Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Third Anniversary

It was three years ago that you left us. Sometimes those years seem interminable, the distance unbridgeable; at others, the time seems raw and new, like it happened yesterday, like you're in the next room.

Mary Oliver wrote about the spectre of death glimpsed through the lens of life:

When Death Comes

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measles-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

You took the time to learn the names, to marvel at the flowers, to exclaim at the snow on the mountains, to relish the vast golden fields, to hear the music of the brook and the seashell. You were always amazed by the beauty of life, and you embraced it all, animal, vegetable, mineral. You asked the full twenty questions.

You "made of [your] life something particular and real".

By no means a mere visitor, you inhabited the world, giving back to it much more than it gave to you. You truly strove to make it a better place, focussing on the impact your actions of the moment would have in the light of eternity.

Our longing for you increases even as the time until we see you again decreases. What are you learning about, what brings you particular joy these days?  What is the second thing you will want us to see?

Thank you for opening our eyes to the beauty of life, to the gift of each day.


  1. i'm so sorry, karyn...for your loss, for your pain. thankful for our hope we have as we wait to see our loved ones.

    praying for you today.

  2. 'Thank you', indeed. And thank you, in deed. xo


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