Friday, September 2, 2011
A Rare and Beautiful Love...
I had a fun post all ready for today. A cute little project all finished and photographed and ready to share. Even some fun new blogger friends to link up with. But, my heart is heavy and I am sad.
We just came from a memorial service for a man I had, really, only just begun to know. Let me start from the beginning.
I met a woman almost two years ago, who I would work with closely as I chaired the Historic Tyler on Tour project. She and I shared coffee together several times and continued to do so long after the project was over. I came to know of her family, her interests, a few heartaches, and her love of life. I also gleaned from our coffee shop conversations a deep love for her husband. I came to consider her a friend.
What will be two weeks ago tomorrow, we shared dinner with her and her husband, along with two other couples. It was a splendid evening full of laughter and conversation and incredible food. The two of them had worked all day making cannelloni from scratch; it was sublime. At the close of the evening, we toasted our hostess and host, appreciating their fine hospitality and generous spirits. As wonderful as the evening had been (and, let there be no doubt, it was a fine evening) the dinner and hospitality were not what I had appreciated most.
The grandest thing about that evening was the pleasure of witnessing such a fine and special love between and a woman and a man: my friend and her husband. I could so clearly see the deep love... and respect... and delight they had in one another; it just glowed around them. It seemed I could have almost touched it had I tried. There was a tenderness between them that absolutely filled the air... and my heart. After we got back home, I remember sharing with Evan how much I had enjoyed seeing this and getting to know the husband a little bit, first hand.
Six nights later, he died in his sleep. A perfect way to go. One I hope for myself. But, the sorrow and sadness and loss that my friend must feel... I cannot imagine. One of the things that makes me saddest is that I had intended all week to write them a note about how much we had enjoyed the evening... and how much I was blessed by seeing such a love. I didn't get it done.
The service was beautiful. Bagpipes. Amazing Grace. How Great Thou Art. Wonderful slides of family memories. And, the reading, a poem by W. H. Auden, which struck the chord of deepest sorrow:
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, and my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
To me these words rang true as my friend's soul crying out... they could easily have been voiced from her heart.
I am so deeply sorry for her loss.
(thank you, Tesae for helping me with the author of this poem)