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Independence Day, we celebrated my baby brother's 30th, a day late.

That morning, for the first time, I realized it was our first family gathering without Dad.

It was a low-key gathering as usual. Mom had some printouts of short articles about coping with grief. I read through most of them, didn't recognize much of my own reactions in them.

Though Anita points out I've become more combative about things I care about. Can't really deny that.

My father's ashes are in a simple yet elegant black box on a shelf in his office. My brother set out a small array of family photos in front of it, and Dad's glasses are perched atop the box lid. It's kind of charming, almost a little comical.

Today at work the news breaks that Cy Twombly has died. Mr. Twombly was an artist renowned the world over, who was born in and lived at least part of every year in nearby Lexington. This is a job for the arts reporter.

At first I'm not optimistic I'll pull much together — throughout his entire life Twombly avoided us reporters like the plague we are, and those around him always respected his wishes — but as it turns out, now that he's gone, his friends were more than happy to talk at last about this man they knew, and I learn that, media-phobia aside, Twombly was an admirable, likable, generous and charming fellow.

And as I'm transcribing from my notes his personal assistant's blunt and moving statement about his own mourning, I feel tears coming on, and for a little while, I have to stop typing.


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On July 6th, 2011 03:07 am (UTC), readingthedark commented:
I don't put much stock in the traditional five stages of grief as stages. I think the process of grieving does have all the commonly described elements, but they're actually blurred and overlapping and one aspect can settle down before other parts catch up. Moreover, there will always be gaping holes where certain people were and nothing ever fully fills that emptiness. Sure, we learn to endure in some way or another and I'm an advocate of trying to pick through every subtle nuance of individual emotions, layer by layer--but we all experience losses that we'll never quite get over, at least in my eyes. To me, it's the nature of mortality and being human, two things that we won't escape until it's too late to be enlightened.

And on a cheerier note, I hope to at least manage to hug you in the hallway at ReaderCon!
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On July 6th, 2011 03:08 am (UTC), time_shark replied:
Thanks, Geoffrey.
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On July 6th, 2011 03:49 am (UTC), sovay commented:
My father's ashes are in a simple yet elegant black box on a shelf in his office. My brother set out a small array of family photos in front of it, and Dad's glasses are perched atop the box lid. It's kind of charming, almost a little comical.

That is a small story itself.

Today at work the news breaks that Cy Twombly has died.

There is a very lovely appreciation of him in the Guardian.

Be well.
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On July 6th, 2011 08:10 am (UTC), time_shark replied:
Hee! I see they say he exiled himself from the U.S. — that's a result of his media blackout. The fact is he kept a home in Virginia and spent at least four months a year there.

http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/292046
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On July 6th, 2011 04:03 am (UTC), samhenderson commented:
"My father's ashes are in a simple yet elegant black box on a shelf in his office. My brother set out a small array of family photos in front of it, and Dad's glasses are perched atop the box lid. It's kind of charming, almost a little comical."

This lovely; I would like to be remembered like that. And I'm very sorry for your father's passing; I don't think I said that before.
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On July 6th, 2011 02:33 pm (UTC), madwriter replied:
>>I would like to be remembered like that.<<

The older I get, the more I hope for the same thing. Heck, even with writing--I get less and less interested in making a living at it as I hope that what I write will stick around for a long time after I'm gone.

And Mike, good thoughts heading your way.

Edited at 2011-07-06 02:34 pm (UTC)
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On July 6th, 2011 09:37 am (UTC), tithenai commented:
*hugs*
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On July 6th, 2011 12:28 pm (UTC), csmaccath commented:
Though Anita points out I've become more combative about things I care about. Can't really deny that.

When I'm struggling with my own rough edges, I try to remember they arise from a place in me in need of compassion. So if I may offer a bit of advice, be compassionate with yourself. And besides, combative is all right from time to time no matter what else is going on. I value people who fight for the things they care about.
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On July 6th, 2011 01:07 pm (UTC), snowy_owlet commented:
I've had some very helpful grieving moments when I've been set off over something tangential: a friend's loss, a bit of news, or even a movie. I think it lets one allow oneself to have that flood and not try to hold it back.

There's a Cy Twombly gallery here in Houston, in our loveliest museum.
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On July 6th, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC), rattrap commented:
Though Anita points out I've become more combative about things I care about. Can't really deny that.

I've found that as I age, I worry less about the petty and throw my energies into things more worth my attention. Focus or just conservation of energy? For myself, I'm not sure.

My father's ashes are in a simple yet elegant black box on a shelf in his office. My brother set out a small array of family photos in front of it, and Dad's glasses are perched atop the box lid. It's kind of charming, almost a little comical.

How wonderfully fitting, to be interred in a place that meant so much to him in life, surrounded by pleasant memories. How much better it must be than a multi-thousand dollar chunk of cold stone in a field that everyone avoids as much as possible. Maybe, if I'm lucky, someone will memorialize me that way.

And as I'm transcribing from my notes his personal assistant's blunt and moving statement about his own mourning, I feel tears coming on, and for a little while, I have to stop typing.

Grieve as you see fit. It's a personal experience for each of us.
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