gary at 20Lucky. He is lucky.

We ‘re lucky, all of us in whose lives Gary has played a part. He was hit by a 15-person van just before dawn on Thursday while running with his friend Scott.

Word is, when Scott sat up, Gary was 30 feet away  unconscious and bleeding from the head. Luckily Scott was able later that day to walk out of The Med in Memphis to which they were both airlifted.

I first met Gar when he was in 7th grade. He and his sister Susan began coming to our house most days after school to join the rest of the kids swarming around the island in our kitchen.. Even now, when he comes to Boston we still enjoy the pleasure of having him here in this house: He sits, working at his laptop, in our living room. I sit, working at mine, one floor above him. He still paces when he talks on the phone, just like he did in middle school. I remember when he was 15 he blushed to see evidence of his own printing on an application he was making to prep school; he said it looked like something Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes would have crookedly penned.

Last night my friend Marcia celebrated her 90th birthday. I couldn’t be at her party but when she sent me this poem below by Mary Oliver, I felt as if she were right in the room with me. She read it at her own daughter’s funeral, she told me, and at the funeral of her longtime companion Arthur. I felt as if Marcia  just knew, even without knowing about this accident,  just what all of us have been feeling in this broadly defined family that Gary has gathered around himself over the years.  It was written in autumn but its message couldn’t be more timely for us all now, as Gary is ushered safely hour by hour toward healing. Pictures below!

In Blackwater Woods
Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,
the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
Thank God that time has not come yet to any who read this today.
Here is Gary on the left with his one-of-a-kind brother John and between them their darling baby sister Susan from the days when I seemed to be cooking for young people all day long and their bookbags covered every surface.
gary susan & john  deyoung '92
the kids & Samantha in 1990
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2 thoughts on “Lucky

  1. prayers and thoughts for gary. all those blessed children who were lucky to have YOU in their lives all walk (and run) with a part of you and are all better for it. xoxoxo

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