The only death I truly accepted and understood the infinite journey was my grandfather’s death. Although I was only six, I was blessed to be in a family that was open about life and death; my grandmother being a midwife, talked often of the births she assisted and it did not take away my youth as so many of my Anglo-Saxon raised peers felt…French Canadians kept many European mores I think. And so I remember going to hospital to await the news the doctors would pronounce of the impending fate of my GrandPapa. We often sat by his bedside holding his hand daily for a year, as I lived with my grandparents that year. My sister and I saw the priest perform his last rites, Extreme Unction and his last smile at me surrounded by his children the day he passed.
So for me, finite meant my favourite person had an expiry date to his suffering; he would be in a place where there is no pain, where he could run freely …and yes, I believed this and to some extent still do.
At my age, I have lost many relatives and friends to death and more recently a friend and colleague for whom I have shared a series of haiku;unfortunately there are many I have not quite accepted…sudden deaths, people too far for me to go to their service are mostly the people I still struggle to accept and sometimes I feel it was all a dream and they are still here.
How often I wanted to dial the number of my friend, Janet, who died suddenly when I was far away. The only person who read my mind, felt my emotions; our signal to chat after midnight…one ring…we both knew was the other who wished to talk until dawn. I still don’t accept the infinite passing of this friend.
Grandpapa, tu es toujours près de moi, dans mon cœur, ombrant mon âme.
humble corps affaibli enfin libéré douleur fini
âme pétillant pure et infini les cieux attendent
yeux brillants plonge dans l’éclat céleste lumière blanche