Au revoir…


Beauty comes in many a guise.

He loved Beauty.

Mayhap, ‘tis why they loved one another.

For both were beautiful, inside and out.

Some say they were mimetic

Each reflecting the other.

I believe they were symbiotic.


When he saw Gaudi in Barcelona

He decided he would be an architect

For the beauty of lines.


He loved books. So did I. Did we.

What can be more beautiful

Than a book? Well-read. Worn-out.

Full of sand and grime.

Or leather-bound from centuries past.

We both liked Paul Auster and

Frank Herbert’s Dune, the desert planet.

He knew all about Muad’dib and

The Reverend Mothers of the Bene Gesserit :

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.*

He loved music from Jazz to Radiohead

To Blues to Dépêche Mode…

Music is one of Beauty’s incarnations.


He’d found that secret place at the end of the world.

A Finis Terrae called The Capes.

Cabo San Lucas to the West

San José del Cabo to the East.

If you sail down straight on South

You will reach Antartica.


He liked graphic novels.

What the French and Belgian call BD,

Bande dessinée. The ninth Art.

He admired French artist Moebius

Aka Jean Giraud. A most talented sketch artist,

Moebius-Giraud would have drawn The Capes well.


His keen, bright eyes observed the world

Twice as much as he talked.

Most talk twice as much

As they should.


He’d come to the Capes with a few friends.

He so loved Friendship, another name for Beauty.

A big reddish house, with a large terrace

Overlooking the Sea of Cortez

Wild hares springing about in the nearby desert.


Dune might have looked so:

Arid, dry hills sloping down gently towards the sea.

Meagre shrubbery. Lone cacti.

Many birds. Of all shapes and hues.

He knew the names of all birds of prey.

Hawks, falcons, eagles.


I saw an eagle ten yards away

Gliding low above the beach.

Two feet wide. Almost black from head to talons,

The tips of each wing creamy white

As if the eagle wore gloves.

I don’t know the eagle’s name.


He’d found a lone beach at the end of that world.

Half an hour’s ride on a dirt road.

A small beach, two or three hundred yards wide maybe?

To the right, a low rocky hill tumbles into the sea.

To the left, a sandy hill, all cracked and parched by the sun

Leads you to the second beach.

No one there. Just the sand.

Bits and pieces of a dying coral reef.

And a gentle sea crashing softly.


There are fairy chimneys everywhere

On the slopes of the desert.

A line of rocks closes the beach to the left.

A beach? A creek, really.

This one and a few others form a necklace

Of beaches into a wider bay.

The Beauty of the sea.


They sat on the white sandy beach.

Old friends chatting, laughing or saying nothing

As only good friends can enjoy silence.

They may have played a game or two of football.

What the entire world calls football

And only a handful insist on calling soccer.

He was a good player, came back every Sunday

With his fair share of cuts and bruises.

They talked, and smiled, and laughed.

Watching the eagles and the sea.

Happiness is another name for Beauty.


As the afternoon lingered away

Some set out for a stroll.

He went swimming.

He was a good swimmer

And liked to snorkel around

In the crystal-clear shallow waters.


But Death, the eternal jealous enemy

Was hiding in the beautiful sea

And took him away from the woman he loved.

From all who loved him.


In loving memory of our Son-in-law, Andres, who left us in Los Cabos on May 6th.

Au revoir Andres. There are no other words to say but Au revoir.


L. to R. Andres and our daughter Virginie, aka Gini.

And au revoir to you too my lovely E-Friends. E as in Extraordinaire. Bloggers, writers, artists, travelers, all poets of words, feelings, images and thoughts. You are among the most “extraordinaire” people I have (n)ever met. I… need to take a break from blogging. ‘Don’t know for how long, right now, I just can’t think of anything to post. I suppose I could. There is plenty of material at the ready… but… I can’t. It may take me a while or days, weeks, or months, some time. Je ne sais pas. Meanwhile, we here have to lick our wounds. Maybe I will go back to writing the few stories that have been whispering in my head for a while. Maybe I’ll be back next week. Or some other time. I don’t know.

Au revoir then my friends. So long, fare thee well. Adios. Watch your back.

*The “Litany against fear” was written by Frank Herbert. In the sixties I think. If you go back to those words, you will find they are good, powerful words. Fear is just another name for Death. Now, change the word Fear for Sorrow. And read it again:

We must face our Sorrow, and we will permit it to pass over us and through us…

97 thoughts on “Au revoir…

  1. Brian, my heart breaks for you and your family reading this. He is smiling I’m sure, reading this lovely piece filled with so much heart and beauty. Sending healing thoughts and prayers and I’ll be waiting your return, until then, peace my friend. Heart to heart, K

  2. Where are those words when you most need them…
    My heart goes out to all of you, especially to Gini.
    Be strong!
    May his soul rest in peace…

    • Merci mon ami. Words are just words. I have thought about you on those terrible days. And our discussion on Hope. Well, Hope has died. So if it is the las thing to die, what next? I confess my strength has gone. And we can only take it one day at a time. Take care of yourself Dragos. And thank you for your words and feelings.

