Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Jackson Browne "For A Dancer" and My Goodbyes to Joe and Geri
For a Dancer
Keep a fire burning in your eyes, Pay attention to the open skies: You never know what will be coming down. I don't remember losing track of you, You were always dancing in and out of view. I must have thought you'd always be around, Always keeping things real by playing the clown. Now you're nowhere to be found.
I don't know what happens when people die; Can't seem to grasp it as hard as I try. It's like a song I can hear playing right in my ear: Though I can't sing, I can't help listening.
And I can't help feeling stupid standing 'round, Crying as they ease you down, 'cause i know that you'd rather be here dancing, Dancing all the sorrow away, (Keep right on dancing) No matter what fate chooses to play. There's nothing you can do about it anyway.
Just do the steps that you've been shown By everyone you've ever known Until the dance becomes your very own. No matter how close to yours Another's steps have grown In the end there is one dance you'll do alone.
Keep a fire for the human race. Let your prayers go drifting into space: You never know what will be coming down. Perhaps a better world is drawing near, And just as easily it could all disappear Along with whatever meaning you might have found. Don't let the uncertainty turn you around. (the world keeps turning around and around) Go on and make a joyful sound.
Into a dancer you have grown, From a seed somebody else has thrown. Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own, And somewhere between the time you arrive And the time you go, May lie a reason you were alive, But you'll never know.
This is a very personal post, but made to honor two lives lost in July 2011. The above song lyrics to "For a Dancer" by Jackson Browne, were printed on the funeral card and the song was played at the end of yesterday's funeral for my friend, Geri Alfinito, 47, wife, mother of four. It was by far one of the saddest, yet most poignant moments I have ever experienced, listening to this song for a final goodbye to her. I realize now how Natalie's birth family especially must have felt when "Midnight in Moscow" played on a balalaiku at Natalie's funeral. These type of personalized touches when saying goodbye to a dear one are what makes a world of difference in connecting with the reality of the loss, the reality and essence of the person leaving us.
We make memories with friends and family that follow us through life. I'm so sorry I hadn't seen Geri in several years, but it made it no easier to say goodbye to her. It's the memories that bring the tears, and the tears that bring depth to those who carry on. We all lose dear friends and loved ones along the way, and each loss is a reminder of our own mortality.
July 2011 has been a month I wish I could erase from my personal calendar. The month had started off with a terrible accident Bob experienced -- a puncture wound that almost became fatal due to internal bleeding, but thank goodness he made it to the hospital in time, and I am happy to report he is doing fine, recuperating from a surgical incision. Never underestimate the danger of a puncture wound, no matter how superficial it may appear. Bob's wound was something he was going to ignore. It looked like a tiny scratch on his stomach, but it was so much more. Had I not talked him into going to the hospital for a tetanus shot, he may not have survived.
A week later, my daughter-in-law suffered a terrible tragedy in her family. Her brother, Joe Wells, 30, of Illinois, suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head. A young woman (who had been drinking) had coaxed her husband into teaching her to shoot his gun. They went to the backyard and she aimed at a tree. The bullet missed the tree but traveled 100 yards through the window of Joe's apartment and hit him in the head and killed him. He was buried on July 15th. Gun control is an issue I firmly stand behind, now more than ever.
Yes, some people become legends and others may be remembered mostly through family and friends, but each life holds purpose and meaning, and each good life holds value. Every good person, like Geri and Joe, affects another, thus contributing decency and value to the entire human race. Yes, we are all our own "dancers" and as we try to right wrongs, or to make our stands and be heard, I think it's important to do our best to base our attempts on honesty, for without honesty, every foundation crumbles.
Joe Wells and Geri Alfinito, may you rest in peace. Like many, you were too young to leave. You are both part of legends of decency and honesty. There does lie a reason you were here. A good reason.