Tuesday, January 3, 2012

On the Second Anniversary of Francis' Death

Dear Family and Friends,

Today is the second anniversary of Francis’ death. I had initially decided not to write you about this second celebration of Francis’ departure from this life, and entry into whatever that other mysterious life is -since you had heard last year, about the ritual Lynn, Lee, Rowan and I had enacted. (We plan to make it an annual “family” tradition,).

But, a friend’s email gave me a nudge to write anyway. Moreover I do have something new to offer - a new poem that “came” in recent days which I recited in the chill winter air, after supper last night, once we had gathered around the “Pepere/Francis tree.

Once out of the side door, Rowan, holding her own lit candle which she had enjoyed selecting earlier (for each of us) - walked so quickly toward the Japanese Stewartia tree, I called out to her to come back and walk with us more slowly. “We’re walking in procession,” I said. Lee quickly explained – “Yes, Rowan – it’s like a parade.” I then added “That’s right – a holy parade.”

Rowan was so eager to sing our special chant we had rehearsed ahead of time – “Set me as a seal upon your heart. . . for love is (more strong) than death,” she started singing it en route. I was glad the three of them could keep it going for I could only sing snatches of it at first.

This year, after repeating key points I made last year - http://www.elaineandfrancis.blogspot.com/2011_01_01_archive.html - building on the parable of the water bugs and the dragon flies,* - Rowan spontaneously added comments of her own. Perhaps she was reacting to my saying (addressing Francis aloud:) “Because we are like the waterbugs that still live under water, we don’t know where you, like a dragonfly, went. But we will find out when we join you someday “ because that’s what she expanded – the idea of our being-“joined”-together. She used her own words, demonstrating them with a touching, powerful gesture: She brought the flame of her own candle to merge with the flame of our candles!

Here’s the poem I then recited:

On the Second Anniversary of Your Death

By your first anniversary -


came like kernels:

Gathered, they burst into life,


your presence,

all year long.

In the second one after you left -

I grasped anew:

You’re not present in the past.

You’re near, you’re here.

You rise with me in each day’s light.

You stoke my fire through our daily trysts.

(Silence is my Spouse and yours.)

You root my joy in the earth –

for you walk all the paths of my life.

Loving Gratitude to all,


PS The CD’s of my reading the poems have arrived, butThe Poems book whose “draft (hard) copy” will be mailed to me soon, will take a little longer. Having finished writing the chapter for the Memoir I couldn’t put down, I’m only now catching up with Christmas correspondence! Until January 6 – Feast of the Epiphany, it’s still the Christmas season!

* Water Bugs and Dragonflies, Explaining Death to Young Children by Doris Stickney