      • Cher ami, you can’t afford to lose your strength – the whole family needs you. You’re wise enough to cope with everything graciously, I know that. And yes, things will settle down day by day.
        I lost my aunt on February 1st, she was my main support and more of a mother than the one who brought me into this world. So I know how it is. One day at a time. (E-)Friends will be here when you need them. Until then I’ll be sending good thoughts to all of you. Hope to see you back soon.

      • I’ll be around. And I’m really sorry about your aunt. As we grow older, those who raised us go away. Hopefully after a long, full life. It is when the young go first that something is not right. But then is anything ever right? What was your aunt’s name?
        (And yes, day by day. Though some days weigh tons)
        Be good.

      • Nature doesn’t know right or wrong, it just goes on its own way. Things happen – only us, humans, label them as good or bad. But labels never change the facts and that’s what we have to deal with. Each of us in our own manner. Memories and feelings…
        She was Elena. About to turn 80 this August. Lonely, unfulfilled life. Andres was lucky, he was loved by the whole family. Heavy days like anchors that we drag around forever, hoping they’ll lose weight in time. And slowly they do… sometimes…
        May we all find peace of mind. Take care, mon ami…

      • We will, eventually. Find some peace. And I agree about labels. My first two years of University, my philosophy programme (one of many wide-ranging courses) dealt with “Illusion”. That was the main theme. Supported by lightweight authors such as Shakespeare, Corneille, Freud, Marx, Sartre and others… ’tis all but an illusion. Sorry about Elena. Don’t know enough about her life. She had you, for one. 🙂 You too take care. This has been a hard year for you. A bientôt.

    • Thank you Renxkyoko Iglesias. Since I know that is not your name I will now call you “Connie” as in Consuelo Iglesias. 🙂 Watch your back Connie. Cuídate.

  3. I am sorry for your loss. A grand testament to someone clearly loved and greatly missed. I hope you and your family find peace as best you can in your sorrow. Know that we readers will wait as you heal, we will not rush such an important task. Best wishes, loving hugs. Scottie

    • Thank you Scottie. I know by past (and sorry) experiences that Time is both the eternal thief and the great healer. But this will take a lot of time. Be good. Watch your back and your loved ones’. Hug. B.

  4. How devastating for you and your family. And what a beautiful tribute. Can’t imagine what this has been like for all of you. Be good to each other right now. I know you will -but it feels like the only thing I can offer. Will think good thoughts for you and your family from Vancouver Island.

    • Thank you “Lullu”. I know that is not your name and you have already told me, but… I seem to have holes in my memory as well as my soul. One of my son-in-law’s brothers actually lives in Vancouver. He flew over. But there was nothing he or anyone could do. Just words and thoughts. Thank you for yours. Brian

      • Again, this sounded so tragic. I will contine to think good thoughts for you and your family. (I know -these won’t bring him back.) Some things are just hard and heartbreaking and we stumble our way through them by the skin of our teeth. Laura (LULLUE)

      • Laura! That’s right. The L is committed to memory. Thank you for your thoughts. It is a way, the only way to fill the hole. 🙂 And go through another day. As I looked back at your blog, I remember the High Line. A masterpiece my daughter enjoyed a lot when she lived in NY and showed us on one of our visits.
        Skin of our teeth? Hadn’t heard that expression in a while. Yes. It is basically that.
        Take good care of yourself and yours, Laura.

  5. Brian. Your words are perfect. They ache. My heart breaks for you and your family and your daughter. I’ve always thought if I were to die I would hope it would be on a perfect day like the one you described. I hope there is some tiny solice in that in a time where one searches for any meaning or happiness.

    Take your time to take care of yourself and your family. E-hugs from my family to yours.

    • Thank you Jenny. How very right about the “perfect day”. I hadn’t realized that. Though I must confess that it has marred my vision of the sea. I grew up by the sea. And now I’m not sure I can ever go back to the sea. As usual only time will tell. Again thank you for your thoughts and E-hugs back to all your family.

  6. My most heartfelt condolences to you, to your daughter Virginie and to your entire family. I don’t know about the others but I’ll be ‘here’ when you’ll come back.


