This is an inner journey. A journey of the spiritual and mundane and about being human. An imperfect journey. My journey.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Some Days Are Diamonds...

"Some days are diamonds...some days are stones."
~ Dick Feller

Some days it's difficult for me to tell which are which. That's what clinical depression does. It screws with your head so much that you don't know when you're having a good day. I can't recall when I had a really good day, one where I've looked back and said, " More, please." Usually it's the other way around, " No more, please."

Last Friday was one of those " No more, please" days. It began well enough with laundry and house keeping with a little niche cut out for writing, and then time for catching up on social media. I was about to sign off when a message from a close friend in North Carolina popped up. I am always happy to see something from Laurel, who is bright and fun and insightful. Her note to me began," Please hold Arthur in the light..." Which was normal enough, because we are always keeping close this way, if not in those exact words. What came next was unexpected, one of those things that speed by, side swipe you and leave you feeling slightly light headed. Laurels words were:" He died in his sleep."

The Angel of Death and I have become old friends over the years. We greet one another with a respectful nod of the head when I walk into hospital rooms or the homes of the terminally ill. We give one others' black outfits a cursory once-over, and I am always envious of his robes, which fall into neat folds. " Hello, Mal'ak." I greet him by his Semitic name because it seems more cordial. He is usually quick and goes about his work quietly, and I mine. The personification I have of him is tall, sleek and graceful, with a somber expression, deep-set dark eyes and long black hair. At times the hood of his robe is drawn up to shield his face, and at others he appears with huge, black wings. For all that is dark about him, it he is oddly radiant.

I don't know if Arthur knew he was coming, but I'm sure he leveled knowing gaze at Mal'ak when they were finally eye to eye. Arthur may have Allowed Mal'ak to free him from his mortal body, but he hung back just at the edge of our realm to wait until we knew he had left us...and then he boarded the golden crescent boat that would take him to misty Avalon,to the Isle of Apples, to walk among the Sunflowers forever. Mal'ak stood on the shore watching with the rest of us as Charon poled across the silvery waters. He stayed just long enough for the news to be spread through our circle of friends, then he, too, disappeared.

Arthur was one of those people who could fill  a space with his presence, and that presence was always welcoming,gracious and most kind. Our friend Paige pointed out that when Arthur told a joke he was capable of " looking blandly innocent and elegantly unrepentant all at once". He had a wicked sense of humor and was master of the pun. He was so well-read that he could authentically converse on nearly any subject brought up in conversation, and if it happened to be something he was unfamiliar with (a rarity), he would find out as much as he could.

When I lived in Raleigh we spent many Sunday afternoons together; we went out for coffee and conversation, then to the place I lived to comb through my library and listen to music. We shared a love of books, music, theater and art. We found that because we'd both spent our formative years in the Episcopal we shared numerous mutual friends. At different times in our lives we'd each explored Buddhism and still kept Buddhist principles. We wrote and performed liturgy together, infusing it with male/female polarity, but without the sexual baggage.

In the space of a breath, it was all gone.

It's not always true that we don't know what we have until it's gone. I know what I had in Arthur. We were always careful to say goodbye, and in hindsight,maybe that was because we somehow knew we wouldn't have one another for very long in this incarnation. Or maybe it was because we sense how long that goodbye was going to have to last before we saw each other again.