Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
– Joni Mitchell
I can’t remember ever crying myself to sleep. Ever. Until last week. When I learned that my grand-daughter was dead at 21.
The Tara Danielle Donlevy I once knew displayed a sparkling personality right out of Peanuts, remarkably adult words from a child. She was born able to command a room just by walking in, the perfect politician or perhaps a doctor.
After five months in a Phoenix area hospital, she died of complications of heart surgery on August 26. Her father, number two son Andrew, was at her bedside.
“The best analogy I can think of so far? This is like having a limb amputated without anesthesia. Literally ripped from the body,” he wrote.
“Afterwards, you see where the limb should be and the mind still gives you the sensation and feeling as if the limb is still there.”
I responded as best I could: “When his wife died last year, comedian/actor Patton Oswalt [Agents of SHIELD] finally gave me the words for what I went thru when your mother Betty died and what you endure now: a ‘numb slog.’
“The words themselves are so clumsy, ugly and difficult to say that I have trouble remembering them. Great if dark anti-poetry. Now I can finally feel a bit of what your mom felt on that awful 1978 Saturday when we were informed that your sister Debbie was lost at 19. Betty exhaled a soul-wrenching sigh, then ‘She was so perfect!’
“A simultaneous complaint and question to God. Gotta hunch you’ve been there.”
THE PRICE OF PASSAGE: Funerals are expensive. Tara’s friends launched a GoFundMe page at http://gf.me/u/cgt453/ Those who want to mail checks may do so, payable to Andrew Donlevy, 1480 E. Pecos Rd. #3025, Gilbert AZ 85295. A memorial is scheduled this Saturday in the Phoenix area.
My Peanut ended it with a selfie.
“She wrapped my arm around her and wanted a picture of us,” her father wrote. “She also didn’t want me to leave. She was scared.”
I turned last week’s column into a photo gallery of her life and death at Barbwire.US/
After I uploaded the pictures, I took a break outside. I saw the body of a strong green grasshopper lying among my roses. A dragonfly had dropped out of the sky a few feet away. Reminders to soar while you may.
If you were a grasshopper, you’d be able to leap tall buildings in single bound. Jake Highton achieved such heights.
I was honored to be asked to speak at the remembrance of my longtime Tribune colleague, 86, at UNR last Saturday. I shared the sound system with Beethoven and a whos-who of journalists (Dennis Myers, Lise Mousel) and Jake’s colleagues (including Journalism Dean Alan Stavitsky, Profs. Todd Felts, Alison Gaulden, Grant Leneaux, Howard Rosenberg) and Mrs. Mary Foxton Highton who read from “Macbeth.”
The striking Ms. Mousel voiced Shakespeare’s Sonnet No. 73: “In me, thou see’st the glowing of such fire, That on the ashes of his youth doth lie…This thou perceivest which makes thy love more strong, To love that well which thou must leave ere long.”
Adios, dear hearts. Fly.
Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bein. Haga Infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 48-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail <email@example.com> Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.