I found some fantastic fudge today!
Posted on May 11, 2023 2 Comments
Today is David’s 62nd birthday. Considering that I spend most of my days authoring a poetry book and a memoir, and speaking around topics that the legacy of his leaving has levied upon the past two-decades of my life, I thought, perhaps, it’s time he give his own voice to the story.
April 30th, 1985 was the third day of the rest of Dave’s professional IT life, and his third week living in New York City. Leaving behind his boyhood home in the quiet Hudson River Valley hamlet of Wappinger’s Falls, NY, he arrived at the below street-level room he was renting on LaGuardia Place in The Village. He looked forward to “becoming an official MHT (Manufacturer’s Hanover Trust) employee,” as he wrote in a previous letter.
At the time of this writing, I was away at college. For the two-years we were separated following his graduation, we communicated by weekly phone calls and letter. I keep a vivid memory of the first time I visited him, a few weeks later, when he took me to the fudge shop of mention, located at South Street Seaport.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR! I Love you forever X/O
© Deborah Garcia 2023, all rights reserved
What Holds Me Back?
Posted on May 7, 2023 2 Comments
What is the force that drives the code I cannot crack, why can’t I step out of my shell what holds me back? I’ve read “how-to” books got keys to success from T.V., but still I haven’t figured out, how this all applies to me. Sure I make out my lists what goes and what stays, but it’s never enough my story regardless replays. What are the things that bring me great joy? please point out the road blocks, I unknowingly employ. I want a greater purpose to stoke ember fires, there has to be more just need to connect the right wires. I struggle to foresee why I am here, what purpose do I serve the answers aren’t clear. My mother’s hail Mary’ once filled me with grace, if only she’d deliver that awakening slap in the face. There’s gotta be more to life ways to be useful, to further my evolution authentic and truthful. So each day I press on ‘cause I know the reasons are close, unlocking new closets, revealing old ghosts.
© Deborah Garcia 2023, all rights reserved
April 8, 2023
Posted on April 8, 2023 1 Comment
From the time your dad slid a diamond on my finger, I dreamed of the home we’d own, the children that would play hide-and-seek in closets, and the adventures we’d take together to experience the wonders of the world before your dad’s world went dark. We’d mix large batches of sticky rice crispy treats together licking gooey fingers, have fun with friends gliding down slides exploding into ball pits, and build sandcastles at the beach under crimson sunsets, when the city crowds had gone home.
In the beginning, I assumed being a mother was going to be the sweetest, most important thing I was going to do. Then one day we were in that future. Digging my toes into the warm, fine Long Island sand, I looked at your dad, your baby brother in his arms as the tide swirled around them. And you, with your big, red shovel digging to find the center of the Earth said; “Daddy how far is the horizon?”
I was happy. You and your brother were smart and strong. You were very eager to socialize with other kids and adults, and we enjoyed lots of fun times with friend groups and cousins – summer cabana shares at the beach, pumpkin picking on the East end, snow tubing in Vermont, and fishing on Great Pond at Bear Springs Camp in Maine. We rode the LIRR to Citifield for Mets games, ferried across the Upper Bay of the Hudson to Liberty Island, saw Seussical on Broadway, walked on stage at the Met before the curtain opening to Hansel and Gretel, and walked among the dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History. Your dad and I loved our careers and took great pride in creating a comfortable, enriching lifestyle for our family to grow safe in, building a future for your educations and our retirement, a future space in which I imagined building Lego worlds with my grandchildren. We even hired a financial planner in the fifth month of my pregnancy with you! It was all about continuity.
Today, I’m in another future, 400-miles from the New York island, standing in a muddy yard surrounded by uncountable sugar maples and white ash, my toes wrapped in thick socks, sunk into rain boots, shivering in unforgiving freezing April winds, blinking into the blinding sunrise. A very large house is pinned to the end of a long, winding driveway, only visible on Google maps. You actually named it on the app, Garcia Road. Perhaps you heard me yelling out into the bitter air; what the fuck!” A herding dog disappears into the brush, a cat waits patiently behind a glass door, and I’m alone here, knotting a bag of shit.
