Thursday, September 3, 2009


I said goodbye to an old friend this past week. He had fought illness for many years, always with great humour and unflagging bravery. But finally his strength simply dwindled and he left us. He was the jester who gifted The Songwriter and myself with an indelible wedding day memory as he hid inside our car when we left our reception, honeymoon bound. His intention was to accompany us on the journey, but his giggles gave him away and he found himself rather unceremoniously deposited in the middle of the road, not far from the church.
He is forever cemented in our wedding day memories, and happily so.

As human beings, I suppose we are hardwired for life. We fight on, even when retreat has been sounded. But I often wonder what our perspective is from the other side of the veil. Once we land upon those storied shores and survey our surroundings, do we shake our heads in bafflement at our previous struggle to remain stuck to the earth? Is the life to come so superior we shall marvel at our ignorance? I rather think that might be the case.
As we are now... gravity-glued humans, blinkered by our boundaries... we can really only suppose what awaits us. Our faith gives us clues for which there are many interpretations. Though we all hold tickets for our passage, none of us has yet taken that journey so none can say for certain what it holds. But I have always felt that the opposite of faith has never been doubt, but certainty.
And I am content with the mystery.
I think I shall see my friend again in a different land and I hope, from his new found dwelling place, he occasionally peers down and laughs at the limits of my knowledge of wonderment.
I wish him Godspeed.


Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labor you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.

by Christina Rossetti

Painting by
Sir John Everett Millais


  1. I'm so sorry about your friend!
    The words you wrote are beautiful and an "hommage" to your friend.


  2. a great hommage to your friend

    I wish you much strength to handle this loss

  3. Many years ago when I was studying in Atlanta I heard a young American poet - Mary Oliver - read one of her poems containing the soothing comforting lines

    When it's over, I want to say all my life
    I was a bride married to amazement,
    I was the bridegroom taking the world into my arms.

    When it's over, I don't want to wonder
    if I have made of my life something particular,and real.
    I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened
    or full of argument.

    I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

    I'm sure your friend lived his life like this.God bless.

  4. I'm sorry for your loss, Pamela - it's very hard when a loved friend passes away. That was a beautiful piece of writing, and I've often had that thought of a veil lifting and there being a quite unthought-of truth the other side. Your friend sounds like a very special person.

  5. I'm sorry to hear this sad news. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the Songwriter. Lovely tribute to your dear friend.

  6. One usually expresses sympathy in these circumstances -- and it sounds like you will miss your friend deeply, and that his passing was long and painful -- but you make the next life sound so joyous! I hope that it will be so . . .

    This phrase really struck me: "do we shake our heads in bafflement at our previous struggle to remain stuck to the earth?"

  7. Beautifully written Pamela, and a wonderful tribute to your friend.You express so well what many of us ponder.Thank you.It is very touching.

  8. I'm so sorry for your loss. It does sound like you have some lovely memories of this gentle man.
    Keep the memories alive-he'll be watching over you and The Songwriter

  9. My sympathies to you and your husband for the loss of your friend. The poem by C. Rossetti is beautiful.

  10. I had forgotten your post-wedding encounter until reminded so eloquently in your post. I've thought of you and the Songwriter often once I heard the news and am praying that memories from life's shared experiences will remove any sadness at his departure. I hope your beach retreat was all you had hoped it would be. Fall is flirting with us here in the almost north and I always think of you as the winter doldrums lurk in the not so distant future. :)

  11. Dear Pamela, I am so sorry to read of your friend's passing. Your homage was so touching and I am sure he would have been thrilled to know how highly you thought of him. And how lucky he was to have you as a friend!

  12. It would have been fun to know this friend of yours! How well you have written about him, and what good memories he has left with you.

  13. I add my sorrow at the loss of your dearest friend:

    From Thomas Wolfe:

    "To lose the earth you know -- for greater knowing;

    to lose the life you have -- for greater life,

    to leave the friends you have loved -- for greater loving,

    to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth,

    whereon the pillars of this world are founded,
    toward which the conscience of the world is tending -- a wind is rising, and the rivers flow."

    Also -- I always think of the poem "Roads Go Ever On" by J.R.R. Tolkien. And the words to Handel's "Art thou troubled? Music will calm Thee ... "

    Just some thoughts ....

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

  14. This is such a sincere and eloquent tribute to your friend and so beautifully expressed. I am sorry to hear of your loss, he was obviously a very special person in your lives.

  15. What a wonderfully moving tribute to your dear friend whom you will miss so much. So sorry for your loss.

  16. A wonderful tribute to your friend Pamela. I too think the real life awaits us and that if we knew how wonderful it is, we'd be running over each other to get there. This is a school of sorts I think and upon graduation we get the degree to start living for real. I hope at least thats the way it is! :)

  17. I think perhaps "Ditto" is the only thing to say in response to your comment on my blog earlier this week. Ditto in that you've a lovely, lovely blog and I'm so glad All The Best brought us together so we can get to know each other through our blogs!
    I'll be back!

  18. I believe in the reality of eternity and think it is more real than the life we cling to here on earth. We just can't quite see over there yet.

    " Right now, we only see a dim reflection or as if we're looking through dark glass, but soon we will see as if we're face to face." I Corinthians 13:12

    I'm sorry about your loss of a dear friend. May God's comfort be yours.

