Three Men

Thank you for your Strength.

Thank you for your Wisdom.

Thank you for your Joy. 

That’s the thing about social media; with one post I noted your passing to all but a few in our collective worlds.  Since then I have received a stream of messages, texts, and posts that I have allowed to soak in. I am putting my faith in the senders and taking them at their word. No need for a response.

But I did thank you – for three things – in marking your passing to others.

You were strong.  Physically strong; I scan my memory of your body so that it still lives in some form. In my mind’s eye.  Emotionally strong; you carried fear with you to the end.  You were infinitely blessed in your choice of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID).

You were wise.  At first it bothered you, that I had a master’s degree.  You were proud of me, but it bothered you.  You judged yourself.  What could I say to acknowledge what I saw in you, that did not sound pat? I remember feeling very heavy about this until I was able to point to your wisdom, those moments when you sifted out the truth of the matter.  You offered me a view I could so often, not see.

And you were joy. You really were.  You raged your way through to death and I have had to grieve that, but you embodied that thing my mother always talks about – Joy of Life. The “of” has a very particular sound, when she uses this phrase. And you did embody, both in stepping above your sorrow and because you simply overflowed.  On your last birthday – the day before you died – you sang “All by Myself” while we all just looked on, the number 41 glowing in front of you. You didn’t wait for us; you grabbed the joy yourself.  That’s the man I will always be married to . . . The man I grieve, after pouring out your anger and the care I chose to give you . . . I’m filling my cup with joy.

I can’t quite put to words, how I feel about you today. Now. How I grieve. You are just here.  Always. Not in a spooky, otherworldly way. Not as you did in giving me signs of your presence. No stones are being displaced.  I hear questions or statements like, “You see what did not serve me?”  And I understand you better.  You have become the part of my everyday life that is your strength and your wisdom and your joy, sifted.

Remember that time you raged the whole way to Nelson? I think it was exorcism number two.  You told me afterward that you had listened to one song, the whole way there.  I played it for you after you passed, and your boy sang along.

I see that you have found your way, Beardo.

“. . . As we soared above the town that never loved me
I realized I finally had a family
Soon enough we reached Neverland
Peacefully my feet hit the sand
And ever since that day
I am a lost boy from Neverland . . . ” (Ruth B)

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