This should be a happy day for you. Just thirty-months ago, I had held my breath on your 27th, believing that in your 30th year you would begin to feel the ground shaping around your substance. That you would begin to know the gifts that have always been with you and find some comfort in understanding that the most important thing in life is simply being. The indispensable you. As your mother, I looked forward to seeing you celebrate this landmark right of passage into adulthood. Instead, it wears me like steel-studded chains puncturing icy thruways, popping the atmosphere, scraping every surface it scrolls over. I’m absent-minded, tired, and swallowing Beta-blockers to keep my heart from bursting behind my heaving cage.
It’s natural for most people to not see their strength and focus on the pain, pointing the lens on external realities. My darling boy, you became so focused on the pain you were carrying that you couldn’t see your strength. I think your frustration from holding the dark seedsthat your fear gripped so tight, made you want to sleep through the pain you felt. If you could only get enough sleep, you cried, the pain of living with your past and your losses might dissipate, then you would find the strength to continue to move through life. Son, you hadn’t given yourself enough space and time to understand that this pain and the losses were an important part of your strength. Your wounds couldn’t be cured or eradicated with pills, tinctures, and magical trip treatments. It was your strength that would move you through your life. The life that was meant for you. Your own perfection.
Wholeness includes all of our wounds, and all of our vulnerabilities. It is our authentic self, and it doesn’t sit in judgment of our wounds and our vulnerabilities. It simply says this is the way we connect with one another. Through our wounds. Through the wisdom we’ve gained and what has happened to one another.
You wrote: “I want mommy to always know that I love her very much and I do not blame her in any way for anything. It is my sincere hope that she is able to continue forward with her life, I’m truly sorry for any pain this may bring you by my decision.” Davin, I want you to know that death is not just a butterfly that flutters by on a light breeze, never settling for long before it reaches the end of its life cycle.
Although I know it doesn’t change our fate, I do feel at times, like “Mommy” failed you. And I’ve failed your dad, losing pieces of him, again. Grief doesn’t fade with time. It stays the same and your world shapes a life around it, like a wound on a tree limb. My heart is so broken, I can hardly feel the pulse of the life around me. Death makes a relationship one-sided, holding all of the memories that we have, all that we’ll ever have throughout our lifetime, until we die. It’s hard – when there are things left unresolved, things left unsaid, and things you can’t unsay.
I don’t know how to reframe with this suffering. You are my first born. The one person with whom I’ve lived longer in this lifetime than anyone. Longer than your dad. You are the person who I have spent half of my life cheering for at sports venues, applauding at symphonies, sewing tears in your favorite shirts. I listened when you were at odds with your step-father and held you when you felt scared and sad because you needed to feel your own father’s hand on your shoulder. When you would come and talk to me, you would become the person you were. The person you were as a composer, as a communicator. With your words you could be extraordinary. You became the person you were in reality. My beautiful boy. The splendent child with the gold crown, that I sang to when I first held you in my arms so you’d know who I was. The boy who rode upon his father’s shoulders while resting his teddy bear on his daddy’s head. And, you are the young man who pulled me into his chest to comfort me in the mist of falling waters, when your father’s name pierced the air where a picture frame once trimmed a desk, in a prominent tower, giving form to our dreamy future.
The shape of your absence is a grand piano with the open score of Ravel’s “Gaspard de La Nuit” on the desk. A large pack with four Head racquets, two cans of balls, and a towel inside. A Cessna that grinds over the house where a flight log rests on a shelf, dust-covered. A midnight blue BMW 3 Series with a box speaker filling the trunk. A full moon. Photos of me listing against a single, tall bookend, like a dangling modifier. How the tongue claps to palate to teeth to lips when your name sings through a final upturned line.
What do I do with this space? What do I do with this space? This space.
