Finding comfort after death

Published 2:26 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Yesterday, I lost my dear friend Walter. Maybe you recall the column I wrote called “Beats a wheelchair.”

Walter said these words when the rest of us at the dinner table were whining about not having a car to go out in.

Yesterday morning he passed and all day, I couldn’t get past this heavy feeling, this hole in me where he used to be every day.

When he stopped eating in the dining room, I ate with him in his room. We held hands and talked a little, but in two days he became silent. He didn’t want me to go, so I stayed from about 10 p.m. until yesterday morning when he went away.

Amazingly enough, that very day another friend sent me a poem that eased my spirit. It read like this: “I am standing upon the sea shore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length, she hangs like a speck of white cog just where the sea and the sky come to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says ‘There, he is gone.’

‘Gone where?’

‘Gone from my sight, that is all.’

His diminished size is in me not him.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says, ‘there he is gone,’ there are other eyes watching him coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, here he comes.

And that is dying.”

Having been raised on an island, I knew about sea shores and horizons and the minglings of sea and sky. I’ve watched boats sail away so they were no longer in my sight. But never have I ridden the wave across.

I now know my ending was his new beginning and I can’t tell you how comforting this was for me. And that is dying

The view from the mountains is wondrous.