We walk through the valley in the shadow of death
Shedding light to the families in grief
We make their loved ones look beautiful one last time
So their goodbye to life is tolerable for those left behind
We hold up those closest to the ones that have passed on
Giving them silent strength to face the sadness ahead
We care for Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister one last time
As if we knew each one of them personally
We offer them the one thing they can’t give to themselves
A dignified goodbye.
I remember grandmother differently.
We would stay up late when I spent the night, much later than mom or dad would let me
We would drink hot cocoa and talk about Santa Claus.
We would bathe her cockatrice parrot together and laugh as he tried to escape the sink.
This is the essence of my grandmother.
Her laugh will follow me down hallways and through deep dreams, it is unforgettable, unexplainable.
They call it her final “resting” place, but I cannot find any rest here.
Then the funeral director came.
He sat and listened when no one else wanted to listen to a 9 year old.
He wanted to know my memories of grandmother, he shared with me his own memories of his “nana”.
When he spoke about grandmother he included my stories, he told everyone she will live on in us.
He let me say goodbye to grandmother alone.
Even now that I am a man, I remember the affect his simple gesture of a warm smile had on my life.
How much laughing together about memories can ease the pain, how humanity can resonate with you.
I want to thank him but there is no adequate way to do so.
He would always tell me “I am just like you, we all go through this, I am happy I can help.”
I will never forget grandmother, and I will never forget the man who helped us truly honor her memory.
Thank you, to everyone who has helped a stranger,
and to the special people who devote their lives to it.
Now that I have gone, imagine instead that I have only returned
Before I entered this world, I was the same as I am now
I truly came from pieces of the universe
I was the universe experiencing itself
Now I have taken a new form
My essence returns to the planet which provided me with so much
My memories, my words, my actions, my loves.
They live on in those that come after me.
If you look for me, look behind your eyelids.
If you weep for me let they be tears that slide out during slumber
If you whisper to me let it be in the ears of my children
If you visit me may it be when you return with me to the next journey
You are not a ghost, we loved you too much to leave anything unfinished.
Yet I hear the house moan for you in the sleeping hours.
I smell your perfume as I let the shower warm my joints, stiff from sleep.
In the corner of my eye the shadows bend as you try to take shape.
When you favorite song comes on, the singer now sings it differently.
If I am haunted by anything, it is the strength of your love.
If there is a ghost it is me, constantly reliving the past.
I am a residual haunting, I am a residual haunting.
If there are skeletons they are within me and closets.
Death cannot touch us, it can only halt us.
Nothing is lost in the end, the time we borrowed goes on.
I do not sleep alone, you are part of every dream.
These creaking boards, these slamming doors.The music of our lives.
The light never begs forgiveness, a beacon of time and being.
A testament of our earthliness, a blindness to our seeing.
The cruelty of the unknown, a callous trait of pace.
The beauty of a garden grown, mirrored by your grace.
Such temporary bliss we share, fleeting until the end.
Great complexity seems unfair, though cast into the wind.
Remember not the tears and woe, remember not the pain.
Reflect the light of years ago, a glow that still remains.
Memories of love and bliss, a legacy to behold.
The light we will always miss, is ours to now unfold.
Infinitely your reflection travels, immortalized and compelling.
Continuing as the future unravels, within us forever dwelling.
Who Broke God’s heart?
When did the world start?
Will she ever get married?
Is she even worried?
Seattle looks great from the looks of things
But I cannot afford your metal wings
I can see from this worn out part of time
It is our last shot so stop and taste the wine
Sandwich shop in downtown New York
Great place to start not so great to stop
A young man gets his plate and sits on down to talk
He asks her how she could and the courtesy of turning calls
His voice is getting louder reverberating off the walls
It is here where it all began you and me Arkansas
Who broke God’s heart?
Her name is lost to memory
but look around and I think you will see
He is trying to capture her in mountains and in trash
The sick that bridge the painted wall, and those hard up for cash
This woman she has plagued him for a billion years or so
He is painting her something, to ease his jealous soul
So many worlds he made none quite suited for
A place where he could recreate that day outside her door he says:
“Why is nothing else like her
All those people down there they are happier
I made them out of searching for a soul like she had
I made a lot of good things and I have seen a lot of bad
But nothing in this universe like her it drives me mad
Suddenly I can taste that evening at the opera house
You and me and death and his former spouse
We used to be friends you know, we used to jam some songs
But now he works against me, I shoulda seen it comin’ all along
You can see the school I went to deep under the sea
The kids I used to play ball with, fire, earth, and seed
The place where we first met, today they call it electricity
The sky can’t begin to hold….girl you are beyond pretty”
He is listening he just expects accountability
He has been through it all can’t you see the writing on the wall
His canvas is your face and his pillow is the sun
But just remember this whole place started with just one
Opened my eyes I hadn’t prayed in so long.
And on my bed God had left this song
at the end it said make it sound like her
Put her grace in each and every verb
I asked with a whisper “God why do you keep this earth”
He said “boy I tell ya, you guys don’t know your own worth.”
The funeral was beautiful, it was like you were there.
These were your guests, not your mourners.
The table was set exactly as you would have it.
All your music was playing throughout, we smiled knowing you picked it.
The funeral home was truly that, a home. Our family filled it with your life.
We celebrated your accomplishments, we spoke of the ferocity with which you loved.
We truly felt the empty space beside us, you had gone on, we would be along ourselves some day.
The time you gave us with you on earth could never be long enough.
The greatest gift you gave us, was also the most temporal, it only made it more beautiful.
Losing you felt like losing myself
I would give up everything to have you back, even my own health.
But life is not that simple and it never will be
The hardest part of all will be setting you free.
This task I fear and I feel too weak to stand
But this task I do not have to do alone, for there is another man.
This man he has cared for not only me but for our family,
This man has created your final resting place and I wish you could see
The calm he has brought and the strength he resonates
Makes me feel that I may be ready to face our fates.
I step to the podium to say my goodbyes
And as I step to that podium I can feel everyone’s eyes.
There is a knot in my throat and tears on my face
How I wish I could go back just to simply erase.
This terror I feel and the pain in my heart
Fades away when I look at that man, and I begin to start.
“Though you are gone you will always be with us,
we are like Dove’s, one is not complete without the other.
But this Dove that remains here is not alone or afraid
for she knows you have sheltered her under your wing.
And though she may not see or hold you again
She knows you are there, watching, loving, and waiting to be together again.”
With my final words I become overwhelmed with emotions sadness
I suddenly begin to feel like I myself may slip into this madness.
But this man, that man, is there in an instant and speaks to keep the order.
To my lover, I have said my goodbyes until time decides that we are ready to fly again.
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