Too young to die

Tomorrow is bittersweet. It’s Father’s Day, which for many offers a host of mixed emotions.  Sons and daughters who’ve never know their dad or did and he abandoned them. Perhaps you’re one of those who have yet to forgive yourself or still navigate the hurt feelings between you and your kids. Others of you may long for the dad who is no longer here. What remains are the memories of precious moments you shared and the longing for one more embrace. Still for every broken family or those who’s fathers have passed, there are millions who celebrate the joy of being a father, stepfather or having a dad you can still hug and love. Whatever the case, tomorrow is the day to celebrate fatherhood. It is also the anniversary of the tragic death of my youngest brother Seth, who fell asleep at the wheel of his car early on the morning of June 16, 1999.  This is a day I celebrate the wonderful fearless young man he was.

I think of him often. Sometimes I feel his presence while I am hiking along the coast in West Marin, or in a gust of wind on a hot summer day refreshing my soul with a cool breeze.

Today I had an opportunity to share a poem written about Seth.  As I began to read, I felt a calm chill on my cheek. I knew he was with me. He never lived long enough to become a dad, but had he, I am sure he would’ve made a great father.

In honor Dads everywhere and for my brother Seth, this poem is my gift to you.

Happy Father’s Day.

SETH- courtesy of Matthew Barash
Seth Langwell Circa 1998- Photo, Matthew Barash

Too young to die

Too young to die

I’ll never forget the day mom called

That rainy Sunday when Seth ended it all

Life was too much for him to bear

Gave up too soon

his passing there

Asleep at the wheel

crashed into a tree

Why? Oh Why,

I cried.

Why did he have to

die?

Perhaps he’s better,

Perhaps he’s free.

Time it’s said heals all wounds

Bullshit is what I really think

I’m sad and don’t know what to do.

I cried myself to sleep last night

Prayed for my brother,

To see the light.

Perhaps he’s in a better place,

Above the swaying redwoods

In heaven,

Or,

at least,

I hope,

in a sacred place.

Waterfall

Swollen clouds laden black,
Filled with life.
Lightning cracks.

Like a wanton lover, your fire burns.
Electric and bright.
With each new flash — a tremble, a roar.

Your load is heavy.
Clouds burst open.
Streams race onward through the forest floor.

Alive, raging, serpentine.

Down,
up and over,
around and through.

Streams breach their soggy banks, marching onward, toward the sea.
No obstacle is spared. They will not be denied.

Granite stream beds worn smooth as stones collide.
Tumbling, rolling, toward a sharp precipice.
Cascades of falls,
Plunge deeper still.

Water has no conscience it merely flows on.
Twisting, shaping, giving life in its path.
Her waters spread wide, the meadow will soon bloom.

A sigh contented by dawns early light.
Two lovers embrace in pure delight.