Silvia's oldest brother, Manolito, was still in Cuba until I was an adult, but he was the thread of loss throughout her childhood, the piece that her parents were longing for. Now Silvia is gone and the remaining six siblings are again left bereft and longing. My heart broke at the moment where the six of them walked her casket out of the church.
Today at the mass to celebrate Silvia's life I read a piece from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans, at my cousin Carmen's request. I was honored to be a part of the service, although the words of faith that would have brought Silvia so much comfort don't speak to me the same ways. Here is the poem I choose in the private tribute of my head, and the public one written here. Poets give me comfort.
In Blackwater Woods
Look, the trees
their own bodies
into pillarsof light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,the long tapers
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shouldersof the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, isnameless now.
I have ever learnedin my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other sideis salvation,
none of us will ever know.
To live in this worldyou must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold itagainst your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.Mary Oliver,
New and Selected PoemsThe time has come to let Silvia go, far too young, far too early, and with all of us left longing for her light and sweetness, but grateful that she was calm and ready, and secure in her faith when she crossed over this black river of loss.This is a poem my husband Jeff wrote, read by him, that was filmed by our daughter Cassidy. It's also a fitting tribute.Ultimately I am so glad to be considered part of her family. Ultimately her light still shines, and will always be shining, an example, a compass, an anchor, a guiding star.
*Wonderwall by Oasis