Monday, December 10, 2007

130 letters: back to you

We have the most amazing party yesterday evening. The official occasion was to celebrate my 55th birthday, and it did that in grand style. But really, the point was to celebrate the fact that we're alive, hear to celebrate. It seems like a million people turned out -- from UT , from the accessibility community, from family and friends, and from BodyChoir. sometime during the afternoon the temperature change from winter heat -- in the eighties
- to bitter cold, at least for Austin: in less than an hour the temperature dropped 30 or 40 °, where it has stayed since. No matter: people seem to have a great time: and I know that Anna and I did. I felt so warmed by love -- so many people, so many smiles, so many hugs and kisses -- it was just great.

Anna and I each wrote a poem to mark the occasion. This is Anna's: short, brimming with emotion, some stunning images .

I imagine you
What to do, what to bring
To John, to heal
Your sweet friend.
What can I say, you say? What foods can he eat, and will he want
Which recipe for brownies, homemade cobblers, soy vanilla
Baked fish and baked potatoes brought in ceramic
Gourmet dinners for four cooked and brought and shared in hospital rooms
in a With so much love.
What tenderness, your help with Dillon, And
Staying with John when he was weak, when he was laughing, during all of the indignities—
You were EEGs. Over and over.
You made
Special CD mix-Elixers—Songs so sweet and tender---We cried. A lot—And still do—
I think the tears flow more with your sweet, home-crafted
Messages, these tears of joy and connection we never though possible, than from the fears of illness. It’s quite a

If your gifts were blood transfusions, John’s hemoglobin would be sky high forever and blood banks would not need donors. If your gifts were prescription capsules, they would fill a thousand pharmacies.
Your love has been an infusion.
Both of us are changed forever. Let this beautiful
Healing continue and come back to you—So you know that every sweet thought and sweet act was felt by both of us and you can see John here tonight-- fun and fine and loving to celebrate with you.

Love, Anna

And this is me:

It's hard to believe that so much love lived and still lives
in these letters: we asked
you to send us a hundred and 30 letters, saying anything
at all, so we'd have something to open while we were in hospital. We never for a moment dreamt what we would get: letters sent,
letters hand-delivered,
CDs, cities in boxes like so many Joseph Cornell sculptures,
cards, stories, thoughts,
anecdotes from years ago and far away, all magic all the
time, from people
I've met recently, people I’ve known what seems like
for ever-- at least since graduate school, even a few
well before that. You probably didn't know
or maybe some of you did, what those letters, opened one, or two, sometimes three or four at a time, would and could do
for us. We're under no illusion that we can ever repay that.

But we can acknowledge what you gave us,
what you give us every moment still:
your hearts, our hearts, all aflutter , all
beating, beating, beating strong:
waiting with us each day for doctors to come
and give us the news, whether or not there was news
to give, whether or not they were the same doctors as yesterday. People came and visited, came and went, and each day we opened one or two or three or sometimes four
envelopes, numbered envelopes, brightly colored,
some having arrived by mail, some
that Diane put there after the fact
so we wouldn't be able to tell where they were from. That was a year and a half ago. Sometimes it seems like hard...

I forget where I was. Not that it really matters. In the middle of the night I got to know some of the techs.
They came, they said, to take my vitals,
as if I were Prometheus and they were vultures, or Eagles, or harpies, or
med techs, which is what they were -- mostly women of color, about my age though they seemed much older, working in the middle
of the night. They were my friends.
Mornings, the doctors came.
And always there was Anna, always always Anna, always my warrior-fairy, my love,
my queen. And now she lies on the floor with Dillon the dog,
and she is awake and laughing, with the fire in the fireplace
after a day of taking me from doctor to doctor. This is now, and that was then: there are still letters
to open.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Party invite y'all come!

Speaking of Anna being in her element, he or she is again, inviting you to yet another party! Yankee! I know some of you live in in other towns, reason you can't come! Here's Anna

Pastes edit menuPlease join us to celebrate John's 55th birthday on Sunday, December 9th at 6pm at Cantina Laredo at 201 West 3rd, corner of Colorado and 3rd. (A few dollars
toward drinks gratefully accepted.)   If you'd like to bring a toast, poem, or message for John, we'd love to hear it!!!! 

Just let me know how many in your household are coming; we'll need a somewhat accurate headcount: This is dinner.). John will be inviting others as well. 

Love, Anna