Yesterday I spent a few hours rearranging my office. A few hours won't be nearly enough, but it started the inertia on a Honey Do I've been wanting to finish for the last year. There's a lot to do, but the physical work isn't what takes up all the time, it's revisiting bits and pieces of your past while deciding which to keep, which to pack, and which to throw away. I have a lot of memorabilia; I'm a geek, it's what we do.
One of the more difficult decisions I made was to pack away things I inherited from my friend Matt--a small box of knick-knacks from his house, souvenirs from games long past, and file folders of characters and stories. While digging through his old writing, I came across a collection of typed poems I'd never seen before. I grabbed a random one from the stack and read it.
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond's glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the mourning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry:
I am not there. I did not die.
This was exactly how he would feel about his own death. The timing of finding this while digging through his old things was an emotional land mine.
At first I thought it was Matt who wrote this, but some Google Fu revealed that it was written by a Mary Elizabeth Frye in 1932. He must have typed it up as a writing exercise during one of his classes, or maybe he just liked it and copied it from a book at the library. I've been known to do the same in the days before the internet and, well, printers.
It was a perfectly timed message and one I need to remember, not just for my friends and family who have passed, but for my patients and their families.
I finished packing up the box of Matt's things, lighter in the heart reminded how he, G.G., and so many others are still with and around us and their lives don't truly end until all the lives they've touched have passed away.