Gathering for Richard Powers

We joined together, this community in grief, each here with their own experiences, our own stories of his life, and how we each had changed and grown, because of him.

Laughter, stories, a few jokes, food, and remembrance, on this bright spring day, his birthday, even. Tears, of grief, and also joy in a good story, as we came together, and remembered all the good he brought to each of us, each in our own way, special, even sacred.

In his leaving, I have been the more diligent in my writing, my musing, my walks into the mists of this corner of the universe, into the deep parts of my soul which need to speak their voice, to be a teller of stories.

“Deeper,” I hear him say still, “go deeper, and bring it out.” Is it his voice, or the voices of angels and muses and the spirits of this place, and this time, or my own soul, who is it I hear?

That question may be important, but the answer is not. Yet, in his passing, that is what the muses are chanting, as I walk in the pre-dawn half light, on the edge of the worlds of my existence, looking for meaning, deep in my wounds of his death.

“Grief is a house
where the chairs
have forgotten how to hold us
the mirrors how to reflect us
the walls how to contain us.

“Grief is a house that disappears
each time someone knocks at the door
or rings the bell
a house that blows into the air
at the slightest gust
that buries itself deep in the ground
while everyone is sleeping.

“Grief is a house where no on can protect you
where the younger sister
will grow older than the older one
where the doors
no longer let you in
or out.”
― Jandy Nelson, The Sky is Everywhere

We gather, in memoriam, and then, when the best of the stories and the funniest of the jokes, and the most bittersweet of songs have been sung, we leave, to go our separate ways, to find that quiet corner and think again of who he was and who he is to us. Yet, in our parting, we are together, each in our own shard of experience of life with him, and his many gifts to each of us.

—Neal Lemery, 4/13/2014