Letter to a dead friend at 5am

Natalie my friend.

Because you are you know. A real friend.

Though you lie beneath your roses now and I

feel as if I lie beneath them, with you.

For I am not as alive, once, twice, three times

as you ever were

you, who were beloved in life, you, who passed too soon, too well

into the light, beyond to your garden

where those who loved you and there were many

sat cross-legged waiting for you to tell a story

make us laugh, make us smile, radiate with your old world charm

for you were one of the last ones, the best generation

reminding me of my grandmother, those fine ladies of yester year

who did not have our mistakes and our errors, the Booming Boomers, befuddled Gen X kids, lost Millennial’s who

never quite learned, how to wake up early and brush their hair, until

it gleamed.

I keep your photo, I retain your last message to me, I have a quote on my

desk you wrote

and mindful always, you told me; Listen, don’t give a shit

don’t!

People will hate you, especially if you are good

it’s the way of the world, you told me, smell the roses, don’t give a damn

and don’t forget to swear copiously …

I have forgotten many things, my rule book is sabotaged, I keep making

the same mistakes, *stop it!* (say nothing, it’s safer!) I blunder as if I were a child sometimes, unsure

of the etiquette, not able to read minds and plunge my hands into

the mass of wriggling thought, to harness something tangible

I never understood humans ever so well (why are they so cold?)

their mascinations, their secret selves, it were as if being

an only-child I watched from the outside with bemusement

(or horror) (or incomprehension) why do they survive without needing

something? Someone? More than ego? Self-satisfaction? What

urges them to action? If not something meaningful?

One minute they would be saying, they loved me and the next

turning a cold shoulder, the variations, the deceptions, the quiet

subtext I did not relate to, what ever did they mean when

they went silent and I dropped like a dying star (autism is

more honest than what we deem normal, i’m certain)

out of their orbit? How to tell? What to care about? (I am

afraid of not mattering to anyone, and everything I do being futile, I don’t

want to go my entire life as lonely as now, with that hollow

fear inside my mouth, unable to come out, lodged deep

like a burrowing moth will press itself like unbidden velvet).

Natalie – – you said; Child, don’t care so much

for nobody cares as much as they say they do

unless God is watching and even then, they would be loved

without putting forth effort, they would have worship without

knowing the feel of ground skinned beneath their knees

few will truly care, this idea you will have a devotional

following, is only for the wicked and the vain, if you are lucky

I mean — really lucky

you may have friends you can count on one hand

who truly, when the chips are down, and before dawn has come

will turn to you and rise you up

from sickness, in health, in death, who will come and pay their respects?

I recall your funeral, how we passed down the long line

many were your contemporaries, women you said used to

criticize you for swearing overly, even accused you of making it up

about your mother, (surely her life wasn’t that hard!) but that’s why I love you, you said

for you believed me straight away and with the innocence

of children we came together, I had my first seventy year old friend

staying long at the coffin, flowers on top, clouds filled with rain as

if God were waiting until we passed, to let loose his tears

I didn’t believe in God, as you did, I did believe in you and you

were faithful and hypocritical like the best of us

a flawed, imperfect, relic of a human being with

magnificent hair and a dirty laugh.

I should have come visit more often, I said,

as we all say when someone meets their grave and the

smell of dirt is in our nostrils, time being as it is, so fickle

and short, and we, who are still young, think we are far

from this hour, not so far, not so far.

You told me, listen, forget what you’ve learned about

piety and mortality, people are beasts, the world is cruel

but if you can find someone who loves you, then hold on

for dear life, and do your best to help them through

for there is nothing sadder than loneliness in a room

full of people and there is nothing better than one hand

reaching for you in a crowd

pulling you out

into fresh air, where if we were the same age

I suspect I would have stood up to those who bullied you in

your thirties and told your mother to go hang when she

said she found you a disappointment

I know how that feels Natalie, we shared the same stories

forty years apart, when you were born I was not

still feel I am not, I miss you because

you were a riddle in a lesson in a riddle in a lesson and I

don’t meet people like you very often, nor have I in a long while

stood in your garden and smelt the roses, they bloom just

before the light you said, just before it begins to dawn and

that is when I would most like to close my eyes for the last time

and sleep forever.

On that day you died, I watched out of my window

for surely there would be a sign, something of you

gathering into the ether, if I took my glasses off and squinted

maybe I could see in the unyielding darkness a little of what

you spoke about, that stirring of Gods and tempests and

humans lost on their own gloat, people who exist without

giving a damn about, each other, or the basics of care, I never

understood, even if I were well versed as you, on parents who

didn’t really want (me) (us) (you) (I) (anything).

