I Looked Into the Eyes of a Dying Woman

cancer-sucks-pictures

The other day, I traveled across a state to say good-bye to a friend. I did it because I wanted her to realize just how worth it she is. I did it for the love I have for her and her children. I did it because I cared. But the trip wasn’t meant to be about me, it was a gesture of kindness for a person who now is faced with readying herself for the next chapter in her life – that out of body journey that we are left curious about yet, hold onto a faith of purpose in the next life.

Whenever I lose someone I am close to it gives me pause, as it naturally should. I am the guy that constantly walks around complaining about a life without everything I want, an unhappiness sometimes that if I am not careful can be revealed to those I am close to in life. To sit and witness a person who is losing their struggle in life and still smile and offer happiness to those loved ones around her is certainly a humbling experience.

I’m glad I made the drive. The day was beautiful, the moment saying good-bye was special. Seeing the love in the room was quite exceptional, a lot of tears, moments of reservation turned to immediate release, and then two children doting on their dying mother with every resource their body and mind would allow. I said to them at one point, you are both such gracious people filled with love and humility. I said, you had a great mentor and they both glanced at mom and weeped for a second. Smiles and hugs around realizing the day was nearer than anyone would like it to be.

I said my good-bye and hit the road for the drive back, the whole time processing what I had just done and why. I had no ulterior motive to see a young woman die before her time. I wanted to say good-bye and see the peace in her eyes. I wanted to know that death is a planned event no matter the impulsivity. We will all wonder why she had to be taken so soon, while others struggle on for years, or overcome the disease that threatens a life.

On the drive back, I cried, I cried hard. It felt refreshing, cleansing I suppose. It felt like I was allowing my feelings to come to the surface rather than suppressing them. I believe in that moment of weeping, I understood love in all of its abundance.

But the story doesn’t end there. Halfway into the drive I heard about the death of Senator John McCain. I certainly did not know him personally, did not ever meet him, but like everyone else, or the majority in our country, I do recognize him as a national hero. I witness the strength of character in his work ethic right up to the day of his departure. I read about his victories, sufferings and accomplishments, and suddenly I am aware of how his life was sacrificed for the better good. Much like my friend, in the end, his entire focus was helping people find their own peace with that goal in mind.

So that night, a Saturday night, I went through a lot of soul-searching. I recognized my own purpose and how these were moments of clarity that give me the strength to go on. Remember we always think about the resilience to go on when we lose someone we care or have compassion for. Much like John McCain, and my friend, life is precious, and we realize it in the worst of times.

And then it happened. The next day, we lost another kind soul. The superintendent of our school district died the day before we walked into our classrooms. Across the district there was  a numbness felt for a man that brought positivity in a time when that was the only way to heal many painful aspects of our district’s history. His tenure with us was brief, but in that time he brought real and genuine happiness into the lives of the people he touched. And his spirit did and will continue to touch many.

So, this weekend I was surrounded by cancer. I suppose it was a necessary passage of showing all of us that our lives are worth every  minute we have and to never take our time for granted. I look around the room and realize there are people that do not have the capacity to recognize the connection between life and death. For me, on this rather remarkable weekend of finding peace in the curiosity of the human condition, I am hoping I will find an eventual peace. I go forward hoping to resonate with the legacy of people brought down before their time, yet people that instilled love and purpose into my own life and the lives of all of those around us.

Godspeed our fragile humanity.

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First Glance

Eyes open

still in mourning

a soft reminder

precious

in the quiet of a breeze

rustling leaves

the next stage

a would be journey lay ahead.

What follows

will be stark extreme

immediate loss

in sensory perception

for some a routine

cycle of life

while others we know

traverse a newer universe

one shares in

solemn

Mortality

A Reaction of Feeling

A young boy has been shot,

he’s dead,

a police force became another list,

not the boy,

no list attached,

a living human being,

now dead,

shot to death,

after wielding motive suggests

he was suicidal,

didn’t want a recital,

simply wanted to die,

or at least in the mind of a boy,

thought it might work,

wanted something,

wanted someone

to know,

his hurt,

and now …

nobody knows,

but we all realize

he’s dead.

Different Moments

Recently, there were two,

lives we might call the same,

yet probably, more obviously,

vastly different lives,

worlds apart,

yet their outcomes,

well, we can probably imagine,

the same.

