Thursday, June 16, 2011

Here is today's latest travesty: an interview with a father who claims, among other appalling things, that his son was just "horsing around" when he threatened to disembowel his wife. As far as I can tell, there is not a single word in that article about the grief of losing his own grandchildren, grief for a woman they'd known since babyhood, grief for the damage caused by a son they loved but who did irreparable wrong. I want to care about everyone in this tragedy, but statements like these make it nigh on impossible to avoid the assumption that Steven's troubles were at the very least exacerbated by the attitudes of his father.

I got a call yesterday from the pastor who will be leading the funeral service. I had already spoken to Linda and had offered to sing or play the violin or read a passage from the Bible or do whatever she might need. If she didn't need any of it, that was fine; that was good. All I want is to do is do anything she wants from me. And what she told the pastor is that I have free rein to speak or sing or play. She specifically said, "Maybe she'll read a poem."

Whether Linda knows it or not, that is a huge trust. This will be a conservative Baptist funeral, with hundreds of mourners as well as a large press presence. My friend gave me free rein to do anything in front of this group, anything at all. But every time I tried to choose something to read, all I could think of was Othello. Or Macbeth.

All my pretty ones?
Did you say all? O hell-kite! All?
What! all my pretty chickens and their dam
At one fell swoop?

In other words, I found that I could not read anything that would offer any comfort. So I'll be playing "Amazing Grace" on the violin.

Music, we can absorb as we will, wordless. Poetry is too cruel.


Gregory Harrison said...

I'm so sorry to hear about this tragic situation. I send my condolences and sympathy.

Maureen said...

This is all so heart-breaking. I can't imagine the added stress of press everywhere.

May peace be with you.

Julia Munroe Martin said...

I think you're right that music will be the most comforting -- if that's a word that can even be used in connection with this horrific tragedy. I hope this helps bring a little closure and peace to you. Seems so inadequate... but hugs to you and Linda.