Last night I dreamed of going braless to the store and seeing

an old lover who stared at my chest the entire time, I dreamed

of boarding a plane with nobody on it, except waving oxygen masks

I dreamed of you and I dreamed of my mother

in the dream of you, you were walking through the rose

bushes and in time you were out of sight, and music I liked was

playing through an open window and I saw you take flight

and soon you were high in the sky and my eyes could no

longer follow your trajectory and I thought – – maybe I should

let go, but I don’t want to, I never have wanted to, I can’t

it isn’t in me to let go – – – (God I wish it were!) and the dream was about my mother

and she had always been gone and wasn’t there and

I was (holding her hair brush)

and I was (stepping into a lake)

and I was (still)

left behind to take these memories of people and sustain them

as if a bomb had obliterated everything but my recollection

be it real or wrong or scattered like pollen, I don’t know

I don’t know what to do Natalie, to be loved? Be glad of shrugging

them all and living in a cabin in the woods? Or to matter, to

be of consequence, like I felt with you. Was it because you were

old or just kind or just hurt or just battered by your own mother who

you said told you she had wished she had

a boy and not a girl and not you and not you and not you.

Why do the good ones die? Why will one day I watch them

throw flowers for my mother and long then, to have had her

tightly woven around me like clay

but untouchable is untouchable and yearning is for children

(she won’t have a funeral anyway, she doesn’t believe in God

either, and she won’t invite you, no she won’t invite you least of

all to a wake without a wake).

So grow up and put your shoes on child, your feet will get muddy if

you continue to walk bare foot when it rains and the thorns

will always sting even if you are pricked countless times

there is a sharp edge to beauty you said, did you know, I was once beautiful?

I know I replied, I can tell, you still are, because a woman with

wrinkles like ships on her cheeks can smile just once and

a room is devoured by her radiance

if others can’t see that, it’s all right

I think of you now, and then and in the future

alongside my day as I work beneath the fan, it is still hot

in September, yes you said, it always was in bloody infernal Texas.

People remain alive in our memories or they are forgotten

as I am, before they die

it’s all about how much they exist and what magical

recipe keeps them real and how much glue they possess

and whether they hold on, out of sheer bloody mindedness

or just for the hell of it

or perhaps they swear a lot and eat three over-easy eggs for breakfast

when the sun rises and the day is golden

and we begin over

like fools

like humans

like lovers of people who are warm and good

Natalie, like you.

Natalie Scarberry

member_1438760410623433_1438760410_1908473023_n_de62379f693f04147696876c3f264e95

(I took a long time to write this so it’s terribly late – I found it very hard to write. But it’s never too late to say how much you care about someone). This is for my beautiful and dear friend Natalie Scarberry who has left this earth and hopefully is out of pain and smiling down upon us from somewhere.

I have never meant to be selfish. I grew up knowing some very selfish people and I swore never to be like them. I think since I became ill I’ve had less and less time and energy for social media. Frankly I don’t know how you people do it. An hour of socializing online is my max and I have to work. I can’t seem to do all my work, run a household, balance life, make dinner, and spend as much time online as many people I know. (Although I equally know many who are never online). I realize if you don’t have a job or you’re retired it is easier than those of us who work, but I’m still amazed at how much time people can spend online.

Of the many I have met online since my first book was published (before then I was never online as much but it helps to promote) one person who touched me so much with her honesty and sincerity and true goodness was Natalie Scarberry. She spent a huge amount of time socializing online but it never felt like you were one if many. You always felt special. She had that angel’s ability of making everyone feel valued, she used to say it was because her mom did not value her, so she decided she would be the exact opposite and she truly was filled with light and love.

Despite being deeply devout she didn’t judge people who were gay or who weren’t Christian and she understood love in a way few do. From her generation and time that was so rare and she was the kind of person that truly made this world a better place. She was one of the most compassionate people I have had the fortune to know, and it was sincere. She was a wonderful gardener and her garden was a little Eden here on earth. She was one of the smartest, most caring and truthful people I have had the pleasure to know.

We have lost some incredible WP people including two Paul’s and dear Cynthia. I didn’t ever think I’d lose Natalie. And worse, because I’m rarely online long and rush to do things, I had not been in touch with her this last 4 weeks and she passed during that time.

I didn’t know. I am ashamed that I didn’t know. I should have done more. She was so worth it. Although any bodies life is worth it). I complain about others not caring when you’re sick and I was guilty of neglecting a magnificent woman.

Natalie. I don’t want to eulogize. You know how I feel. You made that same permanent mark in every life you touched. And I cared about you these long years. For your courage and honesty which cut to the truth and guided me so many times. I don’t get super close to people easily and you were family.

