Friday, September 3, 2010

A Letter to Lucious

To my dear, dear, dear Lucious,
(I hope. Your mother and I have yet to settle on a name)

The day you were born was the day I died.

Sorry for the density of that statement but I find in difficult situations it is best to avoid the roundabout. Your mother will tell you that levity was never my strong suit. I would tell you that reticence was never hers. They will both be yours.

The reason for this letter is quite simple; it’s the symbolic changing of guards, the circle that is life, la note finale. It’s your compass in a world that can often be dark. Look to this letter for answers in those tough times that strike us all.

I want to tell you that your life had nothing to do with my death, to really reassure you of this so it never plagues you like I think it may if you’re anything like me. But how do I know for sure? Can anyone that doesn’t know the reason for life be sure of the reason for death? Be consoled in this though, it reveals the uncertainty that is life and guarantees there is no algorithm.

As for my cessation, should you ever feel guilt, take comfort in the fact that if there is a higher power, and we are made in his image, perhaps he was distracted. Do not blame though, to be distracted is the nature of man. Is it possible HE looked away for a second and there was a momentary rift in order? Like a typo in a report you hand in to the head of your company, maybe it was merely overlooked. One letter discounted in a document of words. To the higher power, one life’s tragic demise is that error you omit in a sea of pages expressing a larger thought. Will anybody really miss the letter “A” that should have been in the 11th sentence of the third paragraph on the 13th page?

“There are no findings proving thus, nor do his actions communicate that further visits with a psychologist would be beneficial.”


“There are no findings proving thus, nor do his actions communicate that further visits with psychologist would be beneficial.”

I am sorry to bore you with the example, though it is an example taken from a report of your dearest departed’s, and I use it to prove to you that to err is human. True, it is hard to notice the difference, and as humans we tend to overlook these fine details. Maybe it’s the same for him, just a slip up on a canvas already containing too much color? Yaweh himself could have been watching over us as your mother went into labor, but struck with the curiosity only a creator could have for a “createe,” he got sidetracked. Perhaps two other men on a street in a city far below got into an altercation and used their steel-toed boots to launch their feet into each other’s reproductive organs. “That’s not what they’re for!” He’d surely want to shout. But that is what humanity sometimes is about son- we take for granted the gifts we were given and often feel like we got a raw deal or a kick in the genitals. Heed this warning and learn from it: there are no raw deals only raw men who don’t know how to deal.

Alternatively, maybe the MAN stumbled across a documentary about the human discovery of his only sons bones, and his mind reeled off on a philosophical tangent wondering just whose bones they really found. Am I missing a bone? He’d wonder later, a thought that’d stick with him for days, as he’d rub his ribs. But ultimately he would realize he didn’t have a son and he wasn’t made of bones (spoiler alert). One small glance away from the tiny burdens of love below and the grand scheme turns into anarchic mis-happenings.

You should know I would never blame you or anyone for my demise. And if others read this letter and for some reason these golden truths and theories are misunderstood, I want to be clear. I don’t mean demise in the sense of saying goodbye to the old me. Something like- a soon to be father says farewell to his partying, capricious, selfish ways and hello to the joys and responsibility of fatherhood. No I don’t mean this metaphorical paternal rebirth. I mean demise in the sense of saying goodbye to the only me; the end of physical life. A “swift, cold death” is what the doctors inform me I shall endure. Apparently the hospital where you were born, and where I will die, is not fond of levity either. Never be a doctor, Lucious.

I guess what I want to say is please try not to feel culpable. If there was only room for either you or me in this world then I’m glad for this glorious happening. And in times when you are down and your mother, or your grandparents, or your cousins, or my bowling partner from church tell you stories of me and shed tears that make you regret not knowing me, I want you to really think. If I am gone, and you are here, and there was only room for one of us in this world then surely no mistake was made. Get to know these people. Ted will show you how to throw a hook ball down the lane, and will inevitably admit you bowl like your old man….that is to say not well. You’re grandparents will tell you of my first encounter at the zoo, where I nearly lost my three year old finger up an enraged llama’s viscous nostril. And your mother will surely recount my last words over and over again to you hoping they weigh upon you both as the thought of soon saying them weighs upon me. Laugh with these cherished few; they will love you unconditionally and protect you always.

Forgive the long-winded nature of this letter, it’s the only time we have. Forgive the stains of tears that litter it with punctuation that will surely fade to yellow as this letter sets and waits for you to get on in years and interpret and analyze these last thoughts. The running trails of ink let you know I was a man of flesh and blood that felt for you and took the time to give you a piece of me. As I lay here in a hospital bed staring into your tiny squinty eyes, I notice they are a beautiful sea foam green just like my own. Your face tells me you were ready to be born, and your smile reveals a world of happiness and miracles are waiting. But my heart hurts, it hurts for you and it hurts for the physical ailment that will surely end me. As your breathing gets stronger mine gets shallower, as if we are synced in unison. “Stop writing,” the doctors say, “Get on with your final goodbyes.” Again, how crude, how daft, how frigid and uncaring; never be a doctor dear Lucious.

There is more to recount and more to relay, but time is short as is life. I hope these anecdotes, thoughts, and feelings give you a sense of me. I have already seen your future and it is a splendid one. All the clich├ęs in the world could not express my love. On my way out as you’re on your way in, embrace it all.

A life of Love,
Emmet Whitmore


1 comment:

scott said...

Dear 655321:

I'm impressed. Really. I laughed. i cried. I mostly scratched my bald pate. I used a dictionary when necessary. Ultimately, I smiled.

Thank you,