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Friday, October 21, 2016

My brother's art and service created a beautiful life


This week I lost my dearest brother, David Abramson, one of the kindest, gentlest people I will ever know. Sixty-four years was not nearly enough to be connected, so I'm sure we'll meet again in the next rooms of existence. Among the several arts he pursued -- visual and culinary as well -- was the bliss of making music. He wrote songs, he led several bands, and he was always learning more about his craft. In the last year of his life, he was deprived of the ability to sing, and even to talk much. I'm posting this video generously shared on Facebook by his band mate Paul Henry so we can all hear his voice again. There are many more recorded songs, but few videos. I cherish this one! The guy with the long gray ponytail is David Abramson, my little brother who I recently awarded elder sibling status to for his wisdom and support. Rock on, Davey. I'm sure in the between-life you're in now, there's a band waiting for their lead singer.


Art was something we learned at home, from our painter father and musician mother. How making it, at any level, is bliss. I would watch my father at his easel, contemplating intently the strokes he had just made with the brush, dipping it in the jar of turpentine, and a little in the oils on his palette, maybe remixing a color, and then just a dab or two on the canvas. Then he would step back and observe. Then step in again with another idea, This could go on for hours.

I believe it was from observing a creative mind at work that David and I learned that creating is bliss. Our mother was at the piano, practicing her parts in the Pro Musica Chorale performances. Sometimes she would just play a whole piece for the beauty of it. We observed that same absorption and self-transcendence in those creative moments. He took up painting and I took up dance. He would up with music and I with writing as our main forms of making. I'm sure he will be making music in the next room where he has gone, and in the rooms of life beyond that one. I'm sure at some point we'll again make things together, the way we made support and kindness for each other as siblings.
I'm measuring my grief in memories. 

It feels like homework from God,
remembering you, brother.
Digging deeply into the stream
of memories and feelings as they flow
past the stone pillar I’ve lately become.

I sort and weigh the meaning
of having a brother of such fineness,
seamed with gold
as he served his many communities,
silver-haloed by a fine long mane
as if you were the older one,
which would at least have made a little more
sense of your having to leave first.

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