Sunday, July 19, 2009

Monday Morning With Pablo

Pablo left these two dolls in my car. I brought them up to visit Pablo at his grave today. The rabbit (forgot his name) lived in my glove box. Pablo used to love jumping in the front seat to open the glove box, check on him, and slam the lid back down. This birthday present-bearing Scooby Doo was one of his back seat companions. Now, these guys are strapped into the passenger seat, next to me when I drive.

Pablo's new home is directly behind the Hollywood sign. Any time you see the sign on TV, in a movie, or driving across LA, remember that Pablo is directly behind it. Rich Holtzman and I rode up there a couple weeks before Pablo passed away. I looked down at the cemetery while we were climbing the steep road. I must have looked right at Pablo's future home on that day, without knowing the significance. If you look closely, you can see the white fence of the road angling up the mountain—just above Scoob's ear.

Sunday was the hardest day for me.

The hurt and the emptiness. The hurt. The emptiness. I negotiate with both. Try to see the light underneath, try to get behind the feeling, to see the hurt as a thing and not an all-encompassing fact. Try to surrender to the big empty, reasoning that struggling with it or attempting to understand it is where the hazy electric shock feeling comes from. Nothing works.

We had a small group of friends over Sunday for a barbecue. I smiled. I spoke. I cried. I made the smallest of small talk. With heaps of help from Jo Ann, Patricia, Julie and Peter, I cooked burgers on the grill. The smoke from the grill burned my eyes. The 95 degree LA air and the heat from the grill made me wonder, more pointedly than usual, why are we here?

In the early evening hours of Sunday, and the early morning hours today, I sat in front of a blank computer screen. I was stumped. I wanted to put words on the screen that would convey the particular color and shape of pain and confusion and sorrow I am in. For the first time since May 17 2008, my fingers did not move. I was scared. Being in this place I'm trying to describe is tough enough. Not having the words to describe it—an attempt to exorcise it—is a deeper level of the same hazy malaise.

The fact is, trying to describe this cocktail of pain and confusion and sorrow I am feeling is difficult. It's like trying to describe the characteristics of air while drowning. I am immersed in it. Seeing out of it is very, very difficult.

So I'm jumping off that train. I won't try to wrestle with the pain and confusion and sorrow in this way. I will just tell you where I am, what's going on in our lives, and what it's like. You know: news, weather and sports.

Here goes:

I wrote this while eating breakfast at 6:45 a.m.: I miss Pablo. We miss Pablo. He is here, with me, in our dining room. The sun is shining over the Silverlake hills. He is here. But his chair is empty.

I wrote this while sitting at Pablo's grave at 9:55 a.m: The spirit that came into our lives came in a physical package. That was the Pablo we saw running and jumping and laughing every day—his body. That was the husky voice that made us laugh and the twinkling eyes that looked back at us while we did it—his physical presence. But the spirit, or soul, or whatever we choose to call it in our respective belief systems—that was Pablo. And that spirit is no way entombed in the casket beneath this grass and flowers. Pablo's spirit is in no way caged in the cement and steel beneath this machine-tamped dirt. Pablo's spirit did not end.

Pablo's spirit lives on in the universe. In the sky. In the wind. In the butterflies. And, so clearly and beautifully, in the hearts of all who love Pablo.

Thinking back to my cathartic moment at the grill yesterday: I'm starting to see very clearly that one of the reasons we are here in life, on this place we call Earth, is to share love with others. To give our love to others. To receive the love of other people when we are fortunate enough to be loved back. To be clear, authentic, without hesitation, without regret. That's just one sliver of why we are here in life. I'll keep searching for more slivers.

I am certain that's what Pablo was up to. He carried love wherever he went. He gave it. He received it. It's easy to understand this when I'm sitting at Pablo's grave, talking to him, feeling the wind on my head and face. Sitting here, it's easy to understand just about everything. I have no choice but to open my entire human existence to one simple notion: that the only way I will ever communicate again with my little boy Pablo is through nature, through understanding. People all over the world agree with this. We've got stacks of sympathy cards and letters and blog comments and emails from friends all over the globe telling us how birds and bees and butterflies and squirrels are coming into their presence in new and unique ways since Pablo's death.

If this were an audiobook, you be hearing the Smiths song 'Ask' right here, cued to the line 'Nature is a language, can't you read?'


Hrishikesh said...

"I'm starting to see very clearly that one of the reasons we are here in life, on this place we call Earth, is to share love with others. To give our love to others."

I feel like the whole blog—the whole point—lives within these lines.

Anonymous said...


