People I don’t get to see any more

Whenever I see a lot of people from my Dad’s school together in the same place I think of TR who died not so long ago, one of those rare people about whom nobody had anything bad to say. He had a wonderful eulogy.

Today I was mending a leather purse, and I thought about another leather purse which I keep safe in a drawer, which also needs to be mended, and which belonged to our family friend MS who was schizophrenic and killed herself with exhaust fumes. She sewed me a small pink felt teddy bear sporting a felt-tip heart on its chest, crudely pieced together with big disordered stitches, which childish pedantry made me dislike at the time but which I now love because it’s a piece of her love.That paved the way for more dead people.

Today I had an email from my old boss’s boyfriend, T, who wants to form a community on WAYN. This boss is a person who taught me everything I know about carpe diem, which though many of my friends would say is not much, is a sight lot more than I knew before I met him. This is my analysis: after his first skin cancer diagnosis and remission he sensed with a physician’s instinct that he was on borrowed time. He extended carpe diem to include his circle of friends and colleagues – for me, this meant visits to South Africa, Vancouver, Ottawa, Baltimore, D.C., Aalborg, Dublin to speak, invitations to his home, bold and cheeky plans which paid off, the loan of his illustrious name in all my work endeavours, promotion without my asking, and more responsibility than I had reason to expect back then. That’s why I keep his photograph at work – for inspiration. Everybody loved him. He died on April 13th 2001 and I wanted to, and never did, send T this song and these lyrics:

Love Is Stronger Than Death – The The

Me and my friend were walking
In the cold light of mourning.
Tears may blind the eyes but the soul is not deceived
In this world even winter ain’t what it seems.

Here come the blue skies, here comes springtime,
When the rivers run high and the tears run dry.
When everything that dies
Shall rise.

Love, love, love is stronger than death.
Love, love, love is stronger than death.

In our lives we hunger for those we cannot touch.
All the thoughts unuttered & all the feelings unexpressed
Play upon our hearts like the mist upon our breath.
But, awoken by grief, our spirits speak
How could you believe that the life within the seed
That grew arms that reached
And a heart that beat
And lips that smiled
And eyes that cried
Could ever die?

Here come the blue skies here comes springtime.
When the rivers run high & the tears run dry.
When everything that dies.
Shall rise.

Love, love, love is stronger than death.
Love, love, love is stronger than death.

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