I’ve lost your name. I can’t say it, to you, to others. No longer spoken by brother, grandparents, your peers, mine — I’ve lost a range of resonant pitch. No longer we. No longer a part of that dialogue of moms and dads with whom I once shared a field bench, an auditorium, a Thanksgiving table. The aperture of the looking glass is narrowing into a sinking horizon. My view of all life filters through an obscured green lens, like a scope in the dark night.
There are some things that happen in life that you can do a lot of work on and move forward with, then there are some events that break you and you’re never going to come back from that. It becomes another part of our life story. Yes, life moves forward, and I am here moving with it, but it’s exhausting and life is so much more fragile now. I know that even though the burden I have to carry is never going to change, my ability to carry it does.
Davin, every night I fall asleep with your essence knowing that I’ll wake into every morning without you in this life. I miss you. I miss hearing your baritone voice calling my name—Mommy. I miss your strong embrace. I miss being able to love on you and be loved by you. Today, I’ll miss the burning continuity of your 30th candle.
If words can outdistance the horizon and breach the heavens, I hope you hear me sing:
I’ll love you forever…
Tuesday’s Children Presents:
Posted on March 2, 2023 Leave a Comment
Lessons in Recovery and Resilience Virtual Speaker Series 2023
Tuesday’s Children is hosting a virtual event as part of their 2023 Lessons in Recovery and Resilience Speaker Series on the topic of Suicide Awareness, Intervention, and Post-vention. This event will provide an opportunity for attendees to hear from panelists about early prevention and intervention, grief-informed and trauma-informed practices and ways to support survivors.
Tuesday’s Children promotes long-term healing through proven, resilience-building programming in children, families, and communities impacted by devastating trauma and loss. Our Lessons in Recovery and Resilience Series provides an opportunity for audience members to hear from survivors and subject matter experts on the ways in which the communities we work with can build resilience after terrorism, military conflict, mass violence, trauma and loss. This upcoming session will be important in showing those coping with risks of suicide and grief due to suicide that they are not alone.
The event will be broadcast on a platform, where attendees will have the opportunity to send questions for panelists throughout the event, and is FREE OF CHARGE.
Please click the link below to register.
This Sacred, Unthinkable Day
Posted on November 13, 2022 Leave a Comment
Time has no reckoning for the love I hold for you in my heart–Deborah Garcia
When my beautiful son extinguished his breath in one swift act of misperceived remedy to sadness, his leaving was stretched over fourteen days of loss and ambiguity. It was excruciating. What followed a photo sent to a detective in a text message, was the initial nonchalant pronouncement, “Your son is not living,” from the police officer standing across from my heaving body in a room of my home. It was unthinkable.
Davin’s body was tagged and moved from the establishment where he did the deed, to a location I had no access to. It wasn’t like the movies where a family member is summoned to positively identify the body of a loved one. I wasn’t given the option to see him nor decide where nor how he would be handled. His death was pinned as a “suspicious crime”, until proven otherwise. While the police had confiscated his belongings and cell phone, my son was taken to a hospital morgue where his cause of death was excised. “Healthy male.” “Self-inflicted…”
November, 2020, opened into the second wave of COVID-19, shutting down in-person businesses and restricting human contact by numbers, contact tracing, and quarantine. This included hospitals, funeral homes, and restaurants. In addition, the UVM Medical Center, where I eventually learned Davin had been taken, shut down in a complete blackout from a major cyber data breach. Doors were locked, phone lines were silenced, and all non-essential procedures were ceased. For two weeks! If my rational mind could have gone on holiday, I might have had good reason to believe that this was all a Pagan hoax and my son was setting up a new life in Baja California, Mexico. Perhaps with his father. Their bodies were absent, obscured from all that is tangible, perceptible, sensible. And although I think, perhaps, it was better for my own survival to keep the imprint of my son’s bright smile unblemished by the image of his lifeless body, throughout my remaining years, I wondered, how can this be happening again?
