Untitled Letter To Jabari
By Jerry Gray
Note October 31, 2017
I wrote this letter for my son to find among my papers probably some time after my death, like an embrace even though gone. Then I lost track of it, having moved households several times, finding it only by accident in the Spring of 2017, in time to give it to my son just before his forty-second birthday. I might have died in hospital in September of 2017. It really does not do to wait three decades to say these things to an alive beloved, to be present for you both.
October 3, 1985
My dear Jabari, dearest son—
I cannot say what has made me choose this night of all nights to write to you.
Sometimes—and I do not know why this is one of them—I am so very afraid I will not have the time or occasion to tell you directly, in a way you will understand for the rest of your life, how much you mean and have always meant to me.
I actually do know that you will know this from the way I have behaved toward you in the ten years we have been father and son. But this knowledge is in the unconscious, in the bones, so to speak—it is part of the experience which contributed to making you what you have become. There is something also to words, or so I believe, whose adult life has been so much of words, both in therapy and poetry.
I hope that I will leave you many things: the spoken, the written, the played, the sailed, the unspoken. But the unspoken is valuable only with timing, only if it is considered. Now, if you find this, when it is time for you to have it, this important unspoken thing is spoken.