Tag Archives: death

spirit is infinite (haibun)

© Clr `14
© Clr `14

The only death I truly accepted and understood the infinite journey was my grandfather’s death. Although I was only six, I was blessed to be in a family that was open about life and death; my grandmother being a midwife, talked often of the births she assisted and it did not take away my youth as so many of my Anglo-Saxon raised peers felt…French Canadians kept many European mores I think. And so I remember going to hospital to await the news the doctors would pronounce of the impending fate of my GrandPapa. We often sat by his bedside holding his hand daily for a year, as I lived with my grandparents that year. My sister and I saw the priest perform his last rites, Extreme Unction and his last smile at me surrounded by his children the day he passed.

So for me, finite meant my favourite person had an expiry date to his suffering; he would be in a place where there is no pain, where he could run freely …and yes, I believed this and to some extent still do.

At my age, I have lost many relatives and friends to death and more recently a friend and colleague for whom I have shared a series of haiku; unfortunately there are many I have not quite accepted…sudden deaths, people too far for me to go to their service are mostly the people I still struggle to accept and sometimes I feel it was all a dream and they are still here.

How often I wanted to dial the number of my friend, Janet, who died suddenly when I was far away. The only person who read my mind, felt my emotions; our signal to chat after midnight…one ring…we both knew was the other who wished to talk until dawn. I still don’t accept the infinite passing of this friend.

(American Sentence)

Grandpapa, tu es toujours près de moi, dans mon cœur, ombrant mon âme.

(haiku)

humble corps affaibli
enfin libéré
douleur fini

âme pétillant
pure et infini
les cieux attendent

yeux brillants
plonge dans l’éclat céleste
lumière blanche

lumière blanche
le séduit à l’éther
infinité

infinité
âme sans âge baigna
grâce devin

~

weary body
humble and finite
pain-free at last

soul lives on
infinite and pure
heavens await

iridescence
eyes dip in hallowed glow
white light

white light
seduced to the ether
infinite

infinite
ageless soul bathes
celestial grace

© Tournesol ’14

Carpe Diem “accepting the finite”

an angel stands in wait (haiku)

Thinking of my friend this week…

her sobs echo
across the Atlantic
a long journey

Caspian Sea and
Arabian Gulf imbibe
salty tears

the skies rumble
iridescent light,
safe passage

pain free at last
an angel stands by, waiting
in white light

heavens whisper
the last chapter,
Rumi stirs

© Tournesol ‘14

*******************************

Don’t run away from grief , o soul
Look for the remedy inside the pain.
because the rose came from the thorn
and the ruby came from a stone
.

© Rumi

un grand homme/a great man (haibun)

© Clr – GrandPapa 1957                                      

We seem to be in the spirit of death, being in the middle of autumn, approaching Halloween and all Saint`s Day November 1st; we also call this month in French, le mois des morts (month of the dead).  November 11th, being rememberance day where we pay tribute to all the soldiers who gave their lives for their country and for world peace.  And so I continue on remembering another great man…my grandfather, when he died in his home, Princess, his old mongrel (spaniel mix) went down to the basement and howled grieving for her master.  She stayed there for a week in mourning.

la mort d’un grand homme – Grandpapa

pinson est muet
dernier souffle du maître,
vieux chien hurle

death of a great man – Grandfather

blue-finch falls silent
 master’s last breath,
old dog howls

© Tournesol ’14

Departed soul (haibun) In memory of Bruno

© clr A true Rock Star, he will be missed
© clr A true Rock Star, he will be missed

Yesterday marked one week that a friend and colleague died, Sunday morning, July 20th. I wrote a series of haiku/senryû, last week with the vivid image of Bruno when I last saw him mid May of this year. He had been battling pancreatic cancer for well over a year at that time and still accepted that I visit him and he posed for a book that was being compiled to give to another colleague who is battling breast cancer. Bruno believed in thinking positive at ALL times. He believed in the fight and never gave up, nor did he stop encouraging our friend who is still under treatment and we KNOW she will rise above this insidious disease. She is the loving and most generous person (much like Bruno) who phoned me to give me the sad news that our friend had passed. I feel so blessed to have heard from you, Leslie, you have no idea how much it meant to me.

