Friday, September 22, 2006


My friend, associate and employer for the last five years died this past Monday morning. He drank himself to death over the course of a week. Those closest to him knew it was coming, were powerless to stop him, and in what could be seen as either an act of extreme selfishness or selflessness, coldness or compassion chose to let him choose whether he wanted to live or to die.

We now must live with our decision and with the actuality that he chose differently than what we wanted.

For some of us, there will never be an understanding as to his choice. The acute pain of knowing the end could have been avoided, we could have intervened will be a part of us, maybe forever. Could the end have been avoided? Can we shape time and our experience as we desire with happy endings always?

I know my friend for who he really was. He was not his disease, he was not his loss, and he was not his bank account or his past. He was and is still very much a part of me, and a part of you. I choose to see him and each of us as a whole and wholly complete, aware we are not what we perceive and acknowledging we cannot ever truly know or understand what is intrinsically unknowable.

As far as order- what is order other than what is and what appears to be-to each of us. No manner of order, not even divine order offers us complete understanding, does it?

Appearances are at the mercy of our dulled senses, but to the heart it is a different matter. From a still, silent heart- center appearances fall away and divine order reveals itself. It is from here that we live, move and have our being.

For me, it is simply a place to rest.

Thank you Meredith and Aki for your ongoing discourse of the past two weeks. Your words have helped me move from dulled senses to Heart- Center as I remember my friend for who he really was.


Blogger Buford said...

This is your best take on order you have ever written. “No manner of order, not even divine order offers us complete understanding, does it?” In answer, I say no it does not.

However, if order, Divine or not, is your belief you have an obligation to tap that belief in order to cope or understand or find the good in an event such as this in your life.

It seems to me you have done this when you say, “For me, it is simply a place to rest.”

That simple statement validates your belief in “Divine Order.” And, even though you may feel you are not obligated to validate your beliefs, if you do not, the belief becomes null and empty.

Within the conflict of your buddy’s death, you have been forced to articulate what Divine Order is to you. Our use of our belief systems, especially in times of sorrow, is the main reason we have beliefs.

Yes Tommy, there may never be an understanding of his choice, but like the third and fourth line of my poem states, “A life spent is never wasted.”

Tommy this poem was first written for Nana when we thought grandma Denzer was dieing. I hope you see the hope imbedded within my words. Although I do not subscribe to your particular order, I do respect, empathize, and enjoy it.

A Communal Death March

And so the song of death steeps into your life
A privileged opportunity to touch immortality

A life spent
Is never wasted
It holds us
In check
Like judges
Human Kind
A grand jury
Quietly conveying
From generation to generation
The truth
Of our

“Were all in this thing together
Walking the line between faith and fear
This life don’t last forever
Many cry and no one tasted the salt of their tears
It’s slow road to freedom”
( “were all in this together”
By Old Crow Medicine Show)

Tommy this second poem relates to the sisters of inspiration (Muses) and of art in all its forms (even death). Although sad, there is an overall theme to sot’s death; It is up to the living to make his death worth something.

FYI- Melpomene, Muse of Tragedy, is so named from the chanting by which she charms her listeners. She is the mother of the SIRENS by Achelous, one of the RIVER GODS.

He the sot, in darkened ally
Lie in rags o’er his shoulders

Empty of fire, yet full of hope
flask in hand, quivering in the early morning

She the Muse, Melpomene
Crept into his rabble
Revealed in cold contempt
to his red and stinging eyes

The sot in sudden fury
Bares his yellow teeth
His anger guided by
Self imposed tragedy

“Speak ye not of woes, of loss
Pour your flask onto your stone
Cleanse your soul of lingering hate
for tragedy visits you”

She spoke in chanting tones
and he lie before her
Stretched hands to feet
skin cold and clammy

Now her hands upon his chest
Through his quickening breaths
and fluttering eyes
She chants her haunting song

She leans down to his ear
“I take from you your pain and addiction
to inspire from your tragedy
So quit this life and all it has ravaged”

As tragedy lived
and death descended
the Muse wondered
into the morning streets

The sot, lie dead, cold, and smiling
o’er streets of rot, filth, and tragedy

All my love and support.


1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I should never be surprised at the timing of things...but I still am sometimes. For example, I was sitting her agonizing over a friend of mine who is threatening to kill himself nd has been drinking all day every day for weeks. Then I open your post. I realize there is very little I can do for my friend but I keep trying to talk him out of it. :(

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May the merciful God embrace the soul of your friend in His love, and heal his earthly sorrows and pain. Amen.

11:53 AM  
Blogger E said...

Isaiah, sorry to hear about your friend. Seeing someone close to you act so self desctructive with alcohol has been one of the most numbing things I've experienced. Glad you know where to rest.


11:51 AM  
Blogger Amy Harden said...

Tommy- I am so so sorry to hear this. Words aren't enough right now, so please just know that our hearts are with you, Cathy, and those close to you and your friend. We too had hoped for a different ending for him. Much love.

7:44 PM  
Blogger anonymous julie said...

i would say that i'm sorry, and on some levels i am... but at the same time, i'm not... well, i'm not sorry, nor am i not-sorry. i'm merely here, watching. but then, it seems, so are you. so it's okay.

12:44 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Thank you for seeing clearly and compassionately, and writing what you see. It is a gift to those who read.

8:04 AM  
Blogger Meredith said...

Dear Tommy,
While the mind eagerly wants to make sense of loss, especially a tragic loss, the heart knows. Your heart knows... in a choiceless awareness, the heart knows.

Appearances are at the mercy of our dulled senses, but to the heart it is a different matter. From a still, silent heart- center appearances fall away and divine order reveals itself. It is from here that we live, move and have our being.

Yes, the heart knows, and this friend, all friends, are held in this light.

As you are,

9:56 AM  
Blogger Dan said...


10:24 AM  
Blogger Trev Diesel said...

It's beautiful that you can see through the veil to who your friend really is/was.

...continuing to send prayers and love...

Let me know if you need to vent or chat.

7:19 AM  
Blogger rama said...

Thank you for this inspired and inspiring tribute. This brought to mind my relationship with my late father, who had a drinking problem. I was always agitated about his flaw. After his passing away, I learnt to see him, unveiled, in his perfection. To the extent that death enables such a transformed perception and relation with a loved one, it is a great blessing. Best, rama

5:40 AM  

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