Brooks 23

The day, in somber grey, yet clear and cold, a January gift, forms a shadowed curtain of question, of what’s uncertain around me and those now standing here. Cold winter’s breeze, broken sun and sienna shadows – coats and scarves and dresses blow, flapping black, midst watery eyes and reddened noses. They wait… we wait… to humbly let us in, by our own stiffened procession, past memory cards, photos, guest register and pen.

In the distance beyond the foyer, his image pronounced largely midst flowers, lights and the wall, past the glass curtain set there. So many, so full, yet behind me the line is eternal, of those here to pay their respect, to trade a sorrowful heart for a memory, trade to hope from regret.
I wonder if I’ve grown calloused, my emotions are real and on my sleeve, but this pain is nothing new to me. So many I’ve given back, so many, so close…

Yet in this crowd of caring souls I see the faces of children I know, now grown, now boldly standing in their own paths – young adults bound here, for this moment, this January afternoon, as one. I see Seth and Alex and Gabe and Chris and Matt and so many more… and Ben… I recall them young, unaware, unafraid, children with a safe home calling – warm, quiet, confident home… Yet today – they stand as men… together and yet alone. Each on their path, seeing the world from their own eyes, through their own life’s experiences. Together, facing a reality none ever expected they’d share. Their faces are long and somber – their youth denies them their age, and moments turn to eons before my eyes – they all look so tired, so old. In these expressions I see their pain, only relieved by the stories of memories shared… of the one now gone… laughter, tears, gasps and grappling for strength to pull them forward… they each see this from different eyes – yet all the same – collectively, as something more beautiful than the whole – it’s love I see – for each other, for life, for what they’ve lost, for the trials, the triumphs, the lessons learned from mistakes – but mostly for the hope that they share, a better strength and hope for tomorrow…

… names are called, and answered in roll… standing one by one, … but one … “Benjamin Scott Brooksmith”… again … again … The momentary silence between the calling crushes my will to endure and the tears come – and like a heaven sent thunder, bagpipes begin… “Amazing Grace” pounds like the beat of a heart in despair… The young men stand there, endure their own grief… some wavering, some grasping to stand steady, some with head hung long, and some tall and accepting… The pipes end and I feel weightless, off the cliff and over the edge – it is done…

We gathered to remember, to share our grief, to find consolation for our souls, to seek an understanding…

We found the strong echoes of love!

I found these children grown, baptized by life, confirmed in peace, and set free as a generation.
The cold day hasn’t changed outside… January sun betrayed by her bitter wind. Hugs and whispers… tears toward the door…

The walk back to my truck is empty – carved hollow by the blank echoes of footsteps – retracting to the fabric of life… moving on in time without choice. The moments have come and gone – only memories remain… … as I drive, it seems that all the world is empty and everyone I see grieves with me, and understands – The music playing seems to speak to my aching heart, my vision of those young faces… every lyric seems pointed in meaning – and the voice there dips in and out of the voices of my long passed brothers, father, mother…

.. the day is grey with January sun and cold… I fell tired, I feel old…

God bless them all –

God bless Ben.

J. Blue – 25-Jan-2010

In loving memory – 3 years later – the young men and women I know, have all risen to the calling of each of their lives, although two more left their midst in that time. I’m proud of them all. Love them all dearly.
J. Blue – 20-Jan-2013

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Filed under Family, Memory, Poetry

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