Here is the series I wrote the day I learned of his passing…

Care Bear Hugs

I’ll miss that smile
soothing presence like balm
Care Bear hugs.
*
those innuendos
making me feel young and sexy
twinkle in your {lie} eye
*
they’ll all split their wings
you’ll have them laughing so hard
angels in heaven

(c) Cheryl-Lynn 2014-07-21 (aka Tournesol)

originally posted: Care Bear Hugs

Today it is raining. It is grey and my mood is morose. I called in sick today as my body would not respond and seemed to be listening to my soul…I feel as if I am 99 today…a time to rest. In the shower I weep tears of grief and let the water wash them away. I have written in another post how I asked, “Why not take me? I am older, my family is raised, even my grandson is older than Bruno’s son. Why not take me?” The world is a mystery and the Great Spirit acts in mysterious ways. What do I know? Who am I in this vast sea of souls? But I do know that Bruno was a mind, heart, soul and body of pure essence filled with compassion and love. Anyone who has had the chance to meet him even if briefly, is blessed having been touched by an angel.

Reading Bruno’s orbituary in the Montreal Gazette, minutes ago, here at Second Cup, I am sad and yet could not help but smile when I read that his blood type was B Positive! Of course, what else could it have been? This reading along with Chèvrefeuille’s prompt on writing with the theme “A departed Soul”, has stirred up the following lines…

Departed Soul

dawn smiled

clouds made way

an angel

*

an angel

soars over sad hearts

begging for smiles

*

begging for smiles

his loud roar thundered

B positive

*

B positive

his lifetime message

gift

(c) Clr – Tournesol ’14-07-28

—————————————————————-

This was a difficult prompt for me as I think of Shiki dying so young and his generous heart and passion for writing, found some energy to write his last haiku, truly touched me.

sponge gourd has bloomed
choked by phlegm
a departed soul

© Masaoka Shiki

One of Shiki’s desciple, Hekigoto, was by his bedside when he died. He wrote this…

from a bathing tub
I throw water into the lake –
slight muddiness appears

© Hekigoto

Hekigoto started the New Trend Haiku Movement. He experimented with disregarding the seventeen syllable pattern.

far fireworks
sounding, otherwise
not a thing

© Hekigoto

And this prompt created and hosted by Chèvrefeuille has contributed this:

morning dew
evaporates in the early sunlight –
spirit climbs to the sky

© Chèvrefeuille

Submitted for CPHK #527 – Shiki – A Departed Soul

Emotes to manhood (haibun) (SoCS)

The drama teacher told us the other  day that the boys do not emote enough and asked me and Francine to give examples. Is she kidding?  I am a bundle of emotions. My soul and heart are like a bunch of elastics that pile one on to the other building a ball bigger than a golf ball.  Each elastic can snap at the knowledge of sadness, pain and suffering.  An elastic or two will snap if there is hatred and bitterness.    I am the most ridiculous example of someone you should NOT be like. But these guys need examples, she said.

Well, I beg to differ, Mrs. Messier!  These boys know how to emote alright.  They did it just fine when they were babies, even as toddlers but when they got to nursery school at the ripe OLD age of 3 and 4, they were laughed at for showing emotions.  If they dared show any signs that remotely looked or sounded like a kid with a sad face or wanting to cry…well, the boys would call them sissy.  The girls were allowed to cry if someone called them stupid or told them, “I hate you!”   A boy had to cross his arms, pout, scrunch up his nose and narrow his gaze with eyebrows trained to make a high V.  That was how they emote alright. The hid it in their hearts and sometimes it got too big, it slipped into their fist especially if they felt a tear escaping…

So how can I show these 16-year-old boys how to emote tomorrow in drama class?

Hmmm, I think I will tell them a story about a little boy going off in the forest to hunt deer with his father, grandfather and uncles.  And suddenly it starts raining and thundering. And then lightning strikes and hits a tree and falls on his uncles, striking them dead!   Lightening did not let up, yet, though, no sirree!  Lightening hit his father and his grandfather and all he had left was his little rifle and a knife and a deer that was off to the side staring at him with those big doe eyes!  He stared back…he bit his lips, he scrunched his nose, he narrowed his gaze and the dear gently sauntered up closer to him and nudged him with its nose.  The doe had also lost her mom and dad and brothers. The boy understood right there.  He put down his rifle and knife and knelt next to the deer and hugged it and cried… he wept with it in his arms until nightfall.

