for L_, who I trust and respect

I didn’t go to his funeral. Even if I could have, I would not have gone. Funerals are for the living, and I did not know his family. Perhaps the presence of another mourner would have been some comfort to them – another person whose life was better for having known L_. Perhaps not. I don’t know. But I imagine there were many there. And I didn’t want their memories tangled up with mine. And I didn’t want that sense of finality. I’m not ready for it yet – not when our last conversation is still playing in my mind. Only weeks ago. He had a new project and wanted my opinion. He said “I thought, who do I trust and respect, and you were top of the list.” Oh, the glow I got from that… I am still holding it, walking around with it and protecting it like a candle flame. I could not risk that being dimmed by other people’s words.

Almost exactly a year ago I wrote a sort of a poem. Just a list really, of what was on my window-sill. Included in that list was his most recent book. After I wrote that poem I sent him an email, just to say “I’m glad to know you, and grateful to have you as a friend”. I suppose that is something. But I wish I had said more. I have so many things to be grateful to L for; first book contract, promotion reference, thesis examination of my first HDR student… All these practical, professional things. But it was his warmth, his generosity, and most of all his trust and respect that I am grateful for – something to cherish and to try to live up to.

I replay your words,
and still clearly hear your voice.
How can you be gone?

I have been wanting to write something about L_, but have struggled to find the words and the form. The dVerse Haibun prompt “Giving thanks” was the right starting point. Thanks Frank.   


Filed under poem, prose

19 responses to “for L_, who I trust and respect

  1. this is beautiful and poignant, Kate… is there a haiku section to your haibun?


  2. I am so sorry for your loss. It’s hard to lose a colleague and friend.

  3. This is a beautiful tribute. I’m the sort of person who plays it close to the chest. I don’t tend to express the feelings I have for people, probably out of fear of rejection or fear of looking foolish. I always end up thinking there are things I wish I’d said.

  4. Ain Starlingsson, forestbathing hermit

    Very moving….well done…

  5. Beverly Crawford

    Perhaps sharing these thoughts in writing with his family would be meaningful to them. I find it difficult to speak my true feelings in the funeral setting, but much easier to put them in a note after.

  6. A heartfelt and honest tribute to a special person…my sympathy to you.

  7. So lovely, Kate. I am very sorry for your pain. You write about it so beautifully.

  8. writingwhatnots

    People as special as L don’t come along very often. It’s a privilege to have them in our lives isn’t it? Sad, honest and thankful Haibun – I hope writing about L is helping you with the loss.

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    • It was a privilege to know L, and a shock that he’s gone. Writing does help, but there’s a tension between recording the memories so they are not lost, and turning the memories into words so their vitality is lost.
      Thanks for your kind comment. ❤

  9. Trust and respect. The key ingredients of a worthwhile relationship. I am glad you had that experience and sorry to read it is lost. Sadly, you made me realise I increasingly wonder if these very ingredients of worthy societal relationships are being lost as well.

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