Conversation Launch, 2015

Loss is a four-letter word that I am not accustomed to using.
I’ve tried it on for size before, but it only pertained to weight or video games, phones or keys.

Once in fourth grade I lost my dog, but he came back.
Thankfully before the school bus came to pick us up.
He was just as excited to see us, as he was to run away from us.

I always imagined that when people left the earth for good,
it was because of age or something in their body that wouldn’t let go.
If this were a contest, I would say that the second one is far worse than the first. Sudden and tragic, or long and heartbreaking.

But it is not a contest. Darkness—as it pertains to death—is irreversible and happens to all of us.

I believe that small moments of joy exist in these times of darkness, in these times of loss. I don’t recognize them at first, but they wiggle their way in and I am so grateful.

In January, I almost died off the coast of Malaysia. The boat went down. We were two miles out from shore, with no life jackets.

The water was dark and heavy and cold. And the night sky was overwhelming. But I can clearly remember looking up and seeing thousands of stars. The moon was huge.

I kept telling myself to focus on the light.

In Egyptian mythology, the creation of the world and the universe came out of darkness and chaos. Once there was nothing but endless dark water without form or purpose. Boats were one of the most important forms of transport and the divine realm was thought of as a watery region, high above the earth; rivers, islands, and marshes.

In March, my lifetime friend-turned partner died. I wasn’t quite sure what to do.

I’m not a cryer, but I was doing an awful lot of crying.
I’m also not much of a sleeper, but I was doing an awful lot of sleeping.

All of these 41 years, I had taken advantage of my good fortune. Turns out, I had never really lost anything until now.

During our time together, he spoke endlessly of wanting to build us a boat. Just for the two of us. Tonight I am sending a boat to him, allowing for his spirit to set sail. The rockets were a signal to him. To watch this piece. To show him that he is being celebrated.

You can not compare pain: my pain, the pain of his parents, that of his sons, or of his friends. But it only takes a very small amount of joy and light for change to occur.

Have you seen how seedlings can break free through cracks in a sidewalk? Joy can be found in these all-encompassing and tiring moments of darkness.

Perspectives shift. Friends emerge. Patience and empathy grows.

A parade, costuming, singing, poetry, a rocket launch, fire, cardboard, glow sticks

Participants included MICA graduate school community: Joke, Jason, Angeliq, Jean, Mara, Tori, Patti, Ashley, Suzi, Susie, Howard, Renee, Ume, Sarah C., Sarah E., Damon, and David.