When the moon came out from behind the clouds, he could see his way back home.  He had an apple in his rucksack and gave it to the deer and whispered to it, “Run and hide, dear one. Thank you for healing my heart. I have become a man today. I am not afraid to cry and to show compassion.”

Deviant Art-Boy and Deer

robbed of his loved ones

nature teaches him how

becoming a man.

© Cheryl-Lynn 2014/06/30

Submitted for LindaGHill’s Friday Reminder SoCS – Prompt “Emote”

A bit late but life got in the way …again.

These are Linda’s instructions and it’s a fun prompt…just let it go, write until your thoughts stop, then you’ve reached the end, then publish.

 

Linda says: 
This week’s prompt word is “emote.” Feel free to add a suffix to it, or not, and just let it flow.
After you’ve written your Saturday post tomorrow, please link it here at the prompt page in the comments so others can find it and see your awesome Stream of Consciousness post. Don’t hesitate to join in!
Here are the rules:
1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.
2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.
3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” or “Begin with the word ‘The’.”
4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people will come and read your post! The way to ping back, is to just copy and paste the URL of my post somewhere on your post. Then your URL will show up in my comments, for everyone to see. For example, in your post you can copy and paste the following: This post is part of SoCS:http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-june-2814/  The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.
5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.
6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!
7. Have fun!

Killer Tree (Friday Fictioneers June 27, 2014)

Photo Prompt:  © Madison Woods

 

Simone went berry picking with her cousin who had been after her for a week.  She finally gave in. It had been the first time in five years  she had ventured into these woods. Nicole was nattering about mon oncle Ovid and his eccentric ways. Simone half listened, dodging gnats and wishing she were home with a good book. Suddenly she heard Nicole call out to her. “Look there’s a pond here. Viens vite!” Simone got to the other side of the bushes and stopped suddenly noticing the tree by the pond, where she’d lost her son.

© Cheryl-Lynn 2014/06/27

Written for: Friday Fictioneers June 27 2014, Photo prompt

 

Death of a loving man

Seberg / Belmondo. À Bout de Souffle. ‘60.

Photo credits:  Seberg / Belmondo. À Bout de Souffle. ‘60.

I chose the death of Fred, my step-father to share my first experience with the darkness of grief, feeling a huge loss that left me empty for almost 8 years.  There were 2 deaths that marked my life the most…as a child my grandfather and as an adult at 31 when my step-father died.

We live in a culture that is uncomfortable with death. We don’t even say the D word, now do we…much?  In the 70’s we heard of Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross talk about the stages of grief and initially at that time, she was observing people who were diagnosed with a terminal illness.  The stages at that time were in relation to a process when faced with dying and death as in her book On Death and Dying: the Five Stages of Grief, first published in 1969: The Shock, denial, anger,  bargaining, depression…then acceptance; but negotiating/bargaining,   for example  would make more sense when we put in perspective someone who is negotiating with their creator, “Oh, G-d, are you sure it’s really my time? Maybe there is one more procedure…one last try…test…”  Kubler-Ross theory  was followed by so many people including professionals, throughout time up to about the mid or late nineties.   

I remember when this book came out.  It was  like THE gospel, the apostles’ creed of sorts; and although helpful the order of stages, at that time, confined many to feel they were not grieving “adequately” if they skipped a stage or if it lasted too long.  How can one measure one’s grief compared to another? 

Thank goodness in 2002 I joined a bereavement support agency (Bereaved Families of Toronto)  as a professional advisor helping youths grieve the loss of a sibling or parent. In my training, I felt so relieved when the grief counselor and professor at York University said, “Remember all those stages you learned in the 70’s and 80’s?”  We all bobbed our heads like good students. “Well, you can throw that out the window now.”  And a sense of relief came over me. What he meant was I was not tied to a set order of stages…the burden was finally removed.  No ONE was set to fit into a see through jar so everyone could evaluate if they were grieving right.

I remember when my step-father died in the summer of 1982.    My mother had not really accepted her loss until about a year or so later.