We who cherish you will never forget you my friend. Forgive me if you can for being so errant and offline these last few weeks when I should have been checking. I have no excuse. I never learned how to spend hours socializing online and that is why you and I wrote letters and sent cards and talked. But I am truly sorry I wasn’t there. And every time I drive through Ft. Worth it is you I shall always think of.

You once said your mom hadn’t much cared for you and we bonded over our moms not really liking us terribly much. Being a disappointment to them. Not understanding why they didn’t like us. I learned years ago from you Natalie, how to realize this isn’t personal even though it seems to be. It isn’t anyone’s fault. And my relationship with my mom was much better and brought us both some happiness for some years because of that. Even though she ultimately decided to end our relationship, there is no anger or hate on my part because of what you, Natalie, taught me. I value myself irrespective of whether my mom does and do not take her not wanting me in her life, personally. Your wisdom taught me to be okay with who I am without needing to hear that from someone else.

You had a brilliant sense of humor. I loved how you would always CUT TO THE HEART of things and write your truth, sometimes with lots of swear words! I found that so funny because you had such class but you were able to say it without reserve. I always knew you were honest because you didn’t mince words or say platitudes. Sometimes you would kick my butt and other times you would scold me but it was always in love. Furthermore you were a light so many reached for, with your daily quotes and thoughts, and your far reaching compassion. When I got sick you were one of few who checked on me regularly and cared – right up until you were sick yourself and had to spend more time taking care of that – although you never stopped caring for others, it’s just who you were.

I didn’t just value you for what you did for me. I valued your fighting words and your spirit. Your humor. Your deep faith. Your beautiful heart. I hope you know all that you did for all those in this world who love you. Your legacy will never die. I am terribly sorry I didn’t know you passed, I will miss you terribly but I truly believe your good heart will always be here with us. I pray for you and your family. Please know from all of us who loved you on WP that you will always be among us. Bless you dearest Natalie. There are not enough good people like you in this world and you made this world a better place for existing in it.

GO FROGS FOREVER. (TCU – we are both huge fans)

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/natalie-scarberry-obituary?pid=192267253

http://www.sacredtouches.com RIP Natalie Scarberry

Something her daughter wrote after she passed; https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/119695645/posts/20618

A beautiful in memorium to Natalie from another WP writer https://planetdreamdiaries.wordpress.com/2019/04/08/heart-of-natalie/

And another beautiful tribute to our friend of colors https://wp.me/p8LpnW-4nF

In the witness of wonder

lindsay-kemp-moving

Lindsay Kemp died

And with him

A torn piece of time

From the quilt of

Those rare beings who are irreplaceable

I wonder at, the length of a life

Seeing some eek out forever

Living fossils unable to pass

Whilst others seem more

Moth to flame

Their brightest extraordinary

The arc to eventual dim

Inevitable

We all perish

But some burn so bright when alive

Even in death they ecclipse

Ordinary forms

It is those extraordinary beings

We cleave to and covet

For in our own search for meaning

They fulfill the dark spaces of our need

Like arrows pointing to starlight

We dance when they come into our orbit

With the flow of children

In the witness of wonder

Lyndsey Kemp died

Images in my mind whirl

Of a young Kate Bush dancing

My own outstretched hands in ballet theater

As he strode poised and strong backed across stage

Like he owned and bequeathed

All the oxygen in the house

And indeed he did

Indeed he did

(For Tim)

All they saw

All they saw were moments left by those who came before

Not knowing what they meant or who they were

Lain in their waterpainted graves like matryoshka dolls

Did they grieve like us, whetting their knives on totems?

To understand those things that cannot be understood

A child breathing her last, in dimmed swaddling

The ache of old age, enveloping once limber athlete

Love crumpled like fallen leaves, forgotten beneath

Did they yearn to be special? Noticed? Relevant?

Or glide invisibly through spun sheets of glass

Like early morning bakers rising their bread

Grown stale by afternoon, becoming food for birds

Such circles clasped in ever decreasing circles

Worn as sea pearls on mermaids smooth throats

Were they kind? Merciful? Fearful? Incomplete?

The sight of tilled soil and ruined land cleared of living green

Did it bury the same arrow in their quincing conscience?

Will time gently lay a wreath of forgetfulness?

Over their efforts as if never and not, their lives

Extinguished in a long roll of time and bundled up

To lie beside other oxidizing keepsakes and memories

Til the last person who remembered, was no more

So much existing, lost in favor of the clamoring now

All they saw were moments left by those who came before