Thursday, June 18, 2015

Living Life

I’m going to share something that is very personal.
My bride of 51-years has been struggling with various cancers for a number of years. She’s fought, struggled, won, and peacefully acknowledged all the challenges each cancer brought to her bulwarks of defense.

It's not defense anymore. It’s brilliant acceptance. It’s an understanding that life is terminal. It’s a willingness to participate in the celebration of a life well lived.

Hospice is now on the doorstep after many years of more horizons than we ever thought.

Many years ago when the diagnosis was terminal  and the dibilitation of medicine was worse, I wrote this poem.

 I watched her change, a little each long day.
I did not stare but used a gentle look,
A tender, fervent glance when walking by.
She’s beautiful, I thought, like a bouquet
Of forget-me-nots, her favored flower.
How could disease rage just below her smile?
I did not want my gaze to be of fear,
For it could bring her pain above the drugs
And their debilitating therapy.
Most of the time, we act as nothing’s changed,
But illness gives new meaning to each life.
In our deepest, centered conversations,
Our hopes and wishes and some worries too
Would find their way to slip from off the tongue
Not as a comment said without a thought
But words of trust that only years can bring.
We’d speak of truth and its pathway to peace.
“Honesty,” we said, “is a sacrament
Healing a potential separation
Long before its reality is felt.”
We did ask, “Can this darkness pass, for now?”
But we know night descends to all someday
And we acknowledge an eternal truth:
If we’ve finished what “earthly” we can do,
Then let’s not linger in this density
But seek the freedom of angelic flight,
Returning to the Source from which we came.
In our connection to the All That Is,
We hear this truth beyond the clustered words:
Love is the chalice light of new pain’s grace.
It leads the spirit toward eternal light
And to a place of vast Elysian fields.
Thus, this we say, to all who choose to hear:
Celebrate the healing in the now,
But when the body ends its role and succumbs,
Be thankful for its form, then let it be.
Its dust will scatter to another time,
Another moment and another place.
“Rejoice!” our spirits shout from somewhere in.
This is the natural order of all life.
“Cry,” our hearts plead and savor what is left.

Do not be sad my friends, rejoice in the knowledge that life never ends, love is the eternal path to the other side and endings always have a beginning.

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