 

The meaning of which,

hard to explain,

yet, we want to know,

we ask the questions,

sitting together alone in our lives,

wondering just why,

when is this the time, when others

might still wander aimless

wondering only

about their next hour,

perhaps tomorrow,

even possibly a year ahead,

yet, these two …

 

Oh, to walk inside the mind of the dead,

to understand the next level,

be able to comprehend,

not likely to mend,

accept the truth yet I would

recommend,

the answer might be less

an epiphany,

more a sad reality,

but the question remains,

we all wonder about it together,

we wander the same streams,

the winding current of our lives.

 

The one, a musician,

his time came when the pain,

over came his emotions,

and later his family in the grieving period,

had to speak to the response

of his audience,

you and me,

the ones that miss him less then

they might ever possibly comprehend.

 

Yet the same,

the reality of the game,

out of our hands,

we just show up to

exclaim.

 

The other the choice is their own,

forget the others nearby,

find the solution today,

yet, that is the confusion,

we all would like to know,

now,

just why,

what fortune brought upon such pain,

and how can we all possibly

living,

not imagine its misfortune,

his misguided

solution.

 

We all do seem to have or hold or imagine,

these our different moments,

yet for me, they sometimes seem the very same.

While Winter Whisper

Oh to play with the notion of thought,

to understand the reasoning behind

purpose, attitude, maybe the inspiration,

we all do seek when lost in the shuffling

nature of the season.

 

Oh, when winter will remark upon

a simple morning frost, to make allowance

for concept, to create, maybe instinctive,

our bodies, our selves, intermingle

with the true meaning of life,

when swept inside the tenets of an arctic

breeze, chilling and responsible, ease.

 

Once, while a child, ‘I watched in solemnity,’

his body laid into the cold, dark earth,

forever to be walked upon, glanced nearby,

thought of in the chilly absence of life.

We all stepped tenderly away, him alone,

the music did continue to play,

but I, the child, I never really understood.

 

Walk with me, she said that early evening,

her smile frozen in the iciclic nature of time,

I wondered if when we ever did reach

a destiny, if then, perhaps would be a time,

we might center ourselves and then ask when.

But the winds were fierce, the bridge far too close,

the edge always asking for me, screaming really,

our separate paths become the night pattern.

 

Oh to hear the sounds, the visions do emanate,

for the will of our lives, the anguish we debate.

When My Father Cried

It was the changing season,

a tragedy,

we were all crying,

dumbfounded and surreal

the moments ahead

forever.

He was heart-broken

no place to stand or sit or feel,

just simple pain,

always and forever,

misty eyed and helpless

to the reality of the human condition.

He’d been tested,

he’d been traumatized,

together

ships passing in the night,

his words to soothe,

his reaction lost in agony.

 

How could the world ever be normal again,

when his son had left to travel,

and nearby,

a consoling brother,

a relative of sorts in marriage,

in a consoling gesture,

suggested a distraction.

 

How might he react any other way,

then lose faith in humankind,

when the soul of his world,

remained lost in the mechanics.

There is heartbreak to be noted,

when one’s dream

suddenly fades

while all of those around

have no idea the strain.

When the World Stops and Everyone Continues to Walk

We have these,

call them,

whatever you might preference at the moment.

An epiphany, a catharsis,

a smack in the face in expression,

the reality of our lives.

 

Just when the seasons began to express

their natural beauty,

the leaves that decay to a certain brilliance,

representing death and love

all the same,

Crisp autumn breeze.

 

Walk outside on familiar soil,

feel the fragrance of winter’s

slow methodical drift in heavy horizon.

We know the air is changing,

Sense a sort of reminder,

What it is we desire we internalize.

 

The other morning, while sunlight spoke

aloud the wonder of Nature,

he too would smile and laugh and then

cry,

for life begins a journey, meant to keep stride,

whether ready to climb aboard –

 

offer a choice, it is not always the case.

 

We decide, who decides, when did everyone

choose sides,

and were we even a consideration,

beyond the normalcy of our lives.

Did anyone even think to imagine,

inspiration is destiny within a moral compass.

 

So what if you don’t know your legacy,

instead rest upon a certain faith,

the sort that maintains a beautiful smile,

an energy,

we all thrive upon when entering the room.

For it is true you can save the world.

 

Because it is a sojourn we all must respect,

and the climate around us all,

needs the accentuate ritual of love,

Because without that handshake,

a quick smile, a silly joke,

we are all still floating an aimless travel.

 

It’s a short trip this trek toward mortality,

Be thankful you give us smile.

While we wait,

In earnest,

we seek a natural horizon,

Gives credence to the strength of His beauty.