“Flow my tears, the policeman said”

Do you know who wrote that? Only one of the GREATEST science fiction writers of all time, Mr. Philip K. Dick. You should recognize him; he is the author of a number of stories and books that have been set to film, including Blade Runner, The Minority Report, and Next.

So why have I returned from yet another hiatus to mention the great PKD? Because, after the misery and anguish I have described in these pages, he has brought me the best language to describe something I could ever imagine. In this text he discusses love and grief, saying:

“When you love you cease to live for yourself; you live for another person.”

“Grief causes you to leave yourself. You step outside your narrow little pelt. And you can’t feel grief unless you’ve had love before it–grief is the final outcome of love, because it’s love lost. You do understand; I know you do. but you just don’t want to think about it. It’s the cycle of love completed: to love, to lose, to feel grief, to leave, and then to love again.”

But to grieve; it’s to die and be alive at the same time. The most absolute, overpowering experience you can feel, therefore. Sometimes I swear we weren’t constructed to go through such a thing; it’s too much–your body damn near self-destructs with all that heaving and surging. But I WANT to feel grief. To have tears.”

Grief reunites you with what you’ve lost. It’s a merging; you go with the loved thing or person that’s going away. In some fashion you split with yourself and accompany it, go part of the way with it on its journey. You follow it as far as you can go.”

“But finally,” Ruth said, clearing her throat, “the grief goes away and you phase back into this world. Without him.”

…”You cry, you continue to cry, because you don’t ever completely come back from where you went with him–a fragment broken off your pulsing, pumping heart is there still. A nick out of it. A cut that never heals. And if, when it happens to you over and over again in life, too much of your heart does finally go away, then you can’t feel grief any more. And then you yourself are ready to die. You’ll walk up the inclined ladder and someone else will remain behind grieving for you.”


I had pretty much stopped crying a while before I read this. And then I cried for a couple days, I think. I needed to get away from it, from the depth of it, before I could read it again and quote it here for you. It describes what I’ve been feeling to the t (now that’s a weird expression that I never understood…until now). In my mind, I had imagined finding my friend Don again after all this time…what we would say to each other (I of course imagined it would be a re-connect via phone call or email communication), how happy we would both be to catch up on our exploits, and how we would plan to figure out how to get our families to meet each other and to see each other again. It took a giant nick out of my heart to find out he had passed from this space/time continuum. I lost breath, and for a time, the world was a much darker place. I tried to walk part-way up that inclined stair, to call out, to plead for him to come back, but without the power of God, could do nothing. Nothing, except hold and press tightly to the spot in my chest where the blood from the nick in my heart was running. I dream every now and again, standing on my lowly spot on the stair, holding in my pain; I look through the glass darkly in hope that I catch a glimpse of him, that he catches a glimpse of me, and knows that we have an appointment when I cross over. I need to tell him all these things and more, and I pray that I will be forgiven for being too late, for not reaching out, left only to stand and wonder.


Saturday, May 30th, 2009 Confessions of a Cave Dweller

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