Saturday, March 28, 2009

For Saniyah

I hate taking death calls. I don’t know what to say. There really is nothing. There are no metaphors to help describe something so immensely sad, no obvious parables to offer. The only thing I can think to uncertainly ask is: what happened, what time, what place, what was the color and temperature of it? I already know all the likely answers: sudden, grim neighborhood, blue and cold. The world is suddenly shocked into focus, and this is all I can ask.
I was blithely planning our evening (off to Nomad Café for a poetry reading), when the cell phone blurted to life and told me of death. The afternoon vanished, the future retracted into the present. I’ve decided that the best thing for me to do in times like these is to listen to Shostakovich’s String Quartets (really only number 8 over and over again) until the world and life seem circumscribed by hopeful, tremulous movement, followed by violent overtures, and sad retreats. The sad cello answered by an even sadder fiddle weeping in C minor. Melancholy, tears, and a world in black and white with overtones of sepia.
Saniyah died this week. Hearing the news from Marilyn, one of the most emotionally empathetic people I know, made it harder and easier. It made me feel like weeping and embarrassed that I was not; that I was too numb to cry. Saniyah was a quiet little girl who liked to smile and play with her mother’s face. She was born in a dysfunctional world with arbitrary international borders, fractured families, and uprooted classes of people. She lived at the top of rickety, narrow stairs; she had a one-year old birthday party with a piñata and birthday hats; she had a mother who thought the world was her; she had a lot to live through and a lot of reasons to live. She always seemed like a reasonable little girl, easy to hold and easy to love. I’ll miss watching her grow into a beautiful woman, a little braver than the world she was given, making us proud to have known her.


Anonymous Olivia said...

Thanks for to pix and thoughts.

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Josh said...

Yes and...

It just illustrates everything that is wrong with this world. The cruelness. The joy and emotional triumph of a young life dashed and crushed before the second year.

And the inability to right the situation in any way leaves one feeling so helpless. And guilty. As I embrace my own daughter almost exactly the same age.

Thou wilt come no more gentle child...

And somehow life won't ever be the same.

It just hurts.

7:43 PM  
Blogger adalong said...

I just read your blog again,Darren, and want to respond-altho' not as eloquently as you write.
Thank you for this insight into Saniyeh's brief life. I'm glad we got to see her and Melanie @ the Stoltzfus Christmas get-together. It's hard to understand why...but it helps to hear other's thoughts. Thanks! Ada

1:25 PM  

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