Sorry Business

       “The truth comes out of this hairbrush.” – Dula Nurruwuthun

If I could, I’d create a pole so high
it would pierce the sky, and still
would not be as tall
as you walked in this life.
I would summon truth
from my brush made of hair
to tell of your life’s essence;
the white of your pure intellect,
the green of your calming garden,
the red of your fierce heart.
It would whisper
the rose-gold of a Perth sunrise,
sigh the blue of deep absence
and my tribute would shimmer like tears
to keep your spirit company
until the weary wood lies down,
the colors fade like daylight
to velvet night,
and I am left with
this sorriest of business.

-for Rachel Cheetham Moro, 1971-2012

On the islands north of Australia, the mourning period is known as sorry business. Some funerals include carved personal totems with designs applied by brushes made of human hair.
~ from an exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum

© 2012 Jackie Fox

Published in Issue 11 of Touch: The Journal of Healing

Remembering Rachel

She was curious about Nebraska winters.

I was curious about Australian food.

She held Komen’s feet to the fire with her laser intelligence and professional accounting skills. Her brilliant “Komen by the Numbers” post, now two years old and the first in a series, is still being shared and will be for a long time.

I gave Komen the benefit of the doubt for far too long. Rachel did more than anyone to open my eyes to Komen as a brand.

She invited me to be her friend on Facebook. I don’t do friends on FB. But such is Rachel’s power that I couldn’t say no. When I told her that in a message, she wrote “Hahahaha. . I’m so honored to have made the cut Jacks!” (Jacks was her nickname for me. She told me Aussies are big on nicknames. I never got over being thrilled when she called me that.)

Her personal Facebook page is down now but I can’t bring myself to unfriend her, just as we can’t bring ourselves to remove @ccchronicles from our group #FFs and sherpa hugs on Twitter. We’re not ready.

I worried when her tweets slowed down and was thrilled when she was able to join the #bcsm tweetchats in spite of massive fatigue and loss of her writing/typing hand. She would sign off, “Good night, John Boy.”

I thought of her when the engineering firm I work for hired a new Australian operations director, and I posted a picture of the Australian flag on our company Facebook page.

I will think of her wickedly funny tweets whenever I’m in my oncologist’s waiting room. I tweeted in her honor on my Wednesday visit, fighting the urge to laugh at the valentines parked on the IV stands and the urge to cry because I can’t believe she is really gone.

I will think of her whenever I listen to Angus and Julia Stone. They’re an Aussie brother and sister duo who make great acoustic music. I never got a chance to ask her if she liked their music.

I wish I had seen her post about the vintage red Karmann Gia. I would have told her about the red Camaro Z28 I owned for awhile in my early 40s. I hope she’s zipping around Heaven in that red car right now.

I will think of her whenever I make the pesto recipe she shared.

I will think of her whenever I see something ridiculous and pink.

Her family and friends are celebrating her life today in New Jersey–28 years to the day after we laid my father-in-law to rest.

Rachel was larger than life. And now she’s larger than death.