June 13, 2009

Today is Owen’s birthday.  He would have been 23.  Now, he is timeless.

Owen as art, 2005

Owen as art, 2005

Photo by Carla, thank you, my sweet friend.  This is one of my favorite photos of him, from a period in his late teens when he painted his face, his canvas.

I talked with Carla today as I was looking for a rose bush in a local nursery.  Owen and I used to go to King’s Nursery when he was a kid.  He always liked shopping for plants, playing in the dirt, picking out the spots for his plants, and watching them grow.  Tonight, when Dave got off work, he planted the white rose plant named “Honor” in our backyard. 

On Owen’s 14th birthday, I took him to a driving range (golf) in San Diego, where we were living at the time.  While he hit a bucket of balls into the distance, I sat watching him from the car.  I wrote in my journal about who he was at the time.  That journal is in one of my boxes of binders, having never been committed to the computer, so I can’t quote any of it now.  What I recall is this.  I was trying to describe him as living somewhere between reality and art, and in that invisible space where the two meet.

I spent most of today alone, up early watching the Food Network, dozing in and out of reality, and hoping to find something beautiful in my day – in the way of a survivor, the lucky ones, anyway.  A little over a month ago, Nat hung different paintings in our dining room.  They are Lea’s paintings, and we had just shipped those that were previously hanging there to Lea for an exhibit that began in May.  I found something beautiful today, the rose bush, and tonight when I walked from the living room to the kitchen, I paused in the dining room to say, “Hey, Beautiful” to the painting titled, “88 Days on Mercury”.  I was blessed twice.  This painting has special meaning to my family, as it is the piece Lea painted after a conversation between Karma, Lea, and myself – seemingly so long ago now.  In all of this, I realized, I was not alone.

88-days-on-mercury88 Days on Mercury

It’s late, and I still have the makings of nachos waiting for me on the kitchen counter.  My birthday ritual for Owen is a dinner of nachos, a Coke, planting something in Owen’s honor, and my ever-present search for beauty.  Thank you, Lea, for your gift of this painting.

Nat, Anna, and Ruby are camping this weekend on the coast.  I missed them today, and I’m so happy they’re getting on with life.  I heard from Laura, Nat and Owen’s cousin, the one that reminds me so much of Owen – the commonalities, their faces, the way they move through the world – music, art, walking, writing, an attentiveness to things none of the rest of us see the same way.  Thanks, Lo, for emailing me.  Lea called me this afternoon when she was sitting outside Woods Coffee, doing the crossword, camera on the table but no energy to take photos.  She said all she wanted to say was, “Happy Birthday, Owen.”  Thanks, Lea.  It’s what I wanted to say, too.

Today, I heard from family and friends, I found a plant, I found art, I found beauty, I found music, I found nachos – and in those things…I found Owen again.

Susannah, mother of her recently deceased son, Jim, sent me this song today.  He was 22, a creative, sensitive young man with eyes that looked out onto eternity.  She found us here in May.  Thank you, Susannah.  I’ll think of Jim tonight when I light a candle for Owen.

Song for the night:  Keep Me in Your Heart, Warren Zevon (You’ll always be in my heart and in my head, Owen Riley)




~ by Linda on June 13, 2009.

10 Responses to “June 13, 2009”

  1. I know how tough birthdays can be. Andy’s birthday has come round three times since his death, and I still haven’t got a clue how to deal with it. Here’s hoping you’re finding peace and are surrounded by love in these days just after. I’ll be thinking of you and your family.


  2. Hi Linda,

    I may not visit this blog very often, but you are often in my thoughts. When I opened your blog today and found it had been Owen’s birthday I wanted to say something special – but I haven’t the words. So please accept a cyber hug and know that this stranger cares and understands.
    Blessings to you all. Thank you for sharing your precious memories.

  3. Hi Linda,

    I wish I had something really profound to say…but well, I’m me so that probably not going to happen. But I can send you happy thoughts and a hug, wrapped in a whole lot of caring. 🙂

  4. I have learned from you to mark anniversaries and will do the same for my Jim this Father’s Day. Father’s Day has always been celebrated as both Father’s Day AND the anniversary of Jim’s coming to the US. The year he came, it was Father’s Day. We will do what we did when he was younger and have Chilean food and listen to Latin music.

    Friends are coming, and we want to make him happy as he sees his friends gathering here once again.

    Thank you for so much, Linda.

    Much love,


  5. Such gorgeous eyes. That is a great photo.

    Thinking of you today, Linda and wishing you peace.

    And hell yeah, nachos!

  6. I haven’t been by as of late..but I have not forgotten you..or Owen.
    On June 13 I was in south Florida celebrating my Grandmother turning 102. So she and Owen share that day. She is lingering between here and the other side. She told me that her Father came for her..but she firmly told him “No, not yet I am not ready!” It would make sense that he would come..she was such a Daddy’s girl!
    Much I could tell you, but I will will spare you. I will say this..I know we are not alone here..I’ve seen with my own eyes. You know too..you’ve had many signs and messages from your beloved Owen!

    Love and light to you,


  7. Ps I see an old soul when I peer into Owen’s eyes. I am a very old soul myself.

  8. Been thinkin about ya a lot lately. Hope you’re well.


  9. Where are you Linda?

  10. I’ve always known that a man’s true spirit emerges when he hits golf balls on the driving range. I just never got anyone else ever to see it that way before.

    Great picture, and Lea’s painting is marvellous, too.

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