Sunday, May 28, 2017

Hodgepodge 211/365 - Brian Doyle

Brian Doyle, a writer beloved of so many, died yesterday at age sixty after being diagnosed with brain cancer in late November. His "Final Prayer" started circulating on Facebook, and I posted it as well, and have reread it many times. It epitomizes his joyous life force so perfectly. I'm lazily including it here today because I will want to keep on rereading it, and I'll be able to find it here.

Here is a fierce piece called "On Not 'Beating' Cancer" (written in 2009, not about his own illness).

And here, one called "Dawn and Mary" (2013) about Sandy Hook and heroic courage.

"A Prayer for Our Daily Murder" (2015) evokes his deep religious faith and passionately seeking nature.

On a lighter side is "The Place Where I Write" (2012).

And finally (you can go find others: there are lots, many of them very short, though he wrote books also: he was prolific), "Joyas Voladores" (2003), about hummingbirds, sort of. Also whales. Mostly, though,  about heart: the red thread that binds all his work.

Which brings me back to his

Final Prayer

Dear Coherent Mercy: thanks. Best life ever.

Personally I never thought a cool woman would come close to understanding me, let along understanding me but liking me anyway, but that happened!

And You and I both remember that doctor in Boston saying polite but businesslike that we would not have children but then came three children fast and furious!

And no man ever had better friends, and no man ever had a happier childhood and wilder brothers and a sweeter sister, and I was that rare guy who not only loved but liked his parents and loved sitting and drinking tea and listening to them!

And You let me write some books that weren't half bad, and I got to have a career that actually no kidding helped some kids wake up to their best selves, and no one ever laughed more at the ocean of hilarious things in this world, or gaped more in astonishment at the wealth of miracles everywhere every moment.

I could complain a little right here about the long years of back pain and the occasional awful heartbreak, but Lord, those things were infinitesimal against the slather of gifts You gave mere me, a muddle of a man, so often selfish and small. But no man was ever more grateful for Your profligate generosity, and here at the very end, here in my last lines, I close my eyes and weep with joy that I was alive, and blessed beyond measure, and might well be headed back home to the incomprehensible Love from which I came, mewling, many years ago.

But hey, listen, can I ask one last favor? If I am sent back for another life, can I meet my lovely bride again? In whatever form? Could we be hawks, or otters maybe? And can we have the same kids again if possible? And if I get one friend again, can I have my buddy Pete? He was a huge guy in this life—make him the biggest otter ever and I'll know him right away, okay? Thanks, Boss. Thanks from the bottom of my heart. See You soon.

Remember—otters. Otters rule. And so: amen.
From his Book of Uncommon Prayer (2014).

1 comment:

  1. Ah, Brian. The red thread that binds his work indeed is heart.