Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Our Joys and Our Tears



Last Monday, at 6:15 AM, my daughter passed away.

Her service is this afternoon. I suspect that I will say something like this.

"Thank you all for coming.

Alexis Hope Osborne came into this world on October 5th, 1976.

She was Cesarean born at St David’s hospital.

I remember well that day.

I waited outside in what was then a pretty nice garden. It’s a parking garage today. I was nervous and teary. Nervous for Dee, nervous for the baby. Solomon was at Lydia’s house on Ave B. I was so relieved to find that everything was fine. Dee and I were in our mid twenties, and we lived in a little white house east of Elgin that had just recently been home to our landlord's goats. Our rent was 85.00 a month.

After I fixed the place up, adding a porch, and building a hippy fence of Johnson Grass around it, the landlord raised the rent to over a hundred.

"The place looks nicer now", he said. He was right.

Soon we moved to the Tingle House on Highway 95, which most of us called Dead Dog Road, and for good reason.

It was there that Hope grew. It was there that we met our Friends and our new family, the Owens, the Rivers, the Bogarts, the Dildy’s, and so many others... many who are here today.

On my 55th birthday, Hope gave me a book that she had written.

In it she states on the first page,

“I skipped the third grade. I was an honor student. UIL cheerleader, volley ball, and basketball. I was a starter on every team I played on. “A” Team everything I had a star football player boyfriend, threw the crunkest off the hook, jamming, place to be parties.” (like father like daughter)

Hope spent some time in Portland where she met one of her best friends ever Chantelle. Then, she moved to LA where she worked as a DJ on a all- night radio show. It was there in Culver City that she started Fresh Beats, her record store. And it was there that she decided she wanted to record music.

She came back to Elgin to build her recording studio and to raise her son Alexander Deems.

During these last few months, when we knew that Hope’s walk on the earth was finishing, we started recording music together. I gave Lex my trusty upright piano of 10 years, and we moved it out to the studios here in Elgin.

One night, only about a month ago, after about 19 takes, I finally got the love song I had been working on. When I finished it, I heard Hope say over the headphones,

“Jeezus Dad, you got me freaking bawling in here.” (that’s a generous church translation, Reverand)

Hope quickly did a little production work on it and burned the CD for me to listen to as I drove back to Austin. Despite the fact that my piano playing sucks, and I sing flat, she managed this.

(Play song)

I don’t know if Hope ever dropped her shield.

But she did have something that is often referred to as the most important trait we can have as humans.

Courage.

Hope had more courage than most of us, and probably that abundance of courage left her short in some other areas.

Hope faced her destiny as bravely as any soldier on any field, anywhere, has ever faced the enemy.

I no longer can say that I cannot feel the loss of those who have lost their sons and daughters to the useless slaughter of war.

Hope’s war with herself and those around her was brutal and heart wrenching.

A couple of Thanksgivings ago, while in the cool of the mountains in my mountain retreat in Real de Catorce, I stood with others on the side of a mountain overlooking the great Altiplano as we buried a small child who had drowned on Thanksgiving Day,

A well dressed Huichole Shaman spoke in a clear voice in a language that most of us could only understand in the spirit.

He said that the death of the child was not tragic, that it was not the result of a terrible accident. No, he said that this WAS the life of this child as it was meant to be. This was his life.

Just as the time that Hope walked with us on this earth

was her life.

And that life and its passing,

With all of its imperfections,

was the life

That we were given,

A life most worthy

of all of our love, our respect,
.
our joys, and our tears."
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The Service will be held in the FPC, 303 Ave C in Elgin, Texas at 6:15 PM.

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15 Comments:

Blogger SB said...

This is beautiful --

SB

10:51 AM  
Anonymous ss said...

A beautiful and courageous young woman. My deepest sympathy to you and the family.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Muna said...

I'm so sorry about your loss Michael. I can't imagine what it must be like to lose your child. I wish you strength in this very difficult time and patience to endure the pain. May she rest in peace.

Much love,

Muna

11:49 AM  
Blogger dzed said...

for some reason this comes to mind:

the long and winding road

The wild and windy night
that the rain washed away
Has left a pool of tears
crying for the day
Why leave me standing here
let me know the way

take care

11:38 PM  
Anonymous humanbeingsfirst.org said...

I am really very sorry to read of your loss. You don't know me from adam - but we are united by 'adam'. I too lost an elder brother yesterday - though 'we didn't share a womb' nor a sperm. While words can hardly console the grieving soul, I am genuinely sorry. It's not natural to bury our children, and siblings, whether they go by way of cancer or by way of a snipper's sharp eye or a daisy cutter!

yours in sadness,
zahir.

2:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so beautifully written.

The love and admiration spills out onto the page.

I can hear "hallelujah" ringing in the ethers.

My heart goes out to you knowing what a loss you and your loved ones have suffered.

I will light a candle on my alter.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oz, I write this with tears in my eyes and on my cheeks. I am so sorry for your loss, and deeply regret that I will not be able to attend Hope’s funeral.

I wish I could be there for you, but you and her are in our thoughts and prayers.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I had known your daughter, her life sounds full and joyous. I am so sorry for your loss of such an amazing spirit. I wish you comfort and peace.

11:17 AM  
Blogger jp said...

Michael...we just learned of Hope's passing; we mourn with you. I loved reading the words you wrote for her; they made me smile and cry at the same time. We're wishing you strength and comfort to help you during this time. Take good care of yourself. Love from Jane and Curtis.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Christie H said...

I knew Hope years ago, we went to school together. I heard of her passing and wanted to let you know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I will always remember her beautiful smile. :)

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just turning on my computer for the first time this week... and its Friday I think. Read this right away... got me teary eyed. Pictures nice too... she was beautiful-- I'm sure in more ways than I and most will ever know... that is the thing about being a parent-- you see more beauty in your child because you have patiently watched her develop and grow for 'the duration'.... you know her better than anyone because you share DNA, experience, history, stories, love, kinship, kitchens and bathrooms- the sum of intimacy in the bodily knowledge.

Beautiful piece of writing. Glad you did this. Very touching. I read it to Paul. He thought so too.

And have been thinking about this sadness this week. I am greedy for life. It is so good to me. I am no fool. I will not let go of one minute. I am attached to my life. So why don't I eat better? The conundrum.

You have lost a child to war.

7:13 AM  
Anonymous John Loving said...

I really do not know what to say, this freind this person I grew up with gone, words cannot express.

7:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just saw your post on your daughter and my thoughts, prayers, energy, love, qui, peace, et all are with you.

I’m sorry I never had a chance to meet your daughter – she sounds a lot like her old man.

Your words were touching and inspirational – as they always are, but even more so given the circumstance with which you wrote them.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to read of your daughter's death. Life is so quickly over.

I enclose tender thoughts and lots of warm embraces.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous K NEWLIN said...

I knew Hopey since the 6th grade. We cheered together and I attended most of those parties you spoke about. We had some really fun times.... one funny memory comes to mind. I was spending the night at the "Dead Dog Road" house and my only task was to bring TP so we could have some fun with a neighbor. We were still pretty young and not driving, so it was for sure a task convincing my parents that she needed me to bring TP because ya'll ran out and it was too far to come into town... lol... That was just one memory, but there were so many. Even after I moved in high school, I would come back to Elgin often and Hope and I would always end up together. She would drop by my in-laws to see if I was there and to say hi. I hadn't seen her in several years and continued to look for her on FB, but I found out just the other day why I hadn't been able to find her. I was and still am trying to process the fact that she is gone. She was one of my best memories from Elgin and I will miss her.

7:45 AM  

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