Death is a subject that's been continually raising its spectral head at work these past few weeks. My very dear friend C. is in the final stages of breast cancer. I've been trying to write about this for a long time, but keep coming up short.
What to say?
The poet in me is silent.
I recall a day perhaps seventeen years ago: it was my young son's birthday party, and C. unexpectedly arrived -- she'd just been released from a 30-day in-patient chemo treatment. Of course I was delighted -- I felt as if it were my birthday, and she was my gift. But what I remember most vividly is that she appeared to be translucent -- it was as if I could put my hand through her. She radiated a pale glow, a gauzy aura. I was stunned and moved, beyond understanding. In the days that followed, her flesh seemed to fill in, cell by cell. I felt that I was witnessing something extraordinary.
But back to the conversation at work: last week, one of my co-workers, who had been down in the studio and didn't know what we'd been talking about, came up into the house, walked over to the iPod, and put on this song (this is for you, C.):
It couldn't have been a more serendipitous choice.
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
C., you are beloved.