The Unbroken Circle

Dear Howard,

I didn’t have a chance to say good-bye to you, old buddy. I know that your pain made that impossible. I fervently wish that we might once again join in the unbroken circle. I miss you terribly, man. My heart is broken wide open for you.

Although I backed away from you for awhile I never “wrote you off”. I know that that was one of your greatest fears. I retained the hope that someday we could re-connect. I still retain that hope beyond the grave.

While I was away in Switzerland in July and August I thought of you several times and particularly when I was at the Chateau de Chillon at Montreux on Lake Geneva. Lord Byron wrote a poem about a resident of the dungeon called “The Prisoner of Chillon”. The excerpt below reminds me very much of you, and to a lesser degree reminds me of many people I know, including myself.

I learned to love despair.
And thus when they appeared at last
And all my bonds aside were cast,
These heavy walls to me had grown
A hermitage – and all my own!
And half I felt as they were come
To tear me from my second home;
With spiders I had friendship made,
And watched them in their sullen trade,
Had seen the mice by moonlight play,
And why should I feel less than they?

We were all inmates in one place,
And I, the monarch of each race,
Had power to kill – yet, strange to tell!
In quiet we had learned to dwell;
My very chains and I grew friends,
So much a long communion tends
To make us what we are: – even I
Regained my freedom with a sigh


Howard, although you hated your chains you held onto them tenaciously. I guess they at least provided you with something familiar.

You were often the 50-year-old … 6-year-old boy who lost his father and uncle in a drowning accident. You often appeared to be running in circles trying to find your daddy. I hope that you and your father are now re-connected. Thank you for organizing and producing that very meaningful conference “Absent Fathers – Lost Sons” a few years ago.

I regret that you couldn’t love Howard Smith as much as you did others. I vividly remember your gallant and courageous attempts at loving yourself. I still have the same suggestion that I shared with you many, many times – “trying” doesn’t work – just let go and connect with your heart. Total acceptance of the situation is the path that leads to “heart-connectedness”.

I hope you are now in peace.

Your loving brother forever,