I asked Asa when he came home on Saturday night after being at the baseball game, "Do you miss playing with Pablo now that he is gone?" I wondered since he went to the grave (he wanted to bring Pablo some pirate booty) & had seen the tribute to Pablo at the Dodger game. He looked at me and smiled and said, "Pablo's not gone, he's everywhere!"


Dawn said...

This morning, in class, Tony asked us what our purpose here was and how we were either living it or getting in the way of it. And then I came here and read this. You're right. It can only boil down to love because nothing else really matters or lasts.

Anonymous said...

Sending love back to you. Butterflies have never meant more to me. I'm approaching the world in a completely different way thanks to and for Pablo. ox, eliz h

Tish Hearne said...

Dearest JoAnn, Jeff and Grady,

The videos are powerful. I agree wholeheartedly with what Hrishikesh wrote today on your blog.

Ironically, while driving Lauren and Paul around town today, I've had a particular song on repeat, as this fittingly beautiful song speaks so clearly of genuine "love". The song is by Sara Groves called "I Saw What I Saw"; it not only brought me to tears when thinking of our Thomas, but it represents Pablo's spirit and how his legacy lives on forever through the Pablove Foundation.

I came home and found the song on YouTube (link below) and then watched both of your videos (again).

Just like Pablo, your PABLOg and the Pablove Foundation are true manifestations of LOVE. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us.

The Hearnes

"I Saw What I Saw" by Sara Groves

katie said...

I've started to leave a comment more than once, only to stop with the thought "what in the hell do I have to say that's a worthy response to this unbelievable posting". Today, I just want to tell you I think of you, JoAnn and Grady ALL the time. Every yoga practice, I dedicate to Pablo. I carry Pablo's photo (from the memorial program) with me at all times and hold him always in my heart. I question what you question, I am constantly inspired by you, and my heart bleeds for you. I am truly with you always and am so deeply sorry for all that you are going through -- for your staggering loss. Thank you for continuing with the blog. It's stunning and amazing. Sending you so much love and loving Pablo always and forever.

Jules said...

Very moving Jeff. Here's love to you all - everyday. In fact, this journey has made us share our love much more willingly with all - to focus on the small things and to do the little things that help others.

I believe that nature is our way of communicating with Pablo now - and I've had my share of butterfly and squirrel experiences that make me believe that. But I also believe that you will be with him again one day and that brings me the greatest comfort.


Lisa Hickey said...

I check in every day. Most of the time, I just don't have the words. I watched the video of you guys at the Dodger game on facebook. Really sweet....brought tears to my eyes to see Grady writing on that chalkboard. All day long in my backyard, there was a Momma bird teaching her two little babies how to fly. I would go out every so often throughout the day, to the serenity and peacefulness of my backyard, and watch this sweet scene. I did this after I watched the video of your family. Then I came back in and read your latest post on the blog. Again, I was crying and unable to put words to it. Again, I went to my backyard to watch the birds. This time along with the sweet birds came a bouncing, happy, big beautiful butterfly. That butterfly truly looked happy. I thought of Pablo and I smiled. It made me happy. Sending you guys love everyday.

Anonymous said...

i read this blog every day. very moving are not alone, there are so many parents who go thru the same thing everywhere in the world. love is stronger than death.
ur a phenomenal writer. period.

Anonymous said...

All there is, is love. I read your blog every day, and am always moved to the core afterwards. So many times I've wanted to write something, but find I'm unable to come up with any words.
I think of you and your family every day, and send love.

Nancy said...

Just checking daily as I always do and sending love to your family. Thank you for exacting the place where Pablo's physical body lies. I will now never see the Hollywood sign without thinking of him and remembering his wonderful smile.

Unknown said...

So moving, so eloquent. I am struggling to find words. Thank you for continuing with Pablog. I find inspiration and wisdom and humanity every time I read your posts. I think of you, Jo Ann, Grady and Pablo every day.

Sending love today and always,

Anonymous said...


You are such an incredible Dad. This post is so powerful. I just watched both the videos and I am in tears. I don't really have words - just to say that you will continue to be his Dad even though he isn't physically here and you will continue to be his Dad when you are together again.

I don't know your story or you, just what I have read in the blog, but one thing that strikes me is that maybe part of your life's work was to become a good father. You have achieved that and then some.

Through what you are doing now you are reaching and supporting so many people and being a father, a leader, to many. Through so much pain you have achieved and are giving so much.

Anonymous said...

The absence of a loved one's physical presence is heart wrenching. There are no dimensions to pain, yet Pablo's spirit has passd beyond theboundaries of earthly sorrow. He is free as the gentle breeze or a clear flowing stream. As you share your pain and loss, each of us can carry part of your pain and hopefully, in some small way lighten your burden of grief and diminish your pain. Elizabeth