ring the bell

I spoke to Roger on the phone tonight for the first time in several weeks. I haven't mentioned Roger by name in a single posting. Not on this blog. Not on the Rocky Top blog.

Roger was Wendy's husband. He was, and is, one of the closest friends I've ever had. I proposed to Tab on their couch. I called him at 2 am on several occasions to read him bad poems. I held their son, Jhett, when he was the size of a loaf of bread. Even before I lost one brother, I had found another. After the accident, we called each other across the country and around the world to howl our agony.

We talked about this film--really talked about it--for the first time ever. That conversation is between us. However, it made me keenly aware that my family and friends--especially those whose lives were changed by Brian and Wendy's deaths--are watching the whole thing unfold again.

Later, as I watched TV with Chad and Jen, I was asking myself why I'm doing this. Why am I putting Tab and Roger and our kids and siblings and parents and friends through this? What is there to learn? What is there to gain?

I don't know. I can only say that sixteen years ago a hammer struck and I am a bell that's been ringing ever since. I don't know how not to.

One thought on “ring the bell

  1. Chad, too, is still ringing. I know this because Chad and I clung to each other after Brian died. Chad was Brian's best friend. His brother. We each held a piece of Brian and we tried hard to match them up. The years went by and our friendship, founded in grief, deepened and developed in its own right. I figured out a long time ago that Chad was Brian's parting gift to me.

    The poets--Roger and Hans and Tony and me and all the others--we channeled our grief into poetry...and plays...and anything else that might hold a little of it. Chad's art is film. It's been a wonder and a privilege to see him at his craft. This is a story he has to tell, too. And he needs my help. I don't know what he will learn from it or how he will gain. But I understand that he must tell it.

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