Tuesday, July 3, 2018

I immediately thought of you, Sabine and R, when I came across the Bodhran Boys just now

A few days ago, I took a walk up the hill in the early morning to Big Rock Garden, a small beautiful neighborhood park.  It's been awhile since I walked there. A large dolmen was placed there some years ago. I was the only person in the park as I walked the trails among rhododendrons, azaleas, Japanese maples, cedars, one Sierra redwood tree, and a collection of outdoor sculptures.  As I sat down on a bench and looked at the dolmen, I suddenly felt the presence and absence of R on the bench next to me.

I wonder if the day will ever come that I don't feel moved to write about the love I had for a man whose life was taken over by alcoholism and drug addiction before and after his return from Vietnam in December 1970.  Yesterday would have been 50 years of marriage, had my R and I married, but that wasn't meant to be.

His father was Irish.  His mother was German and Swedish.  He had an uncle on his father's side who belonged to Alcoholics Anonymous.  Of his 9 siblings, all but two (his sisters) suffered from alcoholism and drug addiction.  An older brother committed suicide.

In April, it was 10 years since R died of complications of alcoholism, drug abuse, Agent Orange exposure, a brainstem stroke, and cancer that metastasized to his brain.

We were together in Hawaii on this day in July 1970.  I had flown from San Francisco.  He had flown from near the DMZ in Vietnam.

Although we did not live together after May 1971, I continue to reflect on the mystery of his presence and absence in my life and how that shaped who I have become.

"... They spent many happy hours and then the night closed in, and the holy ground took care of everything ...

"... it didn't come true in the end, they went their separate ways.  He couldn't change what he was.  She wasn't ready to wait.

When you see the way Mary Black smiles at the end of the song, know that I am whole and healed.  Although I don't know that he ever saw a bodhran, in my mind's eye I can see my R playing one now with those Irish boys.  I can see that light in his eyes that I have never forgotten.

"... I remember the loving time and nothing else really counts."


Sabine said...

How could you ever stop thinking about and feeling this love when it has been such an important part of your life.

Thanks for the music, watching Mary Black and Declan Sinnott (on guitars) and a very young Davy Spillane (on Uillean pipes) makes me feel old, we used to hear them live in a small pub/cultural center in Monkstown, Co. Dublin (https://comhaltas.ie/locations/detail/culturlann/) on Friday nights. Davy was just starting out then, very shy.

37paddington said...

We never forget the love that shapes who we are. He is alive to you now as he ever was, perhaps even more so in memory than those years locked in a mortal war with addiction. You will be together again, in other lives, as indeed, you are still together in spirit now. Hugs, friend.

am said...

Sabine and Rosemarie: Thank you so much for your presence.