  19. What is to come is so comforting and peaceful I did not want to be sent back and it took a good nine monthes for me to get used to having been excluded and condemned to stay here again. I have found great joy here since then and am content but also happy in the knowledge that sometime soon I will be allowed to go home again.

    A lovely tribute to your friend, may his journey be blessed.

  20. I wish you strenght ...this was a beautiful post...Now,look for a sign...maybe a giggle the middle of the night..maybe coming from your closet(and,no,its not your sweater)maybe its lingering trough the tree tops when you are on your walk with Edward...its a farewell let you know its oke..

  21. Hi! I found your blog through Jumping Tandem's followers! So glad I meandered over! What a beautiful blog you have~
    Your heartfelt sentiments for your dear friend are very moving.
    As I read your words, I began thinking of a book I read with my students: 'The Big Wave,' by Pearl S. Buck. A wise father comforts his son about the death of a friend's family after a tsunami. This is an excerpt I was able to find on the web. It is so beautifully written!
    So nice to visit here.
    ~Comfort and Grace~ Maria

  22. I admire your certainty and your humility for all things.

  23. How often Christina Rossetti hit the nail on the head with her insight and her poetry. A lovely gentle post as a tribute to your dear friend. I have lost one too this year but she lives on in my memory.

  24. I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, he obviously leaves many happy memories behind and that is the best legacy any of us can give to the friends and family we leave behind.

  25. Hello P&E,

    Painting, words and poetry, all beautifully fitting. Those who have left us are only as far away as we choose them to be.

  26. I am very sorry about your loss as well. The poem is certainly moving! Very timely for us all.

  27. You write wonderful words, I'm sure your friend is watching you remember his ride in that car and laughing with you....i do believe that 'behind that veil' all knowledge will come to us and this life is indeed just a tempting morsel of the greater beauty and truth beyond.

  28. He is with you still and you will always be with him...friendships like this never diminish, we are just parted for a small time, yet I think it feels like forever to each of us. I love what you said and I feel similar or rather my hopes are for this..for all of us. What memories you have, what joys.
    With love and hugs
    Lynn xxx

  29. I'm sorry for your loss but lovely thoughts you've shared with us...

  30. Pamela, this is so beautiful and Rossetti's poem is a fine tribute to your friend.

    I think the memory of him, including his joke is a warming one and sweet to hear from one who never met him. I hope you see your friend again, in happier times, where sweet souls are restored to youth and peace, carrying only happy memories and love from this world with them. Dear friend, xxx.

  31. This is beautiful and I am sorry to hear about your friend.

    This post is a mini gift to me and I thank you for it.

    Love Renee xoo

  32. My condolences on your friend's passing. Beautiful sentimental words.

  33. I'm so sorry about your friend. What a beautiful tribute!

  34. Just popping in to say thank you for your wonderful comment on my page. I just LOVE the sound of Gatsby, and would invite him to all my dinner parties.

  35. I am so very sorry for your loss of a dear friend. What a truly lovely story and so well written. What do you do when someone you love even from the beginning is not hardwired to fight on? My mom gave up once she received her diagnosis of cancer. You hear of people so brave, & with determination to live; what happens when your loved one isn't like that? I'll say it again, you are such a talented writer. Happy weekend to you Pamela Xx

  36. sorry you lost your friend and that he had a battle but this is a lovely post.

  37. Wonderful tribute to your friend. I'm sure he is smiling a knowing smile just now.

  38. I'm sorry you have lost a dear friend............I'm certain you were a great comfort at the end.

    Your words make the journey to the other side less frightening, thank you Pamela.

  39. Pamela, I have enjoyed so many of your posts and poems, let me please leave one for you that has become important to me recently, perhaps it will help you too.

    Hail and Farewell to your friend.

    To an Athlete Dying Young-

    The time you won your town the race
    We chaired you through the market-place;
    Man and boy stood cheering by,
    And home we brought you shoulder-high.

    To-day, the road all runners come,
    Shoulder-high we bring you home,
    And set you at your threshold down,
    Townsman of a stiller town.

    Smart lad, to slip betimes away
    From fields were glory does not stay
    And early though the laurel grows
    It withers quicker than the rose.

    Eyes the shady night has shut
    Cannot see the record cut,
    And silence sounds no worse than cheers
    After earth has stopped the ears:

    Now you will not swell the rout
    Of lads that wore their honours out,
    Runners whom renown outran
    And the name died before the man.

    So set, before its echoes fade,
    The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
    And hold to the low lintel up
    The still-defended challenge-cup.

    And round that early-laurelled head
    Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
    And find unwithered on its curls
    The garland briefer than a girl's.

    A.E. Housman

  40. What a beautiful loving tribute to your friend who touched your lives so deeply. I am so sorry for such a loss.

    I also think that we will marvel at how sublime and perfect heaven is. I don't believe our mortal minds can fathom an inkling of what we are in store for....

  41. So perfectly put.
    May you find solace in the gifts that he has left for you and your reunion someday in the great beyond...

  42. So sorry for your loss, you have such lovely words of memory and comfort!

  43. I'm so sorry for the loss of your dear friend. May you treasure the memories you shared forever....

  44. I read that poem at my mum's funeral. She had often quoted the first stanza but I hadn't read the rest, until I found it by chance at the time she died. I was unable to read it aloud without breaking beforehand, but was determined to do it, and read it perfectly.

    So sorry for your loss.


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