With the assistance of a funeral director, Davin’s body was transferred to a funeral home on November 10th. Cremation happened on the 11th. His remains were finally interred on a rainy day, to a restricted gathering of fifty, beside his father in the family plot of the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery, New York, on November 13th.
Following twelve days of intense lamentation, on the morning of November 11th, in a chilled basement room of a funeral home, I spread my body over the box screwed shut that reportedly contained him, and sang our final lullaby, “I Love You Forever.” A melody I adapted from a children’s story book, that I used to sing to the boys when they were little, when we were four, and everthing, everything was beautiful.
DAVIN RICHARD GARCIA
April 8, 1993 – October 31, 2020
With deepest sorrow, we announce that Davin Richard Garcia, age 27, of Essex Junction, Vermont, joined his father in Heaven October 31, 2020, unexpectedly. He was born April 8, 1993, in Rockville Centre, New York, the beloved son of David and Deborah (nee Rieb) Garcia. He resided in the town of Freeport, New York, where he attended Lawrence-Woodmere Academy through the ninth grade, until his family relocated to the town of Essex Junction Vermont. He graduated from Essex High School in 2011, where he played clarinet in the wind ensemble, piano and alto saxophone in the jazz band, and tennis. He also played clarinet in the Vermont Youth Symphony Orchestra. Davin achieved musical accolades with the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) and the Vermont All State Music Festival, achieving first chair in Clarinet his senior year. He attended Babson College to study entrepreneurship from 2012-2014. He was a mentor and board member with the Teen Center of Essex Junction during his high school years.
Davin played baseball from the age of 6 to 16, playing high school baseball for two years before switching to Tennis. He played competitive tennis throughout his youth in the USTA Eastern Section, Long Island Region and New England Region. He was co-captain of the Essex High School tennis team in his senior year when he played an undefeated season as second and first singles, leading the team to state championships. He was a member of the Babson College tennis team during his time there. Davin loved flight and was a single clearance away from piloting his dream in the airline industry. He also enjoyed skiing, kayaking, boating, fishing, and rebuilding his car and boat.
Davin studied piano for over 25 years, clarinet for ten years, and saxophone. He was an accomplished artist who enjoyed composing works blending classical, jazz, Afro-Latin jazz, new age, rock, rap, and other genres.
Davin was an old soul with a gentle manner, who approached life with a playful humor that drew people to him through laughter, with love. Family, friends, and acquaintances will forever feel his loss, our loss.
Davin has joined his father, David Garcia, whose life was taken in the September 11th attacks of the World Trade Center. He is survived by his mother, Deborah Garcia of Essex Junction, VT, his brother Dylan of Brooklyn, NY, his paternal grandmother, Hiro Garcia of Wappinger’s Falls, NY, his maternal grandparents, Richard and Dorene Rieb of Moriches, NY, his Uncle Richard Garcia of Essex Junction, VT, his cousin Shina Ellis-Garcia of Queechee, VT, his Aunt Wendy and Uncle John and cousins of Dunkirk, MD, and a large circle of extended aunts, uncles and cousins. He is also pre-deceased by his paternal grandfather Stanley Garcia, and his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Rieb.
Davin was laid to rest in a family plot beside his father at the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery, Poughkeepsie, NY on November 13. A charitable fund TBA will be planned in his memory in the near future.
Davin, I pray that you find the peace you long for in the arms of your daddy. I love you forever, my beautiful boy.
