Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Poem For Pablo


Pablo and Grady's friend Kirby Kersels wrote a poem for Pablo in his summer school class at La Salle High School in Sierra Madre. It's called 'Pablo's Star.' Click on the image above to read it, if you can't make it out. It's powerful. Kirby was a year behind Grady at Pasadena Waldorf School, and has been friends with him since kindergarten. Kirby has known Pablo since he was in utero.

There's one other special thing about Kirby. He's a cancer survivor. Kirby was treated for Lymphoma at City of Hope in Duarte, CA, just east of Pasadena.

Kirby and his parents, Mary Collins and
Martin Kersels, know what we've been through. I mean, Kirby knows what Pablo went through. In a very real way. As we sat around our dinner table Saturday night, the conversation flowed wonderfully, and was filled equally with laughter and tears. The conversation was also easy—filled with knowing looks deep into one another's eyes, and things that did not need to be stated. Kirby is an amazing young man. He glows. And at 15, he is over six feet tall, so he kind of hovers above the scene. Glowing and hovering—pretty impressive. It's fitting for what he's been through. There's something about the way he looks at you that, even if you didn't know his story, you'd know he knows something more than he's letting on.

One of the things everyone at the table knew is how slow the clock ticks on the tenth day of a 20 day hospital stay. We all know the temperature of fear. We all know how to put our hands around the steering wheel of the vehicle called My Child's Life and how to push the f***ing gas pedal to the floor and never look back. We all know that there's actually, really, seriously not a support group for parents of kids with cancer in the city of LA.


And Jo Ann and I know that there's actually, really, seriously not a book in the bookstore aisle labeled Grief that chronicles and advises on the process of losing a child to cancer. Losing a child to anything, in any way, is the Thing We All Fear Most. Most of the books we've found and bought center on accidents and other things. That's not our experience. We have been mourning and grieving the potential loss of Pablo since May 18 2008. We have swallowed the salty water in this ocean of pre-grief and pre-mourning, and feeling a bit guilty about it the whole way, feeling a bit selfish about it the whole way. Now that we are here and Pablo is everywhere, we realize we had to do this. Like burping or sneezing, it was an involuntary bodily function. The pressure cooker had to release some of its steam, a bit every day. Or the top would have popped.

We do not feel anything but love for and about Pablo. The feelings I'm describing are our feelings about ourselves, internally, now that the physical being of our son is gone.

That's all I got for today.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a simple, yet perfectly poignant group of words. What a special young man Kirby is.

Debbie

Cristina said...

beautiful and powerful!

Heather said...

Powerful poem from Kirby.Beautiful words for your amazing Pablo. Sending you love.Wishing I had the words for you as you sit in the scorching heat of Silverlake trying to figure out how the hell you got to this painful place.Wish we all had a support group as we try to navigate the world of pediatric cancer.Each of us,in some moments, traveling parellel journeys,converging from time to time,while at other times,careening off into unchartered and unwanted territory.Like now my friend and I wish I could help.Love you.Loving Pablo everyday.

Bridget said...

Dear Pablo's mom, dad, and big bro',

I shouldn't be commenting because I'm a Johnny-come-lately acquaintance of PABLOg, but I want to tell your family that you are an inspiration of love and grace. As was Pablo. I know not any of you, but in these days of prolonging life into an existance that perhaps becomes meaningless, that you saw your little trooper was tired tired tired, and you brought him home to sweetness his last..... You are an inspiration. His being gone is a loss to you, and to the greater world, but how much poorer the planet would have been had there been no Pablo. And had Pablo not had such a wonderful family. Bless you.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful words for your beautiful boy.

Lee Rose said...

Lovely poem.

And Jeff & JoAnn I know this is no consolation to you and your grief, but your beautiful blog, if you continue writing through this, could be, and should be turned into that book in the bookstore that you are looking for. There are so few books that deal with grief in a meaningful and emotional way. (The only one I’ve ever read that was helpful to me was CS Lewis’s A Grief Observed.)

Your honesty and eloquence has touched so many people already, a book/memoir may be something to consider in the future.

Lee

Anonymous said...

Jeff-
there may be no book,
there maybe no support group,
but you are paving the way...

Please keep writing--it's healing for us all.

Erica said...

"Now that we are here and Pablo is everywhere..."
Such a true and beautiful statement.

hollywoodhousewife said...

I think that you are meant to write the book you are seeking. Perhaps this is why it does not yet exist.