My sister in law, Sue, died of breast cancer two days ago. I wrote a poem about it, but before I post it, I want to say something about her. She was stronger and braver than any other woman I have personally known. She loved her husband with a vengeance and the rest of her family too. She loved to take pictures and would include them in letters she would send to the people she cared about and I was one of the lucky recipients of those letters many times. She had amazing red hair and a killer smile and was typically the last one off the dance floor. She loved to garden–to plant things and help them grow and even that she shared with others. There are beautiful purple Crocus flowers that bloom in my yard every year because I had once told her that I wished I could grow saffron in my backyard because it was so expensive. I didn’t know saffron came from Crocus flowers…I do now. (Thanks Sue) When you talked with her, she would listen and she would remember the things that you said. She was a believer, not in any religion, but in life. She lived it up until she simply couldn’t live it anymore and then went to sleep forever and I know that I speak for many people when I say that she will be greatly missed. As I reflected on her life and death, and how I felt about it, this poem came to me:
One Last Embrace
Grieving, I sleep and fall into a dream.
She is there in her garden.
Not sick and weak and dying but
Healthy and strong and living.
Her red hair golden in the sun–
Peaceful and happy.
She turns to me and asks,
“What do you need?”
I say, “I need to know why—why this, why now, why you?”
Smiling she says, “There’s no answer.
It simply is what it is, but what do you need?”
“I need to know you are okay” I say, “and not suffering—at rest.”
”Deep down, you know I am,” she answers and asks again,
“What is it that you really need?”
Suddenly, tears come and with them, the answer:
“I need one last conversation, one last laugh, one last embrace.”
Standing and putting her hands on my shoulders, she lovingly says,
“We’ve already had those. We just didn’t realize it at the time and it’s okay.”
Waking, I knew that it was, or at least it would be…in time