poetry

All We Can Do Is Hold One Another Up: Ode to Zevvy.

 

It has been just over two weeks since my stepson phoned to tell me that his best friend in the entire world had died.

When I answered the 6 AM call, there was no response — just empty space — because how do you say those words? Especially at the age of 26 — how could you possibly say those words? But not saying them doesn’t make them not true. It was true. The little guy who I met 20 years ago had died.

Zev was already on the scene when my stepsons came into my life. They were all six years old. An inseparable trio of giant smiles, bony elbows, and frenetic happy energy. They grew up together and helped keep one another whole. Until they just could not.

That’s what struck me as I stood at Zev’s graveside. No matter how much we love someone and no matter how much we desire good things for them, we are not inside their skin and cannot (and ultimately — devastatingly — should not) make decisions for them. All we can do is hold one another up — with our kindness, our care, our strength, our wisdom, our optimism. With whatever we have to offer.

That’s what I saw in the cemetery on an appropriately rainy grey-skied day in October. Young people standing close to one another without words. Literally holding one another up. Moving through the darkest of spaces together. The scene could not have been more tragic. Breathtaking. Heart-crushing. Soul-sucking. A scene created by a single moment — a single action — that cannot ever be undone.

This poem is for Zev. For his family. For my stepsons. For their friends. For young people who are navigating a world that is more intense, more complicated, and more brutal than we could have ever imagined even a decade ago.

***

I am bewitched by the in-between.

The inhaled breath of the city just as night becomes day.

The void in which a question bursting with raw and violent need waits to be answered.

The sliver of light between desperately entangled limbs that confirms we are —

and will always be — separate.

 

The place where everything hovers and is still.

Where anything is possible.

Where it can all still be real or unreal.

True or untrue.

 

The space is vast and mesmerizing.

It can hold you wrapped in gossamer.

Addicted to the infinite.

Swimming in the idea of what could be.

***

Andrea Baker has a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology and once knew everything there was to know about Byron and Bundy. She is a certified Yoga teacher and ever-evolving student in Vancouver’s beautiful Yoga community. She has divided her life equally between Canada’s east and west coast … never living far from the sea. The ocean has influenced her writing, her Yoga practice, and her approach to life. She distrusts capital letters, loves sticking eka pada koundinyasana, and wishes she was just a tiny bit taller. Connect with her on FacebookTwitterInstagram or her blog.

***

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