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The Drunken Mule

March 14, 2012

Looking for Don is now available, and people are ordering it. Better still, they are reading it and are sending me comments. Every time I see a comment pop up on my computer, my first impulse is to run to Don’s room and show it to him. “Read this!” Then realization hits me.

The commotion surrounding the book’s release stirs my emotions, often making it more difficult to bear his absence. Urgently, I feel the need to bring him back in my memory and into the experience of my life–now, in this moment.

As I travel back into our life, the first thing I hear is our laughing together. We were able to laugh even during his final days in the Intensive Care Unit! We were often drunk with laughter. With the sound of our laughter, I see his dancing eyes. Then, I remember that neither Don nor I could dance.

I recently went to a performance by the New York City Ballet. The ballet had three parts (Agon, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, and Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3, all choreographed by George Balanchine). The first part had no stories, but consisted of a series of dance movements in simple costume. The movements were simplicity made most beautiful, eloquent and impeccable. I was soaked in them, far away in the balcony, my heart joyously dripping praises without words.

As I wished that Don were there with me, I saw him waving at me and heard him, “Go mad with beauty while you can. You and I never danced like that. But we had our own dances, dances with our eyes. Now our souls dance with movements astounding and uplifting.”

For sure, we could not dance with our bodies, but we tried to see and hear dancing sounds: in the noises around us, in the passing wind, in the rustling of leaves, in the laughter of children, in the movements of clouds–most of all, in our laughter.

I feel drunk with memories, as we were in our laughter. As I wipe away tears that fill my eyes, I find a poem by Hafiz that speaks to my emotions.  Here is the last stanza.

 The Mule Got Drunk and Lost in Heaven

 The mule I sit on while I recite

Starts off in one direction

But then gets drunk

 And lost in


I see Don laughing with this poem. I hope Don got drunk with that mule and lost in heaven.


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  1. Jon Oh permalink

    I loved the book. It was compelling, comforting, energetic and entertaining. A treasure. Hated to leave the prose, poetry and paintings but now awaiting yours/Don’s memoirs.
    Jon K. Oh

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