Last week I got a message from a dear friend about her son's middle school football coach who at the age of 30 died suddenly. Her son is an incredible boy full of compassion and love and really intuitive. I knew how hard this was going to be for him.
This morning I watched the news story about how the boys played the last game of season for the coach and won, how the boys at half-time released balloons in the middle of the field and how immediately after winning the game the boys attended the funeral.
Today my motivation is my friend's son who is grieving, is the life that continues with pieces of those who have passed. Today I share a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye.
Making a Fist
We forget that we are all dead men conversing with dead men.
—Jorge Luis Borges
For the first time, on the road north of Tampico,
I felt the life sliding out of me,
a drum in the desert, harder and harder to hear.
I was seven, I lay in the car
watching palm trees swirl a sickening pattern past the glass.
My stomach was a melon split wide inside my skin.
“How do you know if you are going to die?”
I begged my mother.
We had been traveling for days.
With strange confidence she answered,
“When you can no longer make a fist.”
Years later I smile to think of that journey,
the borders we must cross separately,
stamped with our unanswerable woes.
I who did not die, who am still living,
still lying in the backseat behind all my questions,
clenching and opening one small hand.
Naomi Shihab Nye, “Making a Fist” from Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab American Poetry. Copyright © 1988 by University of Utah Press.