In context with my previous post, and my recent visit to Elon University (possibly my number one college of choice: I fell in love with it even before I went on campus, and being there only helped solidify my excitement toward it), I decided to post a poem from their literary and art journal, Colonnades. This particular poem, titled "Last Words," was actually their subtitle for their 2005 edition of Colonnades, reason being that the editors "believe that the hope of all artists is contained in these lines ("They will find me, dirt-dusted masterpiece/Of their mother's or father's heritage./They will not have to wonder if I was loved"): the hope that our work will leave a lasting impression. The hope that there is something in our line break, our metaphor, our brushstroke that makes some piece of this world seem newer, shinier, cleaner than it did before."
My favorite part is the first two lines of the second stanza; it seems a very fascinating way to think of God and death. You can decide for yourself, however. Here is "Last Words" by Victoria Windsor.
I do not want an expensive casket. I want a simple box Painted by children who do not have parents Who love them. Let the children choose Colors that suit their mood and may or may not Resemble my life at all. Let it be about them And the way they do not fear death. For one day their grandchildrens' Grandchildren will go digging Around playgrounds or graveyards, Around the rugged earth in the middle Of a forest near their home, and They will find me, dirt-dusted masterpiece Of their mothers' or fathers' heritage. They will not have to wonder if I was loved. Soon it will be too late to call My daughter. I will be sleeping Soundly, quietly, waiting for the children.
I believe in a God who would never Make us live life twice. He is too compassionate For that, and smarter. One day I won't come back. People aren't like that. They go, their hearts distressed Like drifting sailors or old furniture. They are lost or used, but mostly forgotten. When the last thread of my hair is pulled from your jacket, The only things you will remember Are the colors of my coffin. Blues and reds And browns stirred on the wood In childish script, pictures of things no on but children will understand. They will cover me in autumn leaves, they will want to jump about me and have me move with them, like them. Their parents will not allow this and I will burn With the leaves, my smoke and scent and laughter Filling the evening sky.
“It’s better to feel too much than too little,” states Melanie’s lj header.
And it’s so true.
However, it is in the moments of death and despair when we wonder if we would rather be feeling nothing than a terrible loss and pain for our loved ones.
Death—something I refer to as a disgusting inevitability—plagues our lives, ironically, almost constantly. The closest encounters I’ve had with death (not in terms of my self, but in close friends or family members) have been fairly recent, beginning about 5 years ago when my great-grandfather died. I loved him, but he was very old and in poor health by the time I was old enough to appreciate him that I never really had the chance to grow close to him. His death was a great loss in our family, being my father’s grandfather and his father’s father, and a wonderful man to all he meet, however, it didn’t change the course of the rest of my life.
About a year later, my great-uncle Richard died, my grandmother’s brother. Being extremely close to my grandmother, losing Richard was emotional at best, though not life changing for me. He was an incredible person to be around, and it is certainly sad to think I will not be seeing him at any recent family gatherings; however, on that note, I rarely saw him very often to begin with. The times that we did spend together were precious and memorable, but his death was not a painful blow—simply due course.
In both of these situations, I consider myself blessed to have spent the time with these men that I did—just enough to enjoy them but not enough to be drastically affected by their deaths; rather, I’ve been affected by their lives.
However, this distance cannot possibly be maintained from all individuals; for, it is only part of the relationship tendencies of a human to desire closeness and intimacy. Certainly, there are a handful of people who have been so hurt by love, loss, life and death that they reject intimate relationships. However, I feel fairly certain that most of us, in general, have not been affected in this way and even if we have, still ultimately desire intimacy and connection.
That being said, when the life of a dear friend or close family member is put in jeopardy, or brought to an end, the results are much more tumultuous than that of what I described earlier. For, if someone has been a part of your daily life time after time after time—or frankly, even one time—it is only natural that you would be massively affected by their eternal absence.
Melanie’s friend is dying, which is what compelled me to write down my thoughts on the matter. I cannot pretend to even understand what this must feel like, however, I can only think of how my emotions would derail knowing that my friend—be it my very best friend or my high school acquaintance—might be ending his journey (essentially, that is. There is a positive side to all of this, knowing that an even bigger journey lies ahead…an endless journey with pure bliss and perfection) on this earth.