© Deborah Garcia 2020
Images by Deboreah Garcia
The Leaving II
Posted on October 31, 2022 Leave a Comment
My son stands in the hallway my son knows what to say: Is there anything else you’d like me to do mom? // No, you’ve done a lot thank you, I say. My son stands in the hallway his bronzy eyes sweep the floor My son knows what to say: I’m going out for a little while, okay? // Maybe if you return before dark, we can work on more leaves, I say. // He nods – Maybe. My son stands in the hallway stretching his arms long for a hug My son knows what to say: I love you mom // I love you too, I say. My son stands in the hallway his bronzy eyes follow me to the kitchen What shall we do about supper? I say // I don’t know, I’ll think of something, okay? he says // Sounds good, I say. My son knows what to say: I’m going now, okay? His bronzy eyes shift sideways My son stands in the hallway I say, Have a good day // He says: [ ] You too // // // // // bye // // // // // // // now ⊕
About this poem
On the morning of October 31, 2020, my 27-year-old son, Davin, helped me prepare the house for visiting family by moving furnishings, placing things up high on closet shelves, and moving storage tubs. At 12:00 P.M., we stood in the front hall of our Vermont home and had this casual exchange, not uncommon for a Saturday. At 1:15 P.M. my sister messaged me that she was not going to arrive until the next day. At 1:31 P.M., I sent Davin a text message, “Your aunt won’t be here tonight,” so he wouldn’t have to plan a big meal. He didn’t respond, but I was unphased, thinking he was across town with his uncle watching a football game or working on a house project, as was a typical weekend for him. After a dusk hike with the dog, I looked at the clock and sent Davin a text message at 7:56 P.M., “Where are you????” Following an hour of phone calls to him, my other son, his uncle, and the hospital, a police officer arrived at my door to find a woman heaving in anxious fits. We searched his living spaces for hints, notes, a missing travel bag. We checked the phone plan log and saw his last call was at 10:46 am, to a local Inn. At 9:30 P.M. the officer says, nonchalant, “HE’S NOT LIVING.”
My beautiful boy ended his life. Losing his father on 9/11, hiding a dark childhood secret, and living with depression for several years, the quarantines and shut-downs punctuated his feelings of hopelessness. He wrote:
“I’ve felt worried about our world in general, and it’s not getting better.”
© Deborah Garcia 2022, All rights reserved
IN CELEBRATION OF MY BIRTHDAY
Posted on October 24, 2022 Leave a Comment
‘The Foundation Fighting Blindness is a nonprofit organization that funds research for discovering treatments for inherited retinal diseases, like the retinitis pigmentosa that my husband, Dave lived with. Darkened of sight but not vision. Our future descendants are at risk for having this disease passed down to them. A legacy donation brings Dave’s dream closer to the edge of a cure. The light of the world is ever arriving.
For 21-years, I have made annual donations to the FFB, funding groundbreaking research in their mission to slow and eventually stop the progression of vision loss, develop state-of-the-art technology to improve mobility and independance, and provide resources for individuals and families.
October is also my birthday month, and I’m asking you to join me in this month’s campaign by making a donation to the Foundation Fighting Blindness.
Through the month of October, the FFB is running a campaign for those affected by retinal diseases to share their journey with vision loss through story. Blindness is not a complete blackout for everyone; it’s a spectrum.
So, I am sharing pieces of Dave’s story on his behalf, through reportage and excerpts from letters he wrote to me when he was in his twenties.
In 1972, David’s mother noticed he couldn’t see her in an airport terminal. She’d felt that it didn’t warrant significant attention at the time. He was 11-years-old. Two-years later, when David was 13, his brother noticed that he was having trouble seeing in the dark. “If we were outside in dusk and I threw David a ball, he’d miss it! I noticed he’d walk into things, even in daylight. I didn’t think much of it, so I didn’t tell mom and dad right away.” Then a neighbor noticed. She said to Stan and Hiro, “something is wrong with David’s eyes”, advising them to take him to a doctor.
“So I took him to my eye doctor, said Hiro (Mitzi), and he said, if you want a second opinion, go to Montefiore Hospital in New York City. After evaluating him, they referred us to the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston, Massachusettes. That was it. David was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), recessive form.”
