Thursday, July 7, 2011

After a Death - Roo Borson

Seeing that there's no other way,
I turn his absence into a chair.
I can sit in it,
gaze out through the window.
I can do what I do best
and then go out into the world.
And I can return then with my useless love,
to rest,
because the chair is there.

An empty chair is my favorite image of the emotional aftermath of death.  An empty chair is such a devastating physical presence in the way it reminds us all of a loved one lost.  I remember in high school, after a friend's death, the awkward two days of an empty seat, before the seats were re-arranged.  The presence of that empty chair was too much for us all to take.

But as Borson shows us, the chair does not always have to be heartbreaking.  It can be therapeutic as well.  When Borson, tired, full of "useless love" returns, there is a chair upon which to rest.  It shows us that those we love are never truly gone from us.  They're still there to support us when we're tired, and to help us through the day.  Turning a loved one lost into an empty chair is part of the healing process of grief.  A lovely, painful, helpful image.