Friday, December 30, 2011

Saying Goodbye

Today I joined with family, old friends, and strangers to say goodbye - and wish a peaceful journey to - my godmother, Connie.  Connie was one of those people who shined her bright inner light onto everyone around her.  I will miss her as will all of us who were lucky enough to have had her in our lives.

Connie and I on my first birthday

At her house this afternoon I read this poem for the first time.  My mother, her best friend from childhood, had written it in calligraphy for Connie nearly two decades ago when her mother passed away.  I don't have words of my own to share, so I share these instead.

"I am standing upon the seashore.  A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean blue.  She is an object of beauty and strength.  I stand and watch until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says; 'There, she is gone!'  Gone where?  Gone from my sight.  That is all.  She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as when she left my side and just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.  Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says, 'There, she is gone,' there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout; 'Here she comes!'  And that is dying."

~Henry Van Dyke

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