I remember the fear in my sister’s eyes as she laid in her deathbed. I felt so helpless and powerless, and this feeling kills me to this day, cuts into me with a pain I cannot describe. It haunts my dreams at night. I could not ward off death and save the being I love most in the world. They tell me to get over my guilt, that the responsibility was not my own, and though that is true, you cannot not be or feel responsible, and hence powerless. I do not know how to get over this feeling, this incredible pain, but maybe I do not need to…
I also remember the light in her face, a light that became so clear to me towards the end. I don’t exactly know what this light is or why it shun with such clarity, or why her dreams became bathed in white as death approached. Was it her soul, getting ready to leave her body? Was it the beauty of her heart, a beauty that was there her whole life but that became more visible to me as I saw into who she truly was, beyond and inside the flesh and form. I don’t know, but this light! God, this light. As though I was beholding her essence, and it reduced me to tears.
I remember being haunted by this question (and I still am): Will I ever see her again? I will see her again and again as I bring her to life through me in my daily life. I will meet her around the corners of my life, as I live out more and more my own heart, love, and essence, as I become truer to the great love that bound us, that will forever bind us. But the question remains: Will I ever see you again, Sarah? You will come to me in the moments of my life, but at the moment of my death, will you be there with me? Will I feel the press of your hand in mine as you welcome me into the eternity of light of which you are now part.
Cursed be this life! Yet infinitely blessed for having allowed us to share this love even if for such a small period of time.
There is no life after death, but there is an eternity. Being rooted in it it no longer matters if there is a life after death — or, said from the opposite bank, death achieves its purpose and opens us to eternity, not to an afterlife, but to a here-and-now eternity. Death itself becomes its white flower, its most fragrant sigh, its sigh of overflowing gratitude.
Don’t turn the lights off!
on her deathbed pleading
with darkness in her voice
nurses in the corridor
busy with the news
when a person dies;
yet true obituaries
are written long after
in the hearts and minds
of those whose life
was intimately shared,
and they are not called
they are known
by a hundred other names,
by a hundred other facts,
they are the shared moments
and their intimate depths
growing in the seedbed of life,
they are a hand still moving with ours,
and a heart beating in our own,
loving as we love,
crying as we cry,
they are the imagined togetherness
still breathing in and breathing out
as we carry upon our shoulders
the weight and the promise
and pledge in our daily bread
the laughter and the tears
of all that brought us together
and the death that made us part,
continuing our journey,
witnessing with our eyes and theirs
right into our own demise.
Her savage ancestry…
in dawn’s silence
the moon’s white flower
Her savage skin…
under the full moon
a sea of waving flowers
In the dawn breeze
the falling dewdrops
too silent to be heard
all at once the camellia
giving her head
If death is white
in a pond of moonlight
What is eternity?—is it not this:
That I am alive, have lived, and death’s thumb
Will erase not one line that I have writ
Nor his nothingness wipe out my imprint.
I existed, I exist—this echo
Like thunder will ripple and roll through seas
Of life and death will never untangle
All the widening ripples of the I.
To have been once, to have been forever
So summon your life in her wild thunder
And sear your lifeline in blood and fire
On pages that never will fall to dust.