July 18, 2017

A Poem to Help us Befriend Death & Loss.

I am not elderly, ill, or especially macabre‚ but I think about death quite often.

I think of the deep and cavernous hole that will burrow its way into my heart and life, should I lose my children or my soulmate.

Furthermore, I think of what my own death would do to those loved ones, and how it would steal the gifts I want to continually give them throughout my life: my tender words, tight hugs, and empathetic tears.

I want to eat pancakes for dinner with my family, watch my boys stroll (and occasionally stumble) through adulthood, and feel the 4 a.m. kisses on my forehead from the man I love more than all other men.

But death is the thief of these things. It is the cruel blade that cuts away dreams.

Isn’t it?

I am actually beginning to see death differently. As I loosen my grip on life, I learn to enjoy its undulant flow, to embrace the meandering path. I surrender my tour-guide mentality in place of a more leisurely role: curious traveler. And when it comes to death, I remind myself that love does not yield to decay.

Death is not the end of love.

Love has no body, nor flesh or bone.

Love lives, even when the physical pieces of us die.

But loss—it sucks. Some wounds resulting from loss may never fully heal, although time brings clean, gauzy layers to aid the process.

I don’t want to spend my life fearing loss. So I remind myself that death is an inevitable consequence of living, to be experienced by all of humanity.

Although death and loss are fact, suffering is more often a choice. That means I can decide what I’ll make of my grief—whether I will allow it to unpack and live in my heart forever, or merely to come in for occasional visits.

In my attempts to make death a less menacing matter, I wrote a poem that challenges my own ideas about what it means to die or experience loss through the death of a loved one.

May it comfort those who grieve or struggle with the concept of death, grief, and loss.

What if Death

What if death were not a thief,
but rather, a set of wings
whose warm feathers could lovingly sweep us
into the place where souls find rest?
What if death were not a cruel blade,
cutting our lives from the vine?
What if death were a shelter, a place to preserve love
in the velvet expanse of its wings,
keeping it safe from life’s storms?
What if death were not a matter of decay,
but rather, a process of shifting energy, a soul’s journey
from its flesh-bone home to its new address in eternity’s embrace?
What if death did not taste like salty tears,
but rather, like the dew in a garden
where love and peace bloom



Author: Rica Lewis 
Image: @penelope_dullaghan/Instagram
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Social Editor: Sara Kärpänen

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Rica Lewis