    • Thank you Gladys. Eventually I will. There is so much human quality in most the people we E-meet. Hard to stay away. Also hard to think about a post… A bit empty there. Right now I’m just answering all of you for kind words.
      As my Brit friend Roger said as we set up to climb Mont-Blanc: “One (bl–dy) step at a time). Be good.

      • 🙂 It’s called time-difference. Though Greenwich has managed to establish itself at the centre of the world (that will be a major issue in the Brexit negotiation: switch at last to PMT: Paris Mean Time).
        This being Mexico, we are always late. 6 hours late to be precise… Hence the absence.

    • Merci Agnès. Et oui, Dune. Je peux dire que j’ai été sur Dune et j’en suis revenu… Si je devais en faire un film un jour c’est ce lieu que prendrai.

  7. Oh Brian, I’m so sorry for this tragic loss. What a beautiful tribute to your son-in-law. I can’t imagine the sorrow that you all must feel. The empty silence of grief is so all-consuming. It’s perfectly normal to need a break to process the loss. Take care of yourself, mon ami. Your readers will be here when you feel ready to return.

    • Thank you Julie. “Ce qui se conçoit bien s’énonce clairement, et les mots pour le dire viennent aisément.” I think he would have liked the words. So many people (to begin with my daughter) have written and said so many beautiful words in this sad occasion. Yes, silence is all-consuming. Though it does bring peace too. So, a balance must be struck between words and silence.
      Thank you for your words. You are still going to Angers in July, right? A little over a month. A bientôt mon amie.

  8. Dearest Brian, I have no words, I feel they’re all useless. Please forgive me, all that comes to mind is this thought, if we know the pain of death, then we have experienced the joy of love. Please take good care of yourself and your family. Much love to you, Mia

    • Mia dear, no worry, we are all at a loss for words. Though, another to look at that is to think that he left a big hole in all of us, yet, yet, that hole is filled with light. So, yes, he gave us much love. Thank you and the same to you.

  9. Oh now wait…okay let me explain. I was settled in to read plural posts of yours (as I do) when my eye caught ‘Au Revoir’ in the side panel – the heart sunk a little as being a long-termer I’m used to seeing this with bloggers and I abandoned the 3rd post I was reading and clicked to see what ‘Au Revoir’ was actually referring to.
    Saw what I thought was a poem titled ‘Au Revoir’.
    Was relieved and distracted and didn’t read said ‘poem’ as I don’t really like poems. Then was distracted further by *gulp!* He IS abandoning us after all (at the end).
    In all the slow un-veiling of info I didn’t see that your son in law had died. Very sorry to hear that. My belated condolences. (And the poem was a lovely tribute in the end, as only you could write.)

    • Quite all right. I realize the ending was a bit… abrupt. Couldn’t help it. Ran it with my family before posting it. And the form? I don’t “do” poetry. I write fiction or non-fiction. I suck at poetry. So I avoid it. But the form, the rhythm, came to me as the words came to my head. Sitting or walking that beach. As I saw the eagle. All the images imprinted forever on my retina I’m afraid. And when I sat down to write, I felt a rhymeless poem was probably the best way to tell that story with no rhyme nor reason.
      Thank you for your thoughts, words, and feelings. I hope you and yours are well. 🙂
      Yours ever, Cecil.

    • No worry, my dear Edith. (I saw your other comments on my phone, earlier on) And at any rate, those are precisely the circumstances when one has to keep a stiff upper lip. I just cracked a very bad joke with my daughter over the phone. She smiled. 🙂
      Again: don’t you worry.

    • Obrigado Paulinha. Peace well received.
      Mais na verdade só ficao as palavras do Tom Jobim:
      “Tristeza nao tem fim
      “Felicidade… sim.”
      Beijo e abraço.
      J’espère que toi et les tiens vont bien.

  10. Toutes mes condoléances à Vous, tous … Il faut laisser le temps faire son oeuvre ….. mais je sais que nous sommes nombreux à attendre ton retour …

  11. So very sorry to read this…..for your tragic loss dear Brian. I am moved to tears by your beautiful tribute. Deepest sympathies to you and your family, especially your daughter. Take care.

    • Thank you Madhu for your kind words. Very much appreciated in those times of sorrow. An enormous loss…
      Having said that, good to hear from you. 🙂 I hope you and yours are well.

      • As well as can be, thank you Brian. We went through a rough few months with the loss of a brother and the ill health of loved ones. Trying hard to return to a reasonable blogging schedule.

      • Very sorry about that. Losing a brother, or sister, or a son (even in-law) is devastating. It is also when one rediscovers those we v¡can truly count on. And sometimes, there are many more than we think. Did your brother (or in-law? Same thing have children?) I also hope the ill health of some has improved. Or at least stabilized. My fondest thoughts to you and yours Madhu.

