I read what I wrote at his funeral. It was my second draft. The first draft is somewhere in my office, and I’m sure it’s quite different than what I ended up saying.
I meant to tell you something else.
When he lived with me, he was completely self-supporting.
He got a job. he saved 2 guys and got a medal in the navy TWO GUYS!
He relied on no one.
I forgot to tell you that he was most respectful, even as he grumbled about my rules.
I forgot to say that he was a proud man.
And yesterday, I decided that I couldn’t talk about him at night, or in the morning, or at work. I was freaking myself out.
I had a panic-like attack today. It wasn’t real, but I felt like I couldn’t breathe. That the pressures from my job, and weird emails from a bizarre source, and 8 hours of work I tried to cram into 3 made me simply overwhelmed. I did 3 rounds of meditation in my office. I signed up for yoga tonight.
Then I came home. Locked my keys in the house. Again for the millionth time. My son was at his Dad’s, and I drove to get his keys. It was a nightmare of sorts. Missed the yoga class. Didn’t get to the market for food. Didn’t clean the house for my boys’ return.
I drove into Ripon, and I was not flooded with missing my home town, but the remembrance that he walked everywhere, and though he would let me drive him to his job in the next town, but mostly, he walked.
And I remembered what I forgot to say then. That I would come and get you.
Like I told you the last time we talked. You call me anytime, and I will come and get you.
So. You must have forgotten what I told you.
And it’s night time. And I was not supposed to think about him at night.
Yet, I found myself wailing as I got on the freeway. Where are you? Why? Why? And more not being able to breathe.
And then a bargain for the Dodgers game this weekend.
I write. This is what I do.
Because somehow it’s a little better just getting the sadness down my arms and through my fingers, and onto this page.
I will think of something that lasts forever. Something I can count on.
You want it to be God, but he doesn’t hear me like I need him to. I’m in this abyss alone, it seems.
I see him in my old house at 10 years old when he and his sister sleep in sleeping bags on the floor, she having tea with me,
he scampering around with my dog.
And I can see him as a boy running down that hall.
Those tickets? Those stupid Kirk Gibson tickets? He was with me at that game in 1988.
I see him with his baseball glove. Waiting.
I forgot, I remember, I forget again. Meanwhile, it’s baseball season.
(This was an except of a poem I read at his funeral.)
|“The Green Fields of the Mind ”
by A. Bartlett Giamatti
It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.
Of course, there are those who learn after the first few times. They grow out of sports. And there are others who were born with the wisdom to know that nothing lasts. These are the truly tough among us, the ones who can live without illusion, or without even the hope of illusion. I am not that grown-up or up-to-date. I am a simpler creature, tied to more primitive patterns and cycles. I need to think something lasts forever, and it might as well be that state of being that is a game; it might as well be that, in a green field, in the sun.