Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Moment of Death

My stepmother, Deborah, died on Monday morning (January 21) after a long (and yet shockingly short) battle with cancer. I had the honor and privilege of witnessing her final days, and then her final moments.

In her final few minutes she lay comfortably in bed, surrounded by her husband, her mother, and her sister (and me). The sensations she felt were their hands caressing her, and the sounds she heard were their words of love. I myself was quiet, reading prayers for the progress of her soul and for the healing of those left in this world without her.

For a while, when we knew that Deborah was living her last few minutes, I felt a heaviness in my chest; a tension. Her breaths came further and further apart, and I felt that the tension was growing. There was a time at around 10:15 when we thought she was gone, but the nurse found that her heart was still beating. The uncomfortable feeling in my chest remained.

Then at 10:17 (I know, I checked the clock) I suddenly felt a lightness and actually began to smile. For nearly a full minute I felt uplifted, the heaviness and tension was gone from my body, my teariness dissipated, and my head felt sunny and glad. I felt the truth of Baha'u'llah's words:

"I have made death a messenger of joy to thee. Wherefore dost thou grieve? I made the light to shed on thee its splendor. Why dost thou veil thyself therefrom?"

A minute later the doctor confirmed that my stepmother had passed away, had ascended into the next world. 

"Bestow upon Thy heavenly handmaiden, O God, the holy fragrances born of the spirit of Thy forgiveness. Cause her to dwell in a blissful abode, heal her griefs with the balm of Thy reunion, and, in accordance with Thy will, grant her admission to Thy holy Paradise. Let the angels of Thy loving-kindness descend successively upon her, and shelter her beneath Thy blessed Tree.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I Exist!

A Man Said to the Universe
by Stephen Crane

A man said to the universe:
"Sir, I exist!"
"However, " replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Thoughts on Icarus' Adventure


i like to think
that when a man is a reduced
to a dusty heap of feathers

he can,
after a time of stitching wounds
and knitting bones,

haul himself to his feet
and limp on
(more steady with each step)

to find something less fickle
to bind his dreams to
to take the leap again

and maybe it doesn't matter
if he ever really flies,
so long as he tries