Sunday, March 27, 2011

Remembering Joe: Grief and Recovery

Subject: Two months ago
Date: Mar 24, 2011 7:47 AM

It is almost incomprehensible to me that Joe has been dead two months now. Up here in Santa Fe, alone in this empty house, I have had to confront my grief in ways I never did in the hustle and bustle of Albuquerque. Yesterday was the first day I got through without crying. Three tears while on the phone with my sister offering to send me the photos of Joe’s last birthday party, when I’m strong enough. I’m not strong enough yet but she’ll save them for me.

I do look forward to the Border Book Festival on April 8 and my plane flight out of the country on the 27th. Everything is new now, the van remodeled for one, new dishes, new cups, I just can’t look at the old stuff. I even bought new underwear. Most of the time I have spent up here crying and shopping.

I was invited into a women’s writers group in Santa Fe, we meet on Mondays. I sob as I read. Joe’s friend Mona came down from Taos, she has lost a son at 23, she and I both sobbed at the table at Whole Foods as we tried to eat our lunch. I cry when I get up, cry when I go to bed and try to fill the hours productively in between.

But I’m not asking for pity. Grief is simply work that must be done. I have had so much support from all of you. The pace will really pick up in April. I’ll go back to Las Cruces for April, got a place to stay. My van will be painted while I’m gone, so I am ecstatic about that. After three years of restoration this will be the final thing to do. When I get back from Mexico I see myself driving around the Southwest hitting all the open mics and selling Joe’s book out of the back of my van, just like so many others I have known.

I’ll get there, I will be happy again, I know it, Joe would want it for me. I believe I have dwelt too long on remembering him there at the last. I made some more chapbooks of poetry taken from the book and working on a project always makes me feel better. I get so much satisfaction from my artistic endeavors. I went to a bead shop and restrung my pearls. It’s a long necklace, then I added a giant cross to the pearls and now I look like a nun with a pearl rosary. All these images comfort me. I’ll get there.

Happy Trails

Beatlick Pamela

Editor's Note: Beatlick Joe Speer's book Backpack Trekker: A 60's Flashback is available at