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Tuesday, 15 June 2010

When I'm Gone

By A. Peri

Writing your own obituary is a good idea. So is writing your own eulogy:

I want to say that when I’m gone I want you to remember me
in the sheets of rain, flashes of lightning and the roar of thunder
that rides over the nighttime skies.

I don’t want you to sit beside a hole in the ground
to weep. I’m not there.

I left.

I’m in the folds of tulips, the fragrance of jasmine,
the whispers of a child and music that makes you
want to dance until you’re breathless.

But wait.

Remember me as someone who sometimes
faced doors I never entered.
I was afraid. Afraid of failure, criticism and ridicule.

Entrance was given to me and I chose to ignore it. I defied it. No,
that’s a lie. I killed it. I killed it with
the knife of insecurity.

I stabbed it and chewed on it for years
until it dripped blood
just as surely as if it met
a mad cannibal in a dark alley.

I never talked much about fame or success.
It was something that happened to others.
Not me.

Give us this day our daily bread.

I would have liked my edible daily bread but
that sustenance was for others. I felt unworthy so

I left.

But I loved. Oh, how I loved
with unimaginable depth and intensity:

my children, my family, my closest friends, my home,
my garden, my baking and every
snapshot ever taken.

Now I’ve come to a place
where there are no doors to open,
no unknown trails
no risks to take
no fame
no success
nothing to offer because

I left.

Whenever you can:
take every chance,
open every door,
learn the destination of
and walk every unmarked trail.

And while you walk along those paths
I want to leave you with
a song in the crystalline core
of your being.
May it be a raucous clamor,
a carefree din
that tempts you to
dance until you’re breathless.

And while you’re doing all of those things,

remember me.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


My first thought was "Morbid," but I read on. This is quite lovely. My mother-in-law prepared her memorial service and it was most comforting.

A wonderful eulogy--an exquisite poem. I plan to read it to my writing group, all women in their 70's, 80's and up. It makes me want to sit down and have a long conversation with you about life and love and bliss. Thank you

But I loved. Oh, how I loved
with unimaginable depth and intensity:

That was my favorite line of your beautiful poem and the line that told me the most about you.

If Ronni ever gives awards for the best pieces at The Elder Storytelling Place, this will surely win.

Beautifully done.

Lovely poem.

This touched my heart!

I'm back to agree with Virginia. Wow! I notice you don't submit often. I hope there will be more of your posts to read in the future.

This is so beautiful, so honest, so wonderful on every level - thank you, thank you.

Thank you for your warm responses. I hope this won't be read for another few decades ;) All of you are so kind.

Can I do all that stuff now?

I know this response to A. Peri's poem probably won't be popular, and it's not that I didn't appreciate the poem. It's beautifully written, but I sensed a hint of veiled judgment of those who hadn't lived life to the hilt. Perhaps an advance eulogy is exactly the place to express such views, and it's wonderful to use that opportunity to encourage others to take chances she didn't for one reason or another. Still, not entering life's every door may not always turn out to be a bad thing. I can remember a few I opened that would better have remained closed.

We certainly agree on loving our lives deeply and intensely--and maybe that's the most important message.
(I'm writing this spontaneously after a full day's work, so it's not thought through as my posts usually are. And maybe I'm just not a poet at heart.)

A marvelous reflection!

I found you through grannymar. I liked this poem very much. This bit
"But I loved. Oh, how I loved
with unimaginable depth and intensity: my children, my family, my closest friends, my home,
my garden, my baking and every
snapshot ever taken." brought tears to my eyes.
I'm off now to look through your blog

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