It was at this time that Dave was classified as legally blind, with less than 20% peripheral vision, aka tunnel vision, and night blindness.” Retinitis Pigmentosa is a progressive disease in which blood flow is restricted to the retina, and rods and cones disintegrate, resulting in night blindness and progressive loss of peripheral vision. He was given a projection for complete blindness by 40-years-of-age. There were no treatments or corrective lenses available to help him, only palliative devices, such as a white cane, a tape recorder, a therapist and a recommendation by the New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped to learn Braille. “Things began to make more sense, says Hiro. He had been bumping into things that were not too high, he just hadn’t seen it. We just thought he was clumsy.”
“I have had quite a problem with transportation. In high school, I was hurt a couple times by girls who broke up with me shortly after they found out I couldn’t drive (legally). So for the longest time I didn’t care, I’d have occasional, meaningless encounters and be satisfied. That was all I needed, all I wanted. Life keeps changing. Now I do want a little more.”
“I’m listening to a rather rare tune by Triumph off the first album called “Blinding Light Show/Moonchild”. It’s kind of two songs they combined. It’s real sweet yet powerful, something you should get your ears on if you can. “A naked heart is quickly torn apart and the burning grows… and the blind shall lead the sighted as we lose the candle glow…and no one knows tomorrow in the blinding light show…”.
From childhood opthalmologist, October, 2001
“I was always struck by David’s optimism in the face of his retinitis pigmentosa. Every time that I examined him, I left the room feeling that his illness bothered me and, of course, his parents, more than it worried him. I will never know whether deep inside, he considered his visual problems merely an unfortunate inconvenience, but nevertheless, his interactions with others was reflective of his ability to put aside this major adversity and move on with his life. This was an effort that not many people can achieve. It was always uplifting to speak with Stan and Mitzi about David’s continuing accomplishments – his education, his growing consulting business, his love of the outdoors and most importantly, his marriage, his own home and his growing family. Although the shock of his death is overpowering, I know that his good deeds and our fine memories shall always be there.”
Thank you for your gift.
Still Life with Mother
Posted on September 22, 2022 7 Comments
After Diane Seuss
My mother’s straddled atop a hydrant, her legs draped over the shield of the iron tap each with its white ruffled sock. My eyes are in love with her as they are with all enchantments that cannot escape being con- jured. She’s there to be seen if I want to see her, as she was there in her floral butter- wick apron. I was sixteen and she asked if I would cook. “Do you want to learn to make sauce?” she asked. Was it the mother? The escape artist? My poor mother was deeded the imminent call. She doesn’t look like she’s leaving, whatever it was she was cooking up. She handed me a wood spoon. As I write this, a notification pops up on my lock screen, “VOICES Together: A Virtual Gathering of the 9/11 Community.” “Yes,” I said, “You can show me.” She said, “You have to brown the pork, add crushed tomatoes, paste, a bay leaf.” She washes the cans with Chianti. “A pinch of sugar.” Pepper, oregano, garlic, simmer, I don’t recall the metrics or if I secretly wanted to study history with Donald, but thought that “yes” was the only response, or if I believed I should want to tie on an apron, I think I assumed that my time with her could make my mother linger, and this lesson was all we had, as if I’m hedging some sort of investment in futures for what I wasn’t seeing then, and so, I lowered the heat, and simmered the sauce, hence this little girl, suspended, wheat-blonde waves poodled in pigtails, her playful eyes, who reminds me of my sister when she was eight, when mother received the news after a breakdown, it was metastatic breast cancer. Young, fiery, her long browned and shining hair falling to the sink. I didn’t want to see, and yet I saw. But the young girl, I am in love with her oversized denim culottes, the floppy, double rolled cuffs, the look over her crouching shoulder, and her glorious sparkle, angelic, poised as if she could leap through the lens, forth, forward, into the opening.
© 2022 by Deborah Garcia, All rights reserved
About this poem:
This ekphrastic poem is written as a homage to my late mother, Lizzie, on the occasion of her 79th birthday. The photo of my mother as a little girl resting on a fire hydrant in a leaping position, is one that I see every day. Framed, on an antique wash stand in my home, it gives me great delight. The glance over her shoulder, staring through the lens feels like a charm, compelling me to leap into the opening of the day, despite not knowing the metrics.
