Friday, September 30, 2011
Road Trip #34/80 and 35/80 watercolors on paper- 8"x8"
My siblings and I took an unexpected road trip to Pittsburg this week- a 600 mile journey- to see our dear Uncle Joe, who is not expected to be around much longer. We saw cousins we rarely get to see, one I hadn't seen in 29 years, and met their kids. We spent an entire day in a hospice home, an beautiful place for families to be together with their loved ones as they prepare to die. A wooden sign with the words"Embrace the Journey" are hanging just inside the entry. Designed by two hospice nurses, the home feels like a retreat- families can sit in the beautiful living room, cook and eat in the kitchen,(my sister made bread for everybody) there's a small chapel room, a dining room, screen porch.A gently curved glass corridor, filled with light is for passing through to get to the area where the patients are. On either side outside the glass are beautiful gardens. The patients rooms are spacious and comfortable. We gathered all together, and were in and out all day, seeing Joe. He was pretty much asleep, but we knew he knew we were all there, and acknowledged us. I have never experienced any thing or place like this. There was a lot of love in that room and in the whole place. My Uncle Joe loved a party, and we were having one, we got so loud we actually got shooshed!
There were little blue books all over the house, explaining the process of death. This was written on the last page.
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of a white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says:
"There, she is gone!"
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was where she left my side and she is able to bear the load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says "There, she is gone!" There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout"Here she comes!"
And that is dying.
-Henry Van Dyke.