I remember in third grade (maybe 2nd, maybe 4th) my friend’s mother died of cancer. She had been in remission after a battle with breast cancer, and then it came back not long after in her brain and lungs. She didn’t live long. The day I found out she died, I cried for hours. The idea that this girl, my friend, was going to grow up without a mother at her side, that this mother would never see any of her 3 children graduate, marry, have children of their own…that she was gone…forever…was devastating!
In seventh grade, a sixth grader in my church youth group died of leukemia. One day she was getting remarkably better, and three days later she was gone. While I wasn’t very close with her, I distinctly remembered her smile and constant laughter. She was a light, a beautiful presence, always kind and gentle spirited, despite her immense trials. I think about her a lot, knowing that she didn’t get to live life past twelve years. That she never went on to high school, college, marriage, motherhood…but the life she lived, she lived well and happily.
And it seems to me that these people who have the chance to know they are dying understand something you and I will never understand until we’re in the situation ourselves. They recognize the value and importance of life as we know it, but also the life they are going on to live—and those we are going on to live. I envy them, in an ironic sort of way, and their opportunity to live with such genuine happiness and vitality that nothing can stop them—not even death.
While death is that disgusting inevitability that none of us want to accept or face, it can be a beautiful reminder of our precious, short time on this earth, and how important every single smile is.
So smile and attempt, in some sort of passionate way, to live like you were dying.
I’m not sure what it is yet, but I know I learned something.
I also finished Son of a Witch this morning, which…I’m slightly disappointed with. The ending was very abrupt and, I felt, not fully explained. And, perhaps it was even expected? I would love for fellow Wicked/Maguire fans to let me know their thoughts on the matter, and maybe explain to me their take on the final chapters.
I went to Peter Pan last night, which was cute. And at first it was emotional, not being in it, but then I sort of let myself get over it with Tiffany’s help. She said a few…encouraging words. After the show, I went back and saw Jess, who was beautiful as always! And she asked me how I was doing, how life was going, how my feet were (since every time she’s seen me I’ve been in a cast or whatnot). So, that was fun. I completely forgot to go and talk to Stephen and Jonathan, although they were adorable and awesome as well! All the Village Dance peeps did wonderfully, too, and I enjoyed watching (for once in my life!). Besides, I’m not sure I entirely regret not having to draw a beard on myself. ;)
I still need to put up some homecoming pictures, even though homecoming was in September. In fact, I’ll probably just post a bunch of school pictures at some point. Have lots and lots of them.
Mrs. Starkweather had her baby: Stephen Jonas.
Kit Rossi had her baby: Kathryn (Ryn).
I think other people have had babies recently too, but I can’t think of them. Mrs. Peck is pregnant, and I’m fairly certain that Miss Susan (Mrs. Susan, really…from my dance studio) is pregnant as well. Yay for babies. :)
In Son of a Witch, candle has an apparently still-born baby, but sweet Liir nurses her back to health. How precious.
Mash emailed me the other day! We hadn’t spoken to her in almost a year. It was so good to hear from her.
I went to the Providence Fall Festival today to help out and get much-needed community service hours. It was fun; Skip, Hayden, Christina and I manned the hay ride, being sure people didn’t jump and/or fall out on the couple of dips on the trail. We had one rowdy bunch of 5th graders who decided it was funny to fall out…more than once. Then Skip and I got angry. It was kind of fun. :-p
The weekend is here and I have much to do. I’ve been so busy lately, kids. Not that that’s surprising. Nothing has changed in the past few months except I have decided conclusively that I truly, loathe someone. Any of you who were at school on Friday know who. :dies:
God bless, lv
What is this feeling, so sudden and new/Felt the moment I laid eyes on you/My pulse is rushing, my head is reeling, my face is flushing/What is this feeling?/Fervid as a flame/Does it have a name? Yes/LOATHING. Unadulterated loathing/For your face, your voice, your clothing/Let’s just say, I loathe it all./Every little trait however small/Makes my very flesh begin to crawl/With simple utter loathing/There’s a strange exhilaration/In such total detestation/It’s so pure so STRONG/Though I do admit it came on fast/Still I do believe that it can last/And I will be loathing, loathing you/My whole life long!