Borrowing Diane Seuss’ composition style in “Still Life with Turkey,” in which she weaves a dark tale with the image of the classic painting by Chardin, I exercised this technique to weave a personal tale of reminiscence and lament, through the bending light.
Elizabeth Rieb née Teseny: September 22, 1943 – January 20, 1982
Photo credit: Personal archive. c. 1951 – Likely taken by my grandfahter, Gus (FKA Géza) Teseny, outside of their Manhattan apartment on East 90’s Street.
Posted on September 10, 2022 4 Comments
after Kerrin McCadden
my husband’s portrait is in a collage behind glass on a museum
wall of prayers his name is announced by the son who never spoke
it his smile is cast into homes of people we don’t know
his name echoes across a plaza where there used to be buildings
he’s a good dad who leaves his calling card in a kiosk
so we can find him I push two roses into the groove of his name
punched in a steel frame his sons lean over waters falling
into bedrock grit that’s spooned into a wood urn sitting on a shelf
behind the smoked glass of a cabinet that he built for his stereo
in his parent’s basement while waiting for a job interview in 1985.
I sign a custody document that has my husband’s name in Times
New Roman I call the medical examiner to claim his bones two messengers
in brown suits knock on my back door at 10 p.m. they tell
me about bones he left behind friends say they’re happy
that I have closure his nine-year old asks, who were those men, Mommy?
one rib is identified in February in May a portion of his scapula
matches the code in a Ziploc bag news bulletins report that
what remains is in a landfill with boxcutters and wristwatches his bones
are in a box with a Ziploc bag in a refrigerated trailer I’m invited for
a private viewing but I know he doesn’t want me picking at his bones.
his son cries on his spelling list because the other dads know
how to pitch baseballs so their kids can hit them just right
he has a birthday party where he takes tennis lessons I bake a cake
halved with a tennis court and a baseball diamond punctuated by nine candles
and one for good luck his son returns from school and sleeps
on the couch clutching a Matchbox car in his fist he doesn’t blow
out the five candles on his ice cream cake we open Christmas presents
mailed to his brother’s home I tell his sons Daddy isn’t coming home
God needs him he has good sons who build a tower and helicopter of Legos
and drop lines to the figures on the roof and snap jetpacks to their backs.
he is missing and I think he’s trapped in a subway tunnel splicing
wires together to put out a signal “we’re here” because he’s the
New World Man I make copies of a photo of us at his twentieth high school
reunion hot glue them onto red posterboard duct tape
them to chain-link fences and glass transit shelters a Red
Cross volunteer hands me a pocket pack of facial tissues a water bottle
and an apple New York Crime Victim’s Board hands me a check
at a folding table so I can make a mortgage payment the medical examiner
clerk hands my husband’s friend a slip of paper with a P-number
I drop his toothbrush razor and comb into a Ziploc bag
he’s taught his eight-year-old how to send an email to his brother
in Vermont a plane hit the world trade center I hope my dad
is alrite his four-year old gets off the bus from his first day
of school carrying a drawing of four stick figures holding
hands “my family” I kneel on the floor screaming Run David Run
his parents turn on their TV to witness his leaving I’m sipping
coffee at 9:03 a.m. I watch a passenger jet explode through
the south tower of the World Trade Center Big Bird stops singing
Good Morning Mr. Sun black smoke is billowing from an airplane-
shaped hole punched into the side of the World Trade Center
a passenger jet slices through floors 94-98 of tower one it’s the one
with an antenna on it I don’t remember which one his desk is in he’s
a good worker and hurries to his office instead of mailing
a disability policy he rides an elevator to the 97th floor I think
he’s listening to Return to Forever when his body explodes
into the fuselage of a 767 piloted by islamic extremists who rehearse
his murder in practice flights down the Hudson River where he motors
our boat to a lighthouse and jumps into the river to teach
his boys to ski the hijackers fly over the house where his mom prepares
his favorite soba noodles where he says, will you marry me?
