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How little we know the treasures we hold

By       Message Philip Greene     Permalink    (# of views)   3 comments

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Abraham Lincoln said "I do not control events.  Events control me."  And so it is with nearly all of us.

I had planned to sit here tonight and write an essay on the American worker and the current state that surrounds them -- and to explain my thoughts on how it is a situation that is more complex than I would like it to be.

But a phone call earlier this evening changed all that and now, after some hours of contemplation, and another hour of letting the product of that contemplation spill out onto the electronic page, I find myself preparing to post something that, otherwise, I would never consider doing.

Why I am doing it, I can't really explain, other than to say that I somehow wish it to maybe give someone else comfort.

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Writing that sounds trite and superficial, but how else can it be expressed?

With my most sincere apoligies, I hope you dn't mind.


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It’s one of those things

Plans made, best intentions

We’ll get together soon, promise.

We’ll take that canoe trip we’ve been planning;

You can show me the hiking trails

            That you’ve told me about.

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Plans made, best intentions

            Gone to waste now

            Because a tree came down.

I imagine it, ancient – majestic –

            The kind we would have

            Pointed out and admired;

            Maybe photographed – you better than I.


I hope only that it was quick.

I see you there, in the car,

Trying to stop, trying to swerve.

            But maybe you didn’t have time.

            Maybe it happened before you could react

            And you knew nothing about it.

I hope it was like that.


And then, suddenly, all those plans

            All the intentions

                        Don’t matter.  They’ll

                                    Simply sit on a shelf

                                                Inside my mind, like books

I’ve meant to read

            But never got round to it.


We had – oh what a cliché! –

            A special sort of thing, you know.

A love that wasn’t “Love”

A relationship that was loose

            And casual


            I think is the word I want.


We never would – could – have been

            A “couple”

Oh god!  That would have been terrible!

But we never could have been completely

            Apart from each other.

Brother and Sister?

Best friends?

Soul mates?

            (I really hate that term, you know)

            It doesn’t matter.

To put a title to it would

            Be to ruin it.


But I remember your wedding day

            How happy you were

            And how happy I was that you were happy.

He was just the right man for you,

And you proved that by loving him

And letting him love you.


After that, you moved away

            To be with him

And we didn’t see so much of each other.

I still thought of you often,

            And I know you thought of me as well.

But our lives traveled different paths.


You with family –

            Two children that were the

            Soul of your life

            And a husband who

            Meant more to you than everything put together.


I with my studies –

            Head buried in a book, as always

And my little distractions.

Funny how they can become so

            Dominant over us

            And keep us from the important things.


But I felt myself there in your heart

And hope you felt yourself in mine

            Because you were always there.


Part of me wants to grieve;

            To cry or something

            To try to show that I’m sorry

            You’re gone.

And I feel guilty that, when I try,

            It feels fake and contrived.


Are you angry with me for that?


You see, every time I feel

            That lump in my throat

            Or that quiver in my lips

            Or the tear welling in my eye,

I think about the times we had

                        Oh!  Marvelous times!


I think about the adventures –

Time we thought we were going to die together

            Or, well, at least be banged up a bit.

And times that we laughed ourselves into convulsions

            Over some stupid trivia that hardly mattered.


Or the times when we would notice

            That the other was “not quite right”

            And would ask “what’s wrong?”

Knowing that there would be no reply.

And then we’d wait . . .

            We knew the answer would come eventually.

And we would give each other our souls

            To hold and comfort and

                        Bring back into the light.


And the times when we were angry!

Your temper was a match for my own

            And when they flared,

            How the others would run!

                        Literally run!

It was at those times when we found it hard to stay angry

            And not laugh at them.

But we always knew that it was our tempers

            And not our hearts

            That were fighting.


Even then . . . even then

There were no better times, ever.

And that’s why my grief is only shallow

            And momentary.


How can I grieve when I have had such a treasure as you?

How can I be sorry that you have been in my life?

For to mourn your loss

            Would be to deny your presence.

It would be ungrateful to ignore

            The very special ness that I was

            Privileged to have.


I will miss those things we said we’d do –

            The plans made and the best intentions.

But you gave existence life

            And filled that life with jewels

                        Of memories and

                                    And your being there.


How can I turn my back on that

            By filling my heart with sorrow?


Do I wish you were still here

            To do all those things?

Of course, I do.


But the part of you that is you

            And the part of you that you gave to me

Is here, and is me.

Thank you says nothing.

            “I love you” needn’t be said.

                        “I miss you” is senseless and obvious.


So go, now, to wherever you must go.

And take with you my love,

            For I will love no one as I love you.

But leave with me that part

            You gave me all those years ago;

            And that you’ve let me keep,

                        Safely tucked away

                        Where only we knew to look

            And that always made me know

                        You were near.


Do that,

            And there will be no need

                        For tears.   


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For 12 years, as a professional journalist, I covered education, environmental legislation, criminal courts, and politics. Throughout my career, I described myself as from the "Dragnet School of journalism -- Just the facts, ma'am, just the (more...)

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