Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"Death is nothing at all"

On Saturday, August 31, a group of around 50 friends gathered for a "closing" party. It was the last day for the Best of Maggie Price, a gallery exhibition showing sixty of her pastels and oils. At noon we raised our glasses to Maggie--a fine artist, loyal friend, mentor, mother, sister and loved and loving wife. Before proposing the toast the following poem by Henry Scott Holland was read:

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone.
Wear no air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.

All is well.

Don't be surprised if this brought tears to your eyes. It certainly did for me, but they are much closer to tears of joy than any I have shed since her passing. I have been fortunate in receiving numerous messages from Maggie since she left and they were all upbeat, one liners, like "laugh a lot" saying essentially everything in the poem. These thoughts--no, these facts--have taken me from wishing I was dead to getting on with life and looking forward to a joyful reunion with the one whose ring I will wear until I slip away to that next room.

This poem is something everyone who has lost or will lose a dear one should keep and remember.