by W. S. Merwin
“Your absence has gone through me
Like a thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.”
The last official weekend of summer was bittersweet. My son was home, and we had company all weekend. Our days were filled with hiking, swimming, and napping. Our evenings began with suppers outside by candlelight and ended long past midnight around our fire pit. There were moments of laughter, but more moments of tears, as the loss of his dear, beautiful Julia is still a fresh wound. His heartbreak is palpable and visible in his face. But as we sat by the fire Friday night, I could feel his relief to be in our backyard, surrounded by his family and friends. I, too, felt a sense of peace start to return. This line, from “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” by William Butler Yeats, came to me:
“And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping
“Dropping slow” seemed to me exactly the way to describe the process of trying to stitch your heart and life back together without all the pieces. He’ll be putting his heart back together for years to come; maybe for the rest of his life. I’ll be there to help him with each stitch.
This slice was difficult to write. It feels much too personal for a blog that is supposed to be about teaching reading and writing. And yet, a slice is “a simple way to practice what we ask of students—to write…a small sliver of your ordinary life.” I am grateful to be part of this community and to have a place to share this writing, which seems so far removed from my original mission, but which was so necessary for me to write.
Thank you to Stacey, Tara, Dana, Betsy, Anna, and Beth for this space for teachers and others to share their stories each Tuesday. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.