“the ongoing power of your spirit …”

Dear Marilyn,

Greetings from the Big Apple – my first trip here since your release from prison. I so wanted to be able to see you in person when you got out, and sorry not to have written sooner. I don’t know why writing to you is always such a challenge, given how much I treasure the way it conjures your presence. I think that you inspire me to make me want my letters to rise above the trivial and mundane and convey moral or political substance worthy of your great heart, mind, and spirit. But in truth, it is your caring and concern about those little things in our personal lives that reveal so much about your generosity of spirit. I’m just sorry it took me so long to realize how really sick you were – much less believe that you are really gone.

There are many reasons for this. One, of course, is that you complained so very little about your health, despite the pain that you endured. Another is that since the vast majority of our relationship was carried out long-distance, your physical absence does not create much of a difference in my daily routine. But the biggest is the ongoing power of your spirit to encourage, inspire, and challenge us to be more courageous, creative, and caring than we might have been, had we never met you.

The main thing I wanted to talk with you about, though, was those 7:00 .a.m meditations. In the end, although I’m not sure how much they did for you,  I can tell you that what they  did do for me – strengthening my spiritual core and disciplines (let’s not comment, here, about the radical materialist being the one to teach this lesson to the Christian minister). I still have a long way to go, but bit by bit these practices are helping me replace some of my chaos with order, some of my tension with tranquility.

This letter is not intended as a covert attempt to push some concept of the afterlife to which many of your friends would object. It is, however, a statement about what I  experience to be simply true: that your spirit is very much alive, continuing to inspire, strengthen, and encourage us in so many ways for all the work that remains to be done.

Marilyn, querida hermana, I miss you so much – but you remain very much “¡presente!”



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The extended friends and family of Marilyn Buck, 1947-2010
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