Time. Time seems to have always been an issue for Norb and I. Because we met in the later years of life, because it moves too fast, because there never seemed to be enough it to get done all the writing, all the travels, daily tasks, errands and still have hours for friends & family and each other. All that stopped last year. One year already … April 23rd. 2013 … the man left this earth. In April. The month of re-birth. Renewal.
And time stopped. The finality of death, especially someone’s who was so vibrant, alive and OUT there! as Norbert Blei, stopped everything for this woman. The sobering gong of GONE continues to ring, even as we-who-loved-him anxiously seek out one more thing we can do for him, to keep him alive in our days and efforts, and to honor his memory and his life’s work.
Planning his Memorial kept us going through June. Then came efforts to move the Coop to the ‘Write ON! Center’ in Juddville; friends created a Scholarship at Gibraltar High in his name, others changed an Award designation at the Council of Wisconsin Writers to commemorate Norb’s work. Fellow classmates from The Clearing began work mid-winter on a compilation of essays he’d sent out the call for, in honor of The Clearing – and Norb as teacher. Essays, articles, books and poems have been written and dedicated to him.
Just this past month, the saddest task came, emptying our beloved home on Europe Lake Road of 46 years of life & memory that lived within those walls.
How do we find yet one more event, word, task we can do for him? Have we accomplished every effort envisioned? For a man as dedicated to the art of writing and teaching as Norb? Not hardly. His influence and love continue, his voice rings in our ears urging us to “Get it down”, capture the moment, and “Send it out there!” I hear his voice assuring me that “Someone out there desperately needs to hear what you have to say”. For me, the writer I most needed to hear, was Norbert Blei.
Now comes April again, with all its promise of rebirth and blooming … how can anyone leave this earth so abundant, in April? Our tulips, crocuses, daffodils & narcissus push their way to the sun in front of the old house – with neither of us there to oogle there arrival.
What remains is the spirit he continues to urge forth in new shoots of writing, words that spring to the page, his encouragement echoes. It’s what he told us to do. Write it down.
“There ain’t no cure for Love”
~ Leonard Cohen
How do we mourn our shadow?
my echo, the skin on my shoulder where
…….he was always present,
…….together or apart.
…….He was “there”.
Still is. ~ Jude Genereaux