Then you got talking about an afterlife in which we could be happy. Your picture was of our aunt and uncle's old beach trailer in San Clemente, on a pebbly, rocky, misty beach. We could live there in harmony with a dog and with rooms and rooms and rooms of books. If the afterlife could be a long stretch of misty beach with fresh fish on the pier, a good black dog in a cozy house, and all the time in the world to read all the books we will never had time to read, we'd be content.
Aaron Freeman wrote a beautiful sketch for NPR a few years ago that begins, "You want a physicist to speak at your funeral." He says,
"And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.
And you'll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they'll be comforted to know your energy's still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you're just less orderly. Amen."
We both find that comforting.
Still, the other part of me, the one who wants to live and experience and grow, wants to remind you on those terrible days that there are things in life that you and I both love. Here are some pictures to illustrate:
First of all, my wonderful dog,
And my Very Photogenic Boyfriend. I also love my wonderful friends, and would add photogenic pictures of them as well, but I'd be afraid of embarrassing them.
I love the seasons and the mountains and the trees.
And, of course, somewhere in California, San Clemente and its pebbly rocky beach and its long misty pier and its fresh fish and its warm cafes really does exist. Which is a comfort in itself.
Anyway, try to remember these things on those bleak days when you want your life to be over. It's hard. It's bad. And it's not going to just go away. You're going to cry, and you're going to hate yourself, and you're going to hate your life. But hold on, and remember that good things exist, and that people love you, and that you love them too.
Playing with my boyfriend's best friend's adorable baby girl for an hour today didn't hurt either.
And, of course, remember how beautiful poetry is, and what a comfort that can be in hard times.
Much love to everyone, and good luck to you all this coming week!
I want to carry you
and for you to carry me
the way voices are said to carry over water.
Just this morning on the shore,
I could hear two people talking quietly
in a rowboat on the far side of the lake.
They were talking about fishing,
then one changed the subject,
and, I swear, they began talking about you.
Oh, and ps, happy bisexuality day! Celebrate!!