend,
And that night while all was still I heard the waters roll slowly continually up the shores,
I heard the hissing rustle of the liquid and sands as directed to me whispering to congratulate me,
For the one I love most lay sleeping by me under the same cover in the cool night,
In the stillness in the autumn moonbeams his face was inclined toward me,
And his arm lay lightly around my breast – and that night I was happy.