I have a message on my cell phone from my brother Gary. It’s the usual sort of rambling witty message that we would often leave one another – indicative of our esoteric repartee. This particular message was about the logistics of picking up Doreen and I from the airport – we’d been in San Francisco for a week visiting our daughter . . . his message closed with him saying how he was looking forward to seeing us again. My brother Garrison passed from this world two years ago.
It was a brain aneurism procedure that became complicated. Complicated doesn’t even begin to express how this event devastated our family. All those many hours spent between the waiting room and intensive care, holding one another up, praying for God’s presence, looking for any sliver of hope that Gary might be returned to us—whole. Then to finally surrender to the insurmountable fact that we would have to let him go.
As my older brother, he was unavoidably a big influence on my life, but no area of influence was more profound than on my artistic formation. Given the fearless way he pursued his creative muse with an inexhaustible extemporaneous intuition, how could I not glean inspiration from such a creative process? As we grew older we became closer and as I became more accomplished at my craft, our relationship grew even deeper, encouraging one another to stay true to our gifts and calling. The last decade or so of his life, I was privileged to be able to collaborate on all of his many recording projects – producing and arranging his music.
I miss being able to call him up to just shoot the breeze. I miss the long hours working on his many wondrous projects, I miss seeing his face at family gatherings. But what I miss most of all is the fact that he was one of the few people in my life who really knew me, who understood how my heart beats . . . so now there’s just a conspicuous hole in my own explanation of who I am. So every once in a while I listen to that message and think – “Yea, I look forward to seeing you again too”
This is from my Chiaroscuro Collection
I Will Let Him Go
I will let him go as a lantern offered to the night
I do not know how much light he shines before dawn
Bending the dark on his path leading home
This finite particle now dancing in the vast starlit heaven
I will whisper my prayer to break the silence of my heart
Shaping my hope to encircle a far greater joy
Echoing with his song’s resonant irrepressible beauty
Found now in that place where every moment is significant
I will wait here filled with immeasurable longing
To find comfort in the familiar voice now absent
To understand the unknowable veiled in impermeable mystery
Until my own lantern is received into such inexpressible joy