Personally my best creativity occurs during times of intense emotion--grief being a very intense emotion brings out my desire to write.
My name is Doug fisher and I have a story.
Now, I know we all have stories;
however, this is my story and I would like to tell it to you.
There will be no quiz at the end;
however, it would be nice if you could remember something of what I speak.
Know what I mean?
I want to tell you about my big sister.
My sister’s name was Joanne (like Pony with a J).
Joanne was fun.
She was always into having a good time.
Life should feel good.
I always wanted to do what Joanne was doing.
Now often times that meant being mischievous.
Which could get you into a lot of trouble!
And yes trouble always caught up with her.
Me? I hardly ever got caught.
I watched her closely and at the point where she got caught I cut left.
We had a complicated relationship.
I like to sum up a small part of it as follows:
Joanne taught me how to have fun,
I taught Joanne how not to get caught.
And yes it is true—we got drunk and danced on our parents tombstones.
That however is a different story and you should only know the half of it!
If Joanne were alive she would tell you that what I just said is not true.
In fact I usually got caught—however I got caught by Joanne.
Could not fool Joanne, she was barely one step ahead.
Getting caught by Joanne; technically that gave me a free pass.
After all we both had plenty of ammo we could tell mom and dad.
Marti the middle sister was well in the middle.
We won’t talk much about her at the moment.
After all this story is about Joanne.
Joanne being the eldest by several years allowed
Marti and I, being only little over a year apart, to be closer as young people.
The only reason your going to learn about me
Is because I am the one telling the story,
Does that make sense?
I loved your soft cheeks
I loved your hair
I loved that you smelled so delicious
I loved when I rubbed the back of your head
And told you that I loved you; that you smiled so beautifully
I loved the way that you always wanted to be included in everything
I loved the way that you always had a “better example of everything”
I loved the way you used to say “welcome to my life”
I loved the way you were so proud of me
I loved the way you were so proud of yourself when you made things go right
I loved that you had an opinion about everything
I loved that you always wanted to make yourself a better person
I loved your love of people
I loved that you had voraciousness for things
I loved that you had a relish for eating
I loved you for everything that you were
And everything you were not
You were my big sister
And I was your little brother
And that is that
I don’t want to uncover the mirrors today
I don’t need to look into my eyes to see my heart
I can feel my heart
I can feel that my heart has a Joanne sized hole in it
I can feel that my heart beats heavy and broken
I want to feel the break
I want to scream
I want to pound my fists on my chest, to keen, and to rock
Exhaustion will come and I will sleep
Healing will come and I will wake
Ashes to Ashes
Joanne is not going into the ground.
Well at least not in the traditional Jewish sense
In a few days we will hold a pile of ash, bits of bone, and perhaps some teeth.
Not really as morbid as you think.
Her essence is already in the air, floating on clouds, talking with the angels.
And I know when the grief fades back to life,
It will be a life with no new Joanne stories.
Then she will come to me.
She will whisper in my ear and tell me that it is ok
And that we shall meet again.
ASHES AND TREES
We are going to plant some of Joanne’s ashes under a tree. The tree will take the essence that was her and make it come alive again. We will plant a beautiful tree. It will be a metaphor of her life. It will grow slowly and strongly with age. It will bend in the wind. It will perfume the air every spring with beauty and grace. It will grow strong roots and bring delight to everyone who gets to know it. And some day it will bow its head and become the essence of something else.
We had gotten to Tolland the day after Joanne’s surgery.
I called the hospital and as I was speaking to Lisa she started to scream,
Something is wrong Uncle Doug.
There was chaos on the phone.
We hung up—I said to Susie we have to leave which we did; immediately
While on the road we learned that Joanne had died.
I spoke to Michael and said to him that I was going to stop at the hospital on the way to his house.
The ride home was a blur and I was numb the whole way there—I did not cry.
I had Susie call the hospital and ask them to please not move her body from the room. I did not want to see her in the morgue.
When we got to the hospital I went in alone—Susie waited in the car.
I was escorted into the room by two nuns who held my hand.
Her body was still warm and her skin was still so very soft, as if her soul were still there.
Then I started to scream, and wail, and curse, and collapse.
The nuns were helpful; however, I had finally after the long drive split wide open,
And I could not stop.
After an interminable length of time the nuns and two other hospital people had to take me out of the room.
My shoulders slumped to the ground—I had fractured.