Monday, July 6, 2009

Pablove In Chicago + In The Air

Livia, Milo, Cassiel and Desi in front of the giant wood doors of St Michael's Church

Cassiel and Desi lighting candles for their friend Pablo

Seven candles lit in memory of Pablo

Livia and Cassiel with their graffiti memorial to Pablo at Gino's East pizza in the Chicago Loop.

Two of Pablo's closest friends, Cassiel and Desi, were in Chicago with their families last week. While Pablo's Memorial and Funeral were happening two time zones away, The Blum and Reed families honored and remembered Pablo in the Windy City. They wanted to light memorial candles for Pablo. The church they ended up walking into was St Michael's, in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Incredibly, St Michael's is the place where Pablo's Uncle Scott taught Sunday School many years ago. Of all the hundreds and hundreds of churches in Chicago, Pablo's friends made their way to the one with the most significance to his family. To put a finer point on the beauty of this: St Michael's is on a side street. Not an easy place to find.

Cassiel and Desi and their siblings Livia and Milo honored the loss of their friend Pablo with a simple and time honored ritual: lighting candles. These candles signify the fun they had with P. The off-the-scale screaming and laughing and heavy-breathed panting they had with P on countless days. The not stopping playing even after the eight parental command to slow down. The snapshot of childhood that they can always look back on, to remember Pablo, who,
as they grow up, as their bodies change, as their physical appearance develops and their voices finally drop as low as Pablo's, will be forever young. The graffiti memorial they wrote on the wall at Gino's East was perfect.

The spiritual energy and cosmic power at hand right now is real. These things don't just happen.

P loved Chicago, the home of his cousin Isabella and Aunt Susan. The last time we were there was for Lollapalooza 2007. I pulled Pablo and Isabella through Millennium and Grant parks in a bike trailer. Our first stop that day was Intelligentsia Coffee. With fuel in our bodies, we went out for some fun. We saw Lance Armstrong riding through the park. We didn't know him then, but Pablo's papa nearly had a heart attack seeing his cycling idol while pulling a kiddie trailer.

Later that day, we went to the festival to see Silversun Pickups play. We stood in the wings of the stage, looking into the eyes of the audience looking at the band. I loved sharing that view with Pablo. After the show, we went into the band's tour bus. Many people have emailed us recently recounting that they met Pablo for the first (and some only) time in that bus. It's those seemingly little moments that make a huge mark, yknow?

I want to leave you with one more story. This one's about butterflies.

Sunday morning, I rode with my dear friend Greg Geisler. We rode up San Gabriel Canyon, east of Pasadena. This is a steep, stunningly beautiful mountain pass that's also known as Highway 39. As we turned our cranks over and over, I settled into my rhythm. The sun beat down on me, I thought of Pablo, I talked out loud to Pablo, I followed my breath and knew he was with me. The whole way up the mountain, all kinds of butterflies flitted around me, hitting my hands, my chest, my shoulders. Over half of them were Monarchs, the type of butterfly Paul Massa released en masse at Pablo's grave. At the time I felt the significance of these butterflies. They will forever remind us of Pablo.

When Greg and I regrouped at the bottom the mountain, I mentioned the butterflies.

'I didn't see any butterflies,' he said.

Across Los Angeles, Ben Berry from our Dangerbird family took a hike up Runyon Canyon. He sent us an email after his hike with these words: 'Walked Runyon this morning and had butterflies flying with me all the way around.'

The spiritual energy and cosmic power at hand right now is real. These things don't just happen.


Jen Berry said...

pablo is everywhere, continuing to bring peace and laughter around. he was, no doubt, uniquely beautiful and amazing.

christina said...

thank you for your message of love, light & compassion. and allowing us to bask in the glow of pablo...

i posted about pablo today on my blog:

thanks for your message of courage and inspiration...

passing along the light & love...

Anonymous said...

We're in North Carolina visiting family. As we all gather around the tv to watch the Tour de France, my thoughts are with Pablo. The entire time I'm waiting to see if the commercial with you and Pablo will come on. As we watch Lance pulls away from the peleton with the front pack, my son Nathan starts screaming for us outside in the yard, that a butterfly landed on his nose! We never met Pablo, but we surely will never forget that little guy! Lisa Hickey

Unknown said...

I was camping all the way up in Mono Lake / Yosemite area, and Monarchs were all over the mountains where I was hiking also!

Anonymous said...

So real! I love the butterfly story and that this experience was exclusive to you... so mysterious and beautiful. I have become aware of many flying creatures too. I have seen a ridiculous amount of red tails hawks each day just gliding through the air. I sometimes see one or maybe two a week but lately I have seen like six per day and LOTS of yellow butterflies.

love that pablo.


jessica brooke said...

butterflies have always had a special significance w me after my aunt's passing and now with Pablo too. I saw so many this weekend, they are all around us. xo

Anonymous said...

Amazing. I just found your blog about a week ago and though I never have the right words to say in times like are so blessed. What a beautiful, amazing family.

I will always think of Pablo and your family when I see butterflies. I think there are ways (signs) people who are not with us show us; to let us know they are going to be ok and that we are going to be ok without them...

You never have to look far to see his spirit or star. His light is everywhere. :)

Love from Nova Scotia

Lisa Czerwonka said...

Jeff and Jo Ann
When ever I miss my mother or need her, Monarchs butterflies always make their presence. Thats when I know she can hear me!
May god bless you.
Lisa and Peyton

Jen said...

Jeff -

Beautiful image of you with the butterflies talking to your little boy. Sending you my love from NYC.

Jen Rhodes

Anonymous said...

I love all of that.


Heather said...


"A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam
And for a brief moment its glory and beauty
belong to our world
But then it flies again
And though we wish it could have stayed...
We feel lucky to have seen it."
~Author Unknown

Thinking of you all and sending love and light,peace and strength your way in great abundance.

Drea said...

I carried Pablo with me to the Hollywood Bowl the other night; I thought he might like seeing Death Cab for Cutie under the stars. And when I was thinking that it would have been fitting to light something for him there, in a venue that is so filled with music and community, the fireworks went off...

Erin said...

check out this song "butterfly" by san diego artist jana stanfield. my mom played it for me when she told me she was dying and it has a great message.

Sitting alone on a hillside, confused about what to do
My choices where all complicated, it was time to think things through
Spotted a striped caterpillar, stretching her face to the sky
Dragging her cumbersome body an inch at a time
I was feeling the pain of slow progress, when a friend of hers fluttered by
I leaned close as the caterpillar spoke with a voice as soft as a sign
She said…
Butterfly, please tell me again it’s gonna be alright
I can feel a change is coming
I can feel it in my skin
I can feel myself outgrowing
This life I’ve been living in
And I’m afraid, afraid of change
Butterfly, please tell me again I’m gonna be alright
I’m like my friend caterpillar, afraid of that dark cocoon
Wanting to hide in the tall grass, when change is coming soon
But all of the things we long for, are borne on the wings of change
And losses can lead us to blessings that we can’t explain
Butterflies remind us, there’s magic in every life
And we can become what we dream of, if fat furry worms can fly
So I say…
Repeat Chorus
And on the day of my last breath
I expect to see angels like butterflies over my head
And I’ll say…
Repeat Chorus