No other word will do. For that's what it was.
Gravy, these past ten years.
Alive, sober, working, loving, and
being loved by a good woman. Eleven years
ago he was told he had six months to live
at the rate he was going. And he was going
nowhere but down. So he changed his ways
somehow. He quit drinking! And the rest?
After that it was all gravy, every minute
of it, up to and including when he was told about,
well, some things that were breaking down and
building up inside his head. "Don't weep for me,"
he said to his friends. "I'm a lucky man.
I've had ten years longer than I or anyone
expected. Pure Gravy. And don't forget it."
Bob Shacochis read this poem at the memorial service for Liam Rector on Saturday. It was a poem Tree, his wife, gave him early on, a poem Liam came back to years later after he'd beat cancer, heart disease. It seemed so poignant at the service. So many people came and mourned or at least paid their respects. I had friends there; I saw people I loved there. At least that--even in grief, we had to acknowledge that he brought us together again.
The following is a poem from Poetry Daily. It's appropriate here, too:
There Was No Farewell
We did not weep
when we were leaving—
for we had neither
time nor tears,
and there was no farewell.
We did not know
at the moment of parting
that it was a parting,
so where would our weeping
have come from?
We did not stay
awake all night
(and did not doze)
the night of our leaving.
That night we had
neither night nor light,
and no moon rose.
That night we lost our star,
our lamp misled us;
we didn't receive our share
would wakefulness have come from?
--Taha Muhammad Ali
tr. Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi, Gabriel Levin