Three years ago today, I’d driven Shabda to the airport for a flight to India, and stopped in San Francisco to have lunch with Ammon. I bought a Hello Kitty watch while waiting for him, and remember regretting I hadn’t seen Solomon since Christmas. Solomon and his fiancé Nicole had arrived in Bangkok where he was being hosted as an Internetional DJ.
Solomon and Ryan beautiful tune! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXOOhmtDSkY
My family 2012. Our lives were about to change in deep and painful ways. Today, I am aware of the countdown to sometime late tonight, when 3 years ago, Solomon was killed in a car crash on a bridge in Bangkok. I look out my window at the Pacific ocean off the coast of Costa Rica and see two yellow-orange butterflies dancing in the trees where the Howler Monkeys were playing yesterday. I think of Matthew Dickman’s beautiful poem called “Grief.”
When grief comes to you as a purple gorilla/ you must count yourself lucky./ You must offer her what’s left/ of your dinner, the book you were trying to finish/ you must put aside / and make her a place to sit at the foot of your bed,… She has been here before/and now
I can recognize her gait/
as she approaches the house…<>
In the poem, she takes you in her arms and talks about the dead and those, like me, who are among the living.
I catch glimpses of Solomon today with his wonderful smile, the way he used to touch his nose with the tip of his tongue. His slow, comfortable-with-himself walk into the kitchen when he would visit us, after laying his cell phone and keys on the place at the top of the stairway. Now my warm hug is from the purple gorilla.
So much has happened, Solomon, in these 3 years! You have a niece named Maeve you never met. She was 4 months from birth when you left us. Now she’s going on three. Oona, your other niece, asked me about you the other day, when she saw a picture in my office. I showed her a picture of you carrying her on your shoulders on our last Christmas together. You should see the Bay Bridge! And the Golden State Warriors! Number ONE in the NBA. They are 36 wins/ 7 loses!!! You would have really loved Pharrell Williams’ Happy, and most of the stuff on his album, Girl.
The other day I drove to the East Bay and listened to your favorite music. One after the other, the songs arranged themselves from hundreds on my I-phone I just called to say I love you …..by Stevie Wonder, Celebrate by Kool & the Gang, the band you opened for opened for at the San Francisco Black + White Ball probably in 2011.<> On a painful note, your friend, Jason Rezaian, has been imprisoned in Iran since July 22. Nothing so far has gained his release. Any strings you could pull from the other side would be appreciated.
I still remember your words that came to me soon after your death. Take me with you, Mom, in all that you do. I think of that when I’m on a curvy road — your love of driving— when I play the djembe drum, and when I give a talk, like I did at the Asian Art Museum a couple weeks ago — I remember how you held the space for people to have a good time. Miss you, Baby, and love you — forever and ever!