Reflected Light

David and his mother, Charlotte.

There are things I have to write which I have no idea how to write. It’s been over a month since the pre-dawn phone call came, and I haven’t written a word; I have danced around hard words, looked at them from the corner of my eye and glanced away. If I kept them in my peripheral vision, where dreams and fairies live, they wouldn’t be real. Right?

I’ve tried a hundred ways to internalize the idea that “David is gone.” It’s the period at the end of that sentence that kills me, a tiny black hole I cannot follow. I desperately want the period to be an ellipsis. It’s not.

Words, always my buoy and salvation through all the seasons and typhoons life has brought, have failed me now. I type and re-type sentence after sentence. Tears make paper fragile, and erasers tear through damp fibers yet again. You can only rub out inadequacy so many times before the paper cries for mercy and gives way.

There are people who are who are in the world, but who never belong to the world. David was one of those people. From the literal day we met, when I was seventeen, there was an indescribable bond between us. We had a friendship that transcended time and place, and we thought we could turn that friendship into a marriage. We also learned the hard way it doesn’t always work that way. I am not romanticizing in retrospect— it is this, this abiding and deep understanding of each other that allowed us to forgive each other so fully when our marriage imploded.

There are trite colloquialisms about how the cracked vessel lets the light in… David’s gift to those who knew and loved him was his light. But we cannot ignore that the source for that light, like any star, was internal fusion and catastrophic combustion. So many of his friends grew in his light, warmed their hearts and hands on his heat, and found their own path with the help of his reflection- but there was always a cost to him.

In another day or another time, David might have been a seer or holy man. He had vast spiritual gifts, but in the times in which he was born, finding a home for those sensitive, intangible gifts proved impossible. Even when you cannot find your home or place in the world, your heart doesn’t stop yearning. It is that search for home and for peace that led David down pathways that ultimately harmed him.

While I cannot relate, I can understand, and I can forgive him. My heart aches and I choke on tears when I realize my children will not know the best parts of their father. I again face my own inadequacy at the daunting prospect of only having my words to convey to them the light David gave me. And then, just like that, I can hear him laughing— deep, rich, hearty laughter. He’s making fun of me for my doubt and is genuinely mirthful. “Please. You’re a star. You can do anything.” And he believed it.

For my children, I will tell his stories, giving back reflections of what he gave me. We’re all stories in the end, right?

10 thoughts on “Reflected Light

  1. David’s light is reflected in your words. Thank you for letting us see a glimpse of it. You and your family
    will continue to be in our prayers.

  2. CWC, you know my heart.

    Reach out your hand if your cup be empty
    If your cup is full may it be again
    Let it be known there is a fountain
    That was not made by the hands of men
    There is a road, no simple highway
    Between the dawn and the dark of night
    And if you go no one may follow
    That path is for your steps alone
    Ripple in still water
    When there is no pebble tossed
    Nor wind to blow

  3. You have a beautiful gift for writing…creating memorable pictures with your words. They will be enough for your children. They will learn of the light David was and is. It is enough. You are enough. Love you my friend.

  4. Oh, no. Say it isn’t so. I am so deeply saddened by this news. Beautiful, loving tribute, Tra – I remember only his light and his radiance and the David that gave of his heart. He was a shaman or a healer of sorts and never did belong to this world. My heart bleeds for you and the children. 😦 Hugs….xoxo

  5. He once likened our friendship as lifetimes deep. Like we had once been two dragonflies sitting on a reed over some primordial soup. In our day, it was the north Sunnyvale abandoned business parks and underpasses that were our primordial soup. When I heard of his passing, I found the first abandoned building I could find to help me search for solace. Still haven’t found it.

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