We know this feeling.
We who remember those moments,
Whether those moments were yesterday or seemingly centuries ago.
Collapsing into ourselves, arms wrapped around waist, body bowed,
Shivering, numb, heaving, wild rage, inescapable and simmering and shrieking pain…
That day. That moment. That nano-second of time between the before and the after,
As our bodies embodied all that had been and all that was yet to be…
That moment where Death gripped our insides and squeezed tightly,
And Life changed forever.
I remember glancing at the clock in your hospice room,
The kind of clock that decorated the wall of every school room I’d been in as I grew up.
The clock froze. Your breath froze. I froze.
My body gathered into itself as I held myself together while falling apart and into pieces.
April 21, 2013. 11:25 pm.
My fingers traced the bridge of your brow, the ridge of your nose,
Features I’d traced so many times, now sharpened by cancer.
I bathed you. I dressed you in street clothes, knowing how you despised the hospital gown.
Our daughters anointed you with oils.
We stitched lovely warm and colorful blankets around you.
I shattered as I gently placed the plaid one over your face.
When they came for you I stepped outside to speak to them first…
I told them who you were to me, to your kids, to so many.
I told them who you were to the world.
And helped them as they zipped you into a plain black bag,
Lifted you onto the gurney…holding you for one last time. How can I let you go?
I lifted the cover of the cardboard box and covered your sweet body with bouquets of vividly colored flowers…
You would have liked them, my Love…
Walked with you, as you lay upon that gurney, to those hard steel doors,
And gently pressed my finger to the switch that opened the jaws into the fiery roar,
Watched as you slowly but surely slid into the flames,
My body curled in on itself as emotions that had no name,
Surged through me and burned into me and seared me.
From those ashes, from all that you and I were,
From all that was no longer, but from what was,
Love filled with grief and searing pain and a tightening in the chest and a heaviness of spirit and a world no longer recognizable.
But…Love, in all its’ power.
A Love that has brought me here, to this time, to this year, to this place,
Living a life that is lived, simply, for Love.
Living in the name of Love. Living for Love. Living for you. Living for who we were.
Living the only way I can live.
Living for Love.
Because Love must~