It was quite simple. Mom always said she felt his presence even when she went to bed at night. “He is right next to me each night. I am not lonely because he has never left me in spirit.”

I believe this is, on some level to be true. A year later, it was as if she suddenly woke up…her grief turned into a violent rage.  She had a difficult time dealing with this time…angry that he left her, angry that she was really alone. It was difficult on so many levels. Being a woman of that generation, born in 1926, strict Catholic upbringing…good girls do not get angry…must comply…accept.  Good thing they added “guilt” as another stage or emotion one feels with grieving. A good Catholic female knows how to feel guilt real well!

In a way, this stage of her grief was unleashing a very angry lioness.  Before it became liberating, it was quite frightening for her.  Many professionals and family to her she was experiencing a delay or complicated grief.   It was not delayed …she was simply grieving in her own unique way and in her own time. 

Thereafter, she felt much sadness, guilt and fell into depression. It was in spurts…not all in one shot since my children were young and she was often with us. I think the children eased the pain…made it more palpable. I hope so.

I had been exposed to death as a young child but children under 7 do have the same concept on death, developmentally they just cannot understand abstract thinking, only concrete. (Children and Grief by C.L. Roberts)

My step father was my first loss that I truly grieved a long long time…many years thereafter.  Perhaps the process was longer as I could not grieve all at once…I mean, I did not have the freedom to feel my sadness and emotions when I was with the children…they were so young both one and 4.  So it was only when I would go for a bike ride, a drive somewhere or long walk that I could be alone with my grief.

I loved him as my father…more than my father…he was good to me and loved my mother with so much affection and admiration that I loved him more for that.  His love took Mom out of her depression, I think for the 13 years they were together.  She made him fill with wonder, his eyes smiled at her always.  They both came from dark places, having suffered broken hearts, undeserving anguish.

You  know that GaGa look you get when you first fall in love?  My mother had that look for him …always!  Of course when I was 17, it made me sick…thought she was so silly and making a fool of herself sashaying around, flirting and all.  But as a teen we knew very little about love, sexuality and sensuality.  We think it is reserved for the young and firm bodies only.  Well, of course I learned differently as I matured but back then, my mother and my step-father were such an enigma.   I still was in awe at their love…that current of love waves…I say this because it was not electric…they did not have a hot, sizzling love affair but a warm, loving relationship…like warm, soft mellow waves wrapping them together, soothing, nice, sweet, calm and safe. 

She always loved him even into her dark illness of dementia…she would often still call out to her third husband, Fred.  Perhaps in her dementia, she is comforted with spiritual visits from her love, Fred.

Death of a loving man

(Tanka)

A true Love Story.

Two anguished souls mend their hearts.

Affectionate love.

One day his body failed him.

A part of her died with him.

 

**************

 

I asked a favour of the Lord

to have his life extend

until my daughter walked.

She still was only 8 months old.

 

****************

 

He was given three

months to live

when he left the hospital

so he could die at home

but, he stopped at the court house

to marry my mother officially

and ensure she would be secure

with his military pension as his widow.

What an act of love!

He sent her off to a ten week course

Assertiveness and building self-confidence.

He wanted her to be strong,

be able to stand on her own

and stand up for her rights

when he no longer would be here

to stand up for her.

What an act of love!

My daughter and I were visiting one day

Fred was lying in a hospital bed in the living room

resting and admiring my youngest child.

She crawled on her knees joyfully,

then up she stood so suddenly

and walked towards her grandfather.

Eleven months she was, and walking now.

my feelings were so bittersweet

I shed my tears of fear,

because her walking meant

his death would soon be near.

 

One night I felt I had to see

him one more time

And on my drive a bird hit…smack

the windshield of my car

I knew then, his time was near.

 

I told him for the very first time

I whispered softly in his ear,

“Don’t worry, Fred, I’ll be hear

and watch for Mom. I love you.”

He died that night in mother’s arms

I’m sad I did not tell him more

how much he meant to me.

 

© Cheryl-Lynn, 2014/02/21

Dungeon Prompts – Season 2, Week 8: When did Death Become Real for You
 
 
Related article:  Youth and Grief (Ntouch-Alecoute)