April is tricky; it holds the best and the worst moments in my life. Reflecting upon the day in City Park when We said “I do” — i fly high. Blooms and buds and love abounds. Recalling the moment He was hit, and later transitioned — i free fall. Cement and machines and permanent stillness. The mind tries to forget, but the cells remember.
So i usually try to ‘be gone’ from wherever my home base is for the entire month of April.
Navigating daily life in a different locale keeps the mind stimulated…and distracted. (i did take one journey to commemorate our anniversary…to camp out back in our thirty-year old tent.) However this year there is a viral pandemic. There is no travel, diversionary or otherwise. Instead, there are sheltering-in-place orders and the world’s people are donning masks for protection.
Back in 2011, dear Mia designed a kerchief to be waved in the second-line at Tom’s Fare-Thee-Well.
Forward to early April 2020. Mia texts me a photo wearing the same kerchief as a mask. Seeing Tom’s image come to life in that way instills a sense of…sangfroid (look it up, i did). Then on Easter Sunday a photo arrives from another New Orleans friend, Alex, also wearing the bandana as a mask.
Earlier that morning my twin, Kurt, had sent me an audio message. In it, to playfully annoy his children, he belted out a best-I-ever-heard classic rendition of an old Easter Sunday school hymn about Christ’s resurrection, “He Lives!” Beholding Alex’s picture, I shout the chorus with name replacement, “He Lives! Tom Lives!” Tom Epps has been conjured to this earthly realm, and i ache for more. So i ask.
Looking back from the perspective of May, i feel shamefully selfish for that solicitation. And in light of our new surreal real, those sentiments seem trivial. But the sugar kindness in wearing Tom’s kerchief, breathed life into his image…and thereby, into me. In this time of unprecedented uncertainty and isolation, i feel neither. We are family, friends…we’re in our cells, our selves.
COMIC RELIEF AUDIO: HE LIVES by Kurt Miller
Stay well, please.
You are so beautiful to me. – Joe Cocker (had to)
You didn’t have to love me like you did
But you did, but you did
(And I thank you) – Sam and Dave
Don’t let us get sick
Don’t let us get old
Don’t let us get stupid, all right?
Just make us be brave
And make us play nice
And let us be together tonight. – Warren Zevon