Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Landscape of Grief

Writing has always been a cathartic exercise, and a look around bookstore shelves or right here on the blogosphere will testify to that.

So, on this day of September 11, the gorgeous weather gives us the same incongruity as it did seven years ago, how can we reconcile such beauty with such horror? Many years ago, I attended the funeral one of my husband's best friends. He had killed himself, so this was such an uneasy tragedy. I also remember the sunny day felt like a slap in the face. How can nature dare be pleasant, when so many were in pain?

Of course, there is no answer to that. But I'd like to think that when the sun is shining so beautifully, it'll give comfort, and guide us through the murky grief landscape we all must travel.

I wrote the following piece, which was published yesterday at Blogcritics Magazine.

A Wednesday Afternoon Listen
Dropkick Murphys – The Meanest of Times

With respect and homage of sorts to my friend Mark Saleski – I am borrowing his well-done column idea for my own today. It just seemed the right thing to do.

Tomorrow being September 11, my thoughts naturally drift back in time. I was talking to my older son, discussing why 9/11 was not a national holiday. I said that we need to send a message that we are not cowering, not whimpering. Memorializing and praying, yes. But we are surviving. Maybe even business as usual. We are defiant in the face of terror, however muted with time it might be.

It’s that quiet, somber reflective feeling that gives me the strength to feel that defiance. Seven years of healing helps. But on this same day, my husband prepares to help and support his friend and colleague Jim, by attending the wake of his son Joseph.

Joey Larracey, 16, collapsed after a football scrimmage last Friday night, Sept 5th and died later that evening. And his parents, family, and the whole community are lost on the most treacherous grief terrain. They don’t have the sedating comfort of time that smoothes the rough footing of this savage landscape.

The Dropkick Murphys have felt all of that. I don’t even have to know them personally to know that they suffered. It’s in their songs. You hear it in their adaptation of “Green Fields of France” (Warrior’s Code), a poignant anti war song. You can’t miss it “Last Letter Home” (also from Warrior’s Code), a collection of real letters to and from Andrew Farrar, a Marine who died in Fallujah in 2005. DKM sounded absolutely pissed off in that song. Damn straight.

But today as I drive through the beautiful September sunshine, I listen to “Never Forget” from Meanest of Times. And I play it full blast.

“When you got love and we got family
Keep 'em close and don't forget
To hold them right there in your heart
When you got love and family”

May all the strength of God, friends, family and Love support the Larracey family in these very meanest of times.