our baby smiles as I snap his photo in the hinged doorway
of his first school bus ride he curls in a pink velvet armchair watching
Big Bird count to 100 by twos my husband rides the Long Island Railroad
to Penn Station he’s in a good mood because the train is
on time he runs up the street to the N64 bus and doesn’t
hear me shout I love you dear he helps our eight-year-old onto the bus
and says have a good day Davvie it’s morning the sky is blue
he hurries down the stairs and pours 2% milk into three bowls
of Cheerios he’s startled awake by the sun and verbally assaults
the clock commanding it’s late get my clothes out and pack sandwich meat in a Ziploc bag.
he’s restless and says I Love You thirteen times I ask what’s wrong
he tells me something feels strange I just want to hold you he’s synching
the to-do list and schedule from his Palm Pilot while the glue is drying
on the fractured parts of his son’s prized remote-control boat clamped on
a bench in the basement beside the Lego people waving flags forever
he takes a photo of his son holding a little league trophy
sand and tiny shells fill the pockets of his swim trunks he’s
a fun dad carrying his son on his shoulders into the tide
we go to a family barbeque he brings a toolbox to repair
a mailbox he walked into because he’s legally blind from the retinitis pigmentosa
he heard about when he wanted a learner’s permit he meets with our financial planner
and tells him we need a better disability policy and talks about
a will the babysitter is away he’s a good husband he changes
his work schedule to stay home with our boys on a September Tuesday
so I can begin a new phase of my career he takes the Hudson Line train
to his parents’ house where we meet for Labor Day weekend the boys
squeal over the edge of the bowrider he opens the throttle into the ebb
he packs a laptop duct tape and fishing poles in the caravan a photo
of us on a cabin porch in Maine with his parents and brother that
I glue-stick into a scrapbook collage and slide into a page protector.
About this poem:
This poem is a reel in prose of the present unraveling toward the last four weeks of Dave's life. The informal structure sans punctuation paces the chaos and gives all of the weight to the legacy of the character and the gravity of the loss.
© Deborah Garcia 2022, All rights reserved
VOICES 21st Annual Remembrance Symposium
Posted on September 6, 2022 Leave a Comment
The 21st Annual Remembrance Symposium presented by the VOICES CENTER FOR RESILIENCE, takes place at the Downtown Marriott Hotel in New York City. This FREE event is open to the public to attend live on September 9th and 10th, via live stream broadcast. Click the link https://voicescenter.org/events/remembrance-symposium/2022 to register now. A zoom link will be emailed to your inbox.
This year’s program is presented in partnership with the Leadership in Counter Terrorism Alumni Association (LinCT-AA) and the International Network Supporting Victims of Terrorism and Mass Violence (INVICTM). The two-day event brings together distinguished professionals working in national security, law enforcement, victims’ services, mental health, compensation, and investigations in the aftermath of 9/11, as well as other international acts of mass violence.
September 11th, 2001 is more than a single tragic day that altered the lives of a countable number of people. It is a current event that is continuously claiming lives, advancing technologies to identify the more than 1,000 victims whose remains rest in a vault, and engaging families and survivors in hearings to identify and hold those accountable for the attacks. September 11th, 2001 altered how we travel, reshaped intelligence, counterterrorism practices and disaster response, and impacted forensics labs around the world.
Saturday, September 10th, I will be speaking in a moderated discussion panel in the first session, “VOICES Stories of Resilience,” scheduled for 9:15 – 10:15 AM. Victims’ family members, responders and survivors will share their stories – demonstrating the challenges they have faced and the strength and resilience that led to personal growth. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions for those attending both in-person and virtually.
Please, also join me and the 9/11 community Saturday morning, in a pre-recorded candle lighting ceremony, that will be played via Zoom at 9:00 AM, right before the the Stories For Resilience Program.
The sessions run from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Attendees are free to enter and exit sessions at will.
Wife of David Garcia, WTC North Tower, 97th Floor