When I think back of your suffering,
of the images and moments
that never leave me,
when I remember the questions
that in your pain you asked,
why me? What wrong have I done?
When I see your eyes again,
and the look in them
as you saw your life
which you loved so much
crumble before you and slip away
although you wanted it to stay
with all your heart.
When I feel how year after year
you grasped at us and at life
with every bit of strength and hope
you had in your loving heart,
and your words of not wanting to die
and leave us still ringing in my ears
as your tears rolled down
as I held you and tried to comfort you,
telling you it won’t happen,
that we’ll find a way.
When I think of your strength
and faith and patience
and how you dealt with it all
blow after blow,
and how after each storm of pain and tears
you were laughing again
and trying to manage and elevate yourself
and embrace life with whatever you had.
When I think of that time I told you
that it should’ve been me, not you,
and you told me not say that
because you were stronger than me.
When I think of your unborn daughters,
the ones we told you you’ll have,
and that time on your deathbed
when you asked me if one day
I’ll name my daughter after you, Sarah.
When I think of time of our childhood
when we played in the fields
by the cemetery where you’re now buried,
and all the times we frequented
the river and mountain
surrounding that place,
never thinking for a moment
that me or you can one day lay there,
at least not before old age.
When I think of my life without you,
how, still, I am not finding a way to move on,
how I’ll never see you again,
not once, not ever,
how you will be missing from all
the events of my life…
When I think of you after all these years
you tell me that life must go on
and the poem must be finished,
you tell me to finish all the paintings
you wanted to create,
you tell me to be this love.
I smile and I kiss you.
I love you with all my heart.
On her deathbed
telling me of the painting
she dreamed of while she slept,
hoping that one day
she would paint again.
One of the things that hurt me deeply is the memory of my sister a few months before she passed away telling me of her vision of a painting she conceived of in her sleep. She wanted to paint again, and wanted that painting to be her first after she recovered. She never did. Sarah passed away on February 03, 2015. The pain is still as fresh as if it was yesterday.
Jour après jour j’ai regardé ma sœur mourir par le cancer. Et pourtant, avec chaque jour, et contre mes pensées rationnelles, je voyais en elle, issue de son visage souffrant, une sorte de lumière inexplicable pour moi. Elle reste toujours inexplicable. Les rêves derniers de Sarah étaient vêtus du blanc. Je voudrais vivre avec l’espoir ou la pensée que nous allons nous revoir un jour. Mais je ne sais pas. Pour ce moment, pour cette vie, tout ce que je peux faire c’est essayer de sentir sa lumière dans mon cœur fragile et humain.
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.
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.