Saturday, October 01, 2011

What life can afford to share

[Note: this post written a couple of days ago but due to internet issues in the Cook Islands I couldn't post it until now]

It's a fundamentally sad fact that we will all be forgotten.

Though we may strive to be good, and achieve much, even the most famous of us will eventually be known only by a few who have touched our lives. When they too are gone, only images or words may take their place, and they are a pale imitation of our true essence.

This tragedy is even more pronounced when the person remembered was afforded such a short life - her chance at life cut so short. How a father could take all that opportunity away in one moment of jealous rage is beyond my comprehension.

I can't begin to fully understand why this death has never left me. I cannot understand why I can still remember someone's image so clearly, as if from an old photograph. Yet, with may years gone now, I realize as a 9 year old boy - I really couldn't have know her at all.

I didn't know what to say or think when I saw her final resting place today. Thirty six years later my 70's color pallet has been bleached pale blue by time, yet the outline of her image is as strong as ever. I have to admit I was looking forward to some degree of closure - It was not to be as I had hoped.

About a year ago a cyclone ravaged the island, and sometime during the night the supported roof to her grave site had fallen over, and the headstone had toppled. Today, with the site obscured by the rusting corrugated iron roof, there were no visible signs that I was even at the right location.

Later I confirmed I was at the right house. I had to admit I was surprised that her brother didn't take the time to clear the damage, especially when some time back, he took the time to adopt a baby girl, taking Janice's name for her own. Perhaps in some way that child afforded him the opportunity to move on. I have to remind myself she really isn't here anymore and I really shouldn't worry.

More importantly I have to realize that this isn't about me.
I realize that life doesn't always allow you the chance to tie up all the loose ends, and get what you want. It's enough that I have finally found her, and that I have the opportunity to say hello again.

Although this part in the journey has been completed, I will never forget her as long as I live. Every time I come to this tropical paradise I will visit for a short while, and in that small way, at least in my memory, Janice Henry will live on.