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Saying Goodbye

Part XIII

Reluctant Spirit

written by: Doug Stanfield (Hemmingplay)

@hemmingplay

 

A woman I know,
a believer, told me
she saw angels hovering
over our house.
I can't see them, but
it wouldn't surprise me.

Sitting by your bed
through the long nights,
feeling you slip away
a bit at a time as the cancer
races through you,
I like to think the
angels are gathering,
waiting to welcome
your remarkable spirit home,
rejoicing.

A tear escaped your eye just now,
and you couldn't speak.
Breathing is so hard.
When you manage,
words are just a whisper,
as though coming from
a terrible, long distance.

I don't know why dying is this hard.
The spirit in us, our connection
to the Infinite, is
so reluctant to leave this life.

Shouldn't it gladly
rejoin in its source,
walk free again in
the Ground of Being?

Instead, it holds hard to this body, this life
studying great suffering
like some macabre
graduate school
final exam.

Why?

Some sects believe this world is Hell;
suffering is proof
they're right.
Others have no answer,
so fall back on
"it's God's will."
Neither likes the word "Why?"
(The fear of that word is revealing.)

Watching you now, in my pain
at losing you,
the pain of watching your suffering;
seeing your sisters grieve,
watching friends weep knowing
a special light is passing...

I have an idea why we cling to this life.

Growth has no cost,
no purpose unless
there is something to
lose.
In this physical realm
loss is a daily reality.
Existence is without meaning
unless it can all be taken away.

Longing, pain, desire, hatred
jealousy, fear, greed and, yes, love,
are challenges to the spirit,
marinated in the body's chemistries
and ancient roots.

It gets complicated,
but is a stew brewed patiently through five
billion years of solitude
on this curious living rock.

Ignited by the spirit's quest
for meaning,
Incarnation offers
what is not available
without this blending of spirit and flesh.
Creation requires knowing,
and knowing requires
suffering.
The Buddhists say all suffering
comes from illusion,
but shedding illusions also
requires the willingness
to suffer the loss
of that we hold most dear.

God is always learning.
We are always learning.
We spend our years here, learning,
and take it with us when we leave.

Time suddenly means something
when death imposes a deadline.
Two can become one, making
depth and meaning and sacrifice real.
It then all has meaning.

I listen to your breathing,
watch your spirit fight
to stay another day,
another hour. I pray the suffering
will end, but strangely would not shorten
your time by a tenth of a second.
That’s up to you. Only you know when
your task here is done.

I'm here, walking your last mile with you.
You are not alone.
Your life had meaning.
Being here made a difference.
You have blessed others with your spirit.
And when you are gone we will
only be sad for a little while.

We have more to learn, after all,
and time grows ever shorter,
here in the seductive land of deadlines.

 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:

Wilda Hope Farrell, my wife of 48 years, eleven months and twenty-eight days, died April 22 at 8:24 a.m., at home in our bed. We'd said goodbye several days earlier, when I wrote this standing watch by the bed. We both knew we had to. By the end, she was heavily sedated with morphine, and she couldn't say goodbye, even when her heart stopped. In fact, she was already gone by then.

Doug Stanfield (Hemmingplay)

Doug Stanfield (Hemmingplay)

OCTOBER 2016 / JULY 2019 AUTHOR OF THE MONTH at Spillwords.com
“Hemmingplay,” is the pen name of Doug Stanfield, who grew up on a family farm in western Ohio, went with his parents for two years in Karachi, Pakistan, in high school and had lived, until recently, in Bellefonte, PA with his late wife, Wilda and their two sons, Ben and John. Doug was a writer, editor and director of internet communications at Penn State for 26 years. He has had a few disreputable occupations, including newspaper reporter and editor, and public relations flak, but is trying to make amends for his sins by writing poetry and fiction.
When his sons were safely off making their own mistakes, he turned on the computer one day, stared at the screen for what seemed a long time, and began to learn the craft anew at age 67.
Doug has published three books so far: "Mermaid Sisters: First Dive", a children's book on iTunes/iBook; "I Came From A Place of Fireflies" published as a paperback and Kindle on Amazon, and a new book of poetry, "Snowflakes & Ashes: Meditations on the Temporary”, available as both an ebook and as a paperback. (Gatekeeper Press) on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Ingram and Baker & Taylor, and a few others.)
Doug Stanfield (Hemmingplay)

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This publication is part 13 of 14 in the series Saying Goodbye
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