The Poetry Shed

A Space for Writers
Letter from the Future

Dear Tom

Dear Tom:

You are probably planning to visit Justin’s grave later today.

I imagine it’s been a tough week, like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, back to back. What would have been his sixteenth birthday and then, today, four days later another memory. Three years from that awful night.

It gets easier after today, at least to those on the outside. A week in the Hamptons gawking at Ferraris and Lamborghinis, glass mansions and Hydrangea surrounded Victorians. All while watching the parade of people stitched together like a season of Nip and Tuck. Life is better at the beach they say. Still, the pictures look vacant, something is missing on the left or the right. Two weeks later, Brandon will be gone, too, off to his junior year of college, off to a place called Wash U in a city called St. Lou.

A year later you will see life has changed for many. The change will come in like a lazy fly ball. An outfielder drifting over, “I got it, I got it,” but suddenly the wind blows off Lake Michigan. The outfielder still has it, the sun slides from behind the clouds and then smack. Smushed in the face with 5.5 ounces of cowhide. Billions of people around the world smushed in the face, adjusting to the new paradigm. It’s a paradigm you’re used to. Life with mask and hand sanitizer, life between home and hospitals all while your stomach groans below an unwashed shirt. You’ll call it life in the fishbowl, life around pediatric cancer, life between living and dying.

You’ll learn about logarithmic charts plotting death, flattening the curve and that PPE is not Property, Plant and Equipment. You’ll be encouraged, when people post that Anne Frank lived in a 40 square meter attic for 761 days and wrote in her diary. Encouraged that as we grow a little closer to Anne Frank, we get closer to ourselves and our writing. Encouraged, that if we wake, find a pencil or keyboard, we can write, regardless of what surrounds us.

Most of all, you should remain hopeful that we may learn to do and live without. Hoping you and most will be OK, but forever scared, forever vigilant. And from that fear they will appreciate and understand how those young, old and even healthy can suffer.  Only if that miracle happens they will join in spirit as you stand by Justin’s side a year from today.

The very best,

Tom