  12. Thank you Brian. No my brother was unmarried and was not in touch with us for the longest time. We were surprised by how devastated we still felt when he succumbed to Alzheimers. My father-in-law – a 95 year old superman – has recovered and is doing well, My brother-in-law however, is still dependent on a ventilator. He’s home now after nearly four months in intensive care and we are hopeful he will be weaned off the machine at some point. They – my sister and he – have lost a son-in-law and a daughter in law. Their daughter is a cancer survivor and her only daughter is a juvenile diabetic. They could write a thesis on bad luck. Yes, the support from friends – real and virtual – has been overwhelming.

    • Oh Madhu. How sad. I guess we don’t realize how lucky we are to be in – reasonably – good health and happy until Fate hits us. I am very sorry for your losses and hope the survivors will get better. I’ve often – in past similar dreadful circumstances – thought that all we can do is to care for the living. Those who are gone… are gone. Though they will be remembered until the last of us goes away. The living we have to care for. I hope your own heart and soul is as well as can be after all those events. And I also hope my post has not re-opened old wounds. Take even greater care of yourself and yours.

  13. Brain I am so sorry to hear such sad news. The fretting for our babies never stops does it? What an absolutely touching tribute – the heartbreak of young loss with the hopes for strength, healing and enduring fond memories for you all. My love and best wishes.

    • Thank you Patti. Your words mean a lot to me. Yes it is heartbreak. Seems only yesterday that we are all in Bryant’s park… Love bak to you. Take care of yourself and yours. Brian.

  14. RIP, Andres… sincères condoléances, amigo… je n’ose pas imaginer la peine et l’insupportable désespoir de ta fille et de tout son entourage proche, surtout si ses parents ou/et grands-parents sont en vie… 😦
    notre existence ressemble à une plume portée par le vent vers des horizons inconnus – avec des haltes ici et là… en réalité, nous sommes tous “des marginaux” attachés à la terre – seul paradis tangible… les jours et les nuits filent, puis tout s’arrête, souvent sans nous avertir… laissons parler notre cœur avec une rose, cessons de nous plaindre et d’exiger l’impossible avant que le glas sonne…
    * * *
    La mort n’est rien… – Charles Péguy

    La mort n’est rien, je suis simplement passé dans la pièce à côté.
    Je suis moi, vous êtes vous.
    Ce que nous étions les uns pour les autres, nous le sommes toujours.
    Donnez-moi le nom que vous m’avez toujours donné,
    Parlez-moi comme vous l’avez toujours fait,
    N’employez pas un ton solennel ou triste,
    Continuez à rire de ce qui nous faisait rire ensemble,
    Priez, souriez, pensez à moi,
    Que mon nom soit prononcé comme il l’a toujours été,
    Sans emphase d’aucune sorte, sans trace d’ombre,
    La vie signifie tout ce qu’elle a toujours signifié,
    Elle est ce qu’elle a toujours été.
    Le fil n’est pas coupé,
    Simplement parce que je suis hors de votre vue.
    Je vous attends. Je ne suis pas loin.
    Juste de l’autre côté du chemin.
    Vous voyez: tout est bien…
    * * *
    courage, force et sérénité à tous… amicalement, Mélanie Bedos-Toulouse

    • Merci Mélanie, pour tes mots, si justes et pour ceux de Péguy. Un peu oublié maintenant, mais très beau. Le fil n’est pas coupé, mais á reste… très difficile. Beso.

  15. I am so sorry for your loss brian! so so sorry! I have not been reading blogs for months 😦

    May God rest his soul and console your daughter! God be with you and your family!

    • Thank you Sharmishtah. This has been a tragedy. No other words. We’re just trying to pick up our pieces. It is a long process. But, really, thank you for your words.

  16. heartfelt Brian… ❤️ and the power of creating such a post…I truly have not been present over the past year…well I’m here of course…but it is as though I can’t take in anymore…just in the last few weeks I feel more like “me”…I know I did a post for my father…also close to this time of Andres death…and this year I’ve learned about grief and mourning…I’ve also been very introverted and quiet…my camera has been therapeutic for me…please know I appreciate all the kindness and thoughtful words you have sent me over the year dear Brian…I am tuning in again…ready for new adventures…love to you and your loved ones ❤ ❤ ❤

    • Each one of us goes through those trials alone and in a unique way. No recipe.
      I can see your camera has helped you. As keeping on blogging has helped me. We each have our own “chambre noire”.
      I am glad you are tuning in again. Maybe the trip to Europe helped. Our trip to Asia also helped us all. 🙂
      Love back.

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