What is home? People? Place? Memory? Do we actually adapt? Maybe the real question is What is loss? What is identity? How is our own individual identity connected with those whom we have lost ? I cannot articulate how deeply I miss my people that are gone. My brother Richard, my stepson, Scott, my friend and patron, Alice Bloom, my friend and mentor, Ivan Kats, and his troubled yet remarkable son, Tuckerman Kats, my father-in-law Ernest Pighills….gone; past, leaving nothing but unreliable memories of intimacies and connectedness that seem to be as transitory as the ashes that we throw into the garden. I don’t like to feel this sense of mortality and futility but I do and it crushes me.
I can’t call my dead brother Richard and talk politics and film and nonsense and see his face as the sound of his voice made clear. Nor can I knock on Ivan Kats’ door, and be welcomed in with a glass of wine and witticism or a reading of Frederico Garcia Lorca- or a review of last night’s Longwharf Theater presentation.
I can think of Scott Pighills, his sweet, considerate nature and his gentlemanilness and remember (bitterly) the exceedingly brief time I had to share in his life but I cannot learn more about his interests and passions and disappointments and aspirations as a 21 year old.
Similarly, as much as I would like, I cannot speak with Ernest Pighills, my father-in-law, and try to understand what made him tick and what his opinions were on raising his sons.
Painfully, sadly, I can re-live the precious moments that I shared in the company of Alice Bloom, a Chaucer scholar, but so much more, embraced in her warm and sassy style of erudition, enthusiasm, criticism and inspiration and I know in my heart that she, more than anyone, understood my work and encouraged it and embraced it, but I cannot talk with her; a loss that defies articulation.
Thoughts of these people who have had such a profound impact on my life are the things that keep me questioning the direction I move in. May the gods bless them all and may we find our own way through the thickets.