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.
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?'