In Memory

Doug Smith

Doug Passed away in September 2006.


The following was written by Tammy Ward to Doug's brother, Rick, on Dougs' passing.

When we were young, so many years ago,
you appeared on a rainy evening in June, boldly scaling
the front steps, bravely facing a suspicious father.
(If only he had known then how safe I would be.
But he could only see the threat to a daughter’s innocence.)
He saw you as I did, so young, so beautiful;
I thought of you as a modern David, with Goliath’s strength.
Years later I had reasons to believe that, for you,
the more accurate parallel would have been Job.

I was instantly drawn to laughing eyes flecked with gold,
glowing with your laughter. Even then your voice,
deep and resonant, drew me from my quiet solitude,
an intrusion I forgave easily. Living in your own silent prison
you understood my silence. It provided the background
against which your words and our songs seemed mere flashes
of lightning against the darkened sky. (Now I only hear
your voice in the hazy moments between sleep and waking.)
Singing, we found joy; I tried to blend my voice
into the song you were, to be the harmony I intuitively knew
that you needed to make you whole. ( There is no counterpoint
worthy of the haunting melody that was your interlude.)

You were constantly dancing; even motionless,
I saw you straining to move. Your hands, strong
and somehow too gentle, drew me into the steps
that I never had the grace to attempt alone.
Those were days of discovery, of exploration.
We talked, laughed, stared in wonder and delight
that two strangers could so quickly be at ease,
could have such similar needs, yet be so different.

We rushed to return to responsibilities after
hours spent wandering darkened forest paths,
And scaling waterfalls, searching for a perfect place,
comforting and welcoming, forgiving,
a place we never found outside our friendship.
we saw the beauty surrounding us in the mountains,
were blind to that enemy, time, and ignorant of the pain
that society inflicts, that families blindly bestow.
Even then you sought forgiveness. Though I never believed
that you intentionally chose that mark, it cost you god,
family, and several friends. Without hesitation
you granted me acceptance and forgiveness when I needed it.

So much love, so much compassion, so much honor
when we fumbled in the dark. Such different passions
driving our bodies; you, trying to deny the growing fear,
And me, simply trying to lose my virginity.
I loved you then, as only youth can love, freely.
We were naïve and innocent. Such genuine regret for both of us.
I never told you how much I appreciated your gentle rejection,
Your inner strength that left me able to share that moment
With the man we both loved. How ironic, that we both lost him.

One day you were gone, leaving only a note,
A promise to return. A note entombed for years
With the other scraps of our youth, a ticket stub,
a dried corsage, an old felt hat. The ensuing years
brought responsibility and left little time for impulsive thoughts.
I lived in a prison built of the silence of your absence.
Often I worried, less often found relief in a message or visit.
Always silence again. So many years when I thought of you,
dark nights when the memory of your friendship comforted me.

. . . . . . . . . .

Tonight, I sit immobile, transformed by knowledge,
in the silence of your absence. Finally, I have
a hard, harsh answer to my search for you.
Questions asked always with the hope of a sudden,
joyous reunion with my lost, but never forgotten, friend,
confidant, almost lover. Hope shattered, the questions
have changed and will remain unanswered
in the silence that your voice will never breach.

Time passes quickly while I hesitate, try to comprehend
how it is possible not to feel the change.
It did not slow for us then and it will not pause for me now.
Where do I find the strength, the courage, to write the words
that I know must be written, that must be faced, acknowledged?
Beautiful and terrible words that are both confession and farewell?
Confession of my failure to provide support and love
to one whose presence shaped the woman I became.
Farewell to one I cannot believe will ever disappear
while I continue to see him young and beautiful.

. . . . . . . . . .

If I believe enough, will it be? Can I believe you into being?
If I open my mouth to sing the songs we shared,
sing harmony again, will you return from the silent years
to sing the melody that we once knew?.
Can I sink into the notes and become part of where you are?
Or will I slip silently away, into the abyss that beckons?
Can I close my eyes and to find strength to never open them again,
to become your reality? Can I join you in silence?

How do I face the truth without remorse, without guilt?
If I allow emotion to surface, write openly of the anger
and depression, will I heal or surrender to despair?

I stand on the beach at midnight as the storm comes slowly
up the coast. Black clouds slowly overtaking the black-blue sky
as the wind rises, forcing waves higher on the shore.
Seafoam is not pale green, but a sad, tired color, the expulsion
of a storm tossed sea. The color of surrender.
I drink one more glass of wine, to you, to us, to silence.
Smothering the last suicidal instinct, I speak the words,
at last breaking the my silence with a tear drenched whisper -
You are dead.

. . . . . . . . . .

I walk home, alone, in the rain, to my room,
to the memory of dreams, mixed and scattered,
fallen along the way. Can I still see you just beyond
the limits of my sight? Gold and black, red and white.
We were once leather and wine, heather and blue spruce.
Once we laid in peace, together, ambitious.
Then came roses and ribbons, iron and blood
And you lay alone this time, in silence.
April 2001

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03/08/09 03:31 PM #1    

Rene' Truitt (Meade)

Doug was always so much fun to be around and he was the GREATEST dancer ever. (He and I used to dance in secret and it was a blast.)

Doug was a good friend and a fantastic person. I miss him every time I think about him, which is often.

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