I learned of her death in a text message. In the final days of her life, she only wanted to share with the people in her life. She once wrote, over 30 years ago:
We cry of things instead of beings
We want, we want, yet its never enough.
Last week, I talked with her on the phone. She was happy that I was coming for a three-day visit. In the past, I composed songs from her poems and we sang together. She said she still had a guitar and we could sing again. Then she said my visit would be too short. But how do you tell someone who is dying, who is finally free to live in the moment that you are not free, that you still have to apportion your time and march to the calendar of life?
Lost in the daily grind of wheels
On hardened steel, on hardened souls
of materialistic needs.
I knew that when I saw her again, I would be free to live in the moment with her. But I had measured my time as never-ending, and couldn’t grasp that her time was ending. I watched her battle with cancer from a distance, because the memories of what she meant to me remained buried under the weight of the passing years. And then her time ended before my visit.
Where is the time we frittered away?
Where the nights, where the days
Of ecstasy and peace?
Since I learned of her death, I have been thinking of her, and like a camera that zooms in on a scene, I remember how she smiled, and laughed, and wrote about the world as she saw it.
What is the message that we send to the world?
Where is the kindness, where the caring
For lost and bleeding humanity?
From the poem in this post, I composed a song for us to sing. It is now part of my memories of her.
Goodbye, old friend.