Kenyon Barr

From Ken’s eulogy, by Tom Swinscoe

When Ken was a boy, he was nicknamed “Chuckles” because he laughed so much.  His family and old friends always knew him as “Chuck.”  I seldom saw that childlike side of Ken.  Already by the time we met, the trials of his life had made Ken very guarded and protective and at times possessive and closed off.  Ken’s sister, Deanna and nephew, David visited us in the hospital that last week.  And, I heard the name “Chuck” again.  It made me reflect back.  About 4 years ago, I saw a significant change in Ken.  He dropped a lot of his defenses, and he became much more open and affectionate with me.  The Alzheimer’s had allowed that carefree child to come back, and in some ways, we became closer than we had ever been. It showed me that even the ugliest parts of life can make way for pieces of beauty.  Two days before Ken died, I wrote this poem.

 The Return

There was a boy whose laugh, they say, brought joy to all around.  The people came from far and wide enchanted by the sound.

The soil of life grew mound on mound increasing year by year.  And underneath, the little boy – impossible to hear.

At last a fearsome warrior came with indiscriminant sword.  And so, he downed both good and bad.  Until there was no more. 

Then from cracks of what remained, a mountain now made low, the legendary child emerged as innocent as snow.