The Tragic Loss of One So Close
On September 3rd, 2020, I lost my best friend to a battle with cancer that lasted 7 years.
More than a friend, she was my wife, my confidant, my lover and my life. We were supposed to be together forever. Yet, as devastating as my loss was, I neglected to think of the devastation that so many experienced around the world. Sad thing about losing one so close, is that often, nothing else matters. Nothing. No one. I have had time to grieve for a while, but what about those to have suffered loss as well?
The Help of Family
Down through the years, I had help of family through my grief. Some of my family are now gone. I have lost my oldest son and my youngest daughter. But those of us who remain, revive two powerful emotions that hold us together, love and hope.
Being Part of a Group
I am part of a group…a very large group of writers, authors and artists. I do not know if any of my group have suffered loss. What I do know is that there were people to help me through my grief. I am still grieving. I still need to complete a fitting online memorial to my lost love. If I had the ability and the talent, I would walk down into Hades itself, and like Orpheus, sing songs sad enough to bring tears to the King of Death, so that I might have the opportunity, the hope to once again, bring the woman I loved so much, back to the land of the living.
The Purpose of this Post
I wrote my first short story in 1972. It was a story about an old man in a decrepit Apollo space ship, determined to end his life by crashing into the Sun. He makes his living on salvage, on the moon colony, with a young, adopted boy. The old man leaves a sizable insurance policy and with friends. He is secure in the knowledge that his young charge will be well-taken care of. The story details his last moments of his life, as he hurtles to his death.
Is this the time for us to set a course into the sun? Or is it a time for us to rise up to the challenges that we all face and let those who follow, know that we loved and lived. With the help of some very good writers, I am once again, writing. This post is the first of many on my horizon that I intend to share.
Navigating the Storm
The past seven years, my wife Diana, taught me how to grab onto life…hold on tight. I spent 20 years in the Navy. For myself, many of the challenges we both faced were like riding out a storm – pummeled by wind and waves, never seeing calm seas. I wrote a poem about weathering the storm of life, which I will share with you, now.
Straight and True
Horizon’s edge, where dark clouds loom,
The captain shouts, “Lower the boom”,
“Push forward lads, don’t wait, don’t tarry”,
Pass on her orders, instinctively wary.
“Steer our vessel straight and true.”
“Keep her steady,” I tell the crew.
Water pounds against the hull,
Windswept seas…no break, no lull.
Ash-black clouds above the ship,
Say, this will be a brutal trip.
Weather decks fill with foam and spray,
As we feel the ship dip and sway.
Gravity comes to rule this tide,
We begin to rock from side-to-side.
The cox’n strains to hold his wheel, muscles tired and weak with pain…
“Only Hercules could hold this course”, he curses the mettle of his bane.
Against each wave do we stand, shoes slip easily from one’s feet,
A nearby bulkhead becomes the deck, a bolted chair my only seat.
Gravity becomes a constant fight, a rip of jerky my only meal.
I steal a swallow from a whiskey flask, no longer on an even keel.
Tidal forces guide our speed, winds push us left and off our course,
We slide into a watery trough, struggling ‘gainst a mighty force.
Spears of lightning fill the skies,
As pelting rains burn the eyes,
Grip tight the stanchion…don’t slip, don’t fall,
Life and death, we feel it all.
Madly spins the compass wheel; I tell the bos’n, “rudder right”
Winds begin to howl and push as thunder roars to fill the night.
Whitecaps build as waves grow tall, we compensate for set and drift,
A water-soaked chart smeared and smudged shows course steady, bare steerage…thrift.
“Keep our vessel straight and true.”
“Make her steady,” I tell the crew.
Toe-to-toe, our struggles stand, to fight the monster called “the sea”,
Becomes the focus of our mind and tame the maelstrom to our lee.
Roiling whitecaps, mountainous crests as ruddy brine sets on my face,
We drop into a watery valley, standing tall against the brace.
A slippery stanchion saves my life, with cuts and scrapes on weathered hands,
Hold the lifeline, fight rogue waves, burns and stings, salt brine demands.
We see a break among the clouds, a rise of hope so far away.
We turn our ship to find some warmth as hafts of sunlight streak the gray.
The wind dies down, our set is low, let us now adjust our course,
The hatches raise, the doors unlock, as I look on in lost remorse.
The seas grow calm, cutting through the waves, I compensate for drift,
The sky is red as night approaches; challenges of the day will lift,
Hold your lantern high and bright,
Allow its beam to pierce the night,
A choice to make, will you behold,
Enough to see your fate unfold.
Painting on a Wall
I close this post, with a haiku that I wrote, after I gave thought to what all of us as a world have been through.
Pain and suffering,
Masterpieces of our lives,
Are paintings on walls.