Resurrection

He has lost her, or thinks he has,
forever from this realm; sadness knowing
no bounds, as it would, given over five decades
of devotion and dedication; hardly knowing
life without her in it;

I remind him, a gardener, hiker, animal lover,
father, much beloved grand and great-grandsire,
caretaker of this precious earth, that if nothing else,
nature demonstrates endurance, resurrection,
perpetuity; yet the questions linger, what if, how
would we, how do any of us move on with half
of our limbs and hearts missing, absent, lost;

The mirror held to us daily, our best self, the truest
of reflections; what now to do with a voice meant
to spark truth; who is there to hold us quite
like a lover, who has witnessed the dark spaces
in our soul and loved us still, without reservation?

How does advice fall on ears that will never again
attune to the melody of that familiar, how again to taste
the smell of that One’s touch, the subtleties of a glance
meant only for us, the sole recipient, repository
of shared hopes, dreams and visions;

And time does heal, and we might go on; still
the wise and earnest hopes of others for our future
land hollow in the ear and gut, one’s own demise
seeming preferable to echoes of ghosts of our own
making, and breaking time in time, damnable time
now the enemy, adversary, cruel master
of feckless fate;

Yet there it is, a look, a gesture, the shine in eyes
of the deer, delicate swish of a raven’s wing,
padding feet of beloved dogs, the bright, blooming
desert in springtime renewing itself beyond memory,
unlooked-for comfort on the long drive into town
while tears begin once again to flow, then cease
upon discovering duality’s illusion while we struggle
still for the breath that has failed us;

And we rise, rise like a dolphin from the depths,
rise like the phoenix from dull grayness of ashes,
arching into the sun’s first rays, open vessel spouting,
reflexively aspiring life into lungs weary
from submersion, even as we dare to smile and greet
another sun-washed day.

Lewis and Clark Caverns, MT Fire in the sky, Upolu Airport Road, North Kohala

Garden in the dying light, Dayton, WA
Setting sun, Kohala Mountain Road

Makapala sunset

I have tried here to depictΒ through photographs what it must feel like to experience the death of a dearly beloved and then to begin emerging from deep grief. I cannot say I’ve done it justice; only that I have made the attempt.
(All photosΒ Β©Bela Johnson)

21 thoughts on “Resurrection

  1. Beautifully written Bela with great depth of trying to go inside the feelings of the
    bereaved. As you say, we cannot know fully unless we been there but through knowing
    others around us, and see their reactions and talk to them, we can gain some understanding.

    Your pictures are amazing.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words. It was not difficult to write this, as the death occurred in a family dear to our hearts. The feelings were pretty accessible, insofar as they are ‘my’ feelings and not those of our bereaved friend. But I can imagine … as I do.

      We lived in a tiny (and I do mean tiny) community in the high desert of New Mexico back in the early 1990’s. These were and are good people who built the most amazing homestead with their own hands in the middle of nowhere. They even dug a huge underground greenhouse to keep year-round produce from freezing during winters. It was not an easy life – still is not – and we left reluctantly to return to New England so ‘the girls’ could go back to their good school. (No regrets on this point – they both went on to do graduate work in their chosen fields.)

      Two years ago we returned to visit and hoped to do so again in the next year or so, thus it was especially poignant to lose this good woman before we could put our arms around her again. She had been told by doctors she should have been dead five years ago, so it was not completely unexpected. But sad, nonetheless. She leaves behind an amazing legacy of creative designs and creative human beings.

      As for the photos, thanks again. It is easy to capture inspiring images when the light is right πŸ˜‰ And Hawaii proves to be a most capable subject on that score. Aloha πŸŒΊπŸŒˆπŸŒ‹

  2. This is such a powerful poem Bela. In reading it one cannot help think of memories of one’s own losses, whether from death or just from a break up. When someone you love disappears from your life the feeling is very much like limbs have been torn away from your body, or that there is some significant part of you missing. Yet as the last part of your poem reminds us that life persists, and even joyously so, and so must we. As I’ve said before the pain of loss is proportional to the to joy we experienced, and maybe that is the best way to honor that joy…by still appreciating it, by still trying to capture some while we still have breath in our lungs.

    1. πŸ™πŸ½ Mahalo, Swarn. I’m glad my words conjured memories, for such triggers can serve to facilitate their integration. In my view anyway, we mature and round out as a result. That being said, many just do not even wish to make the attempt, and seem not to understand the connection between a neverending sense of impending (doom? terror? dread?) and their refusal to embrace all aspects of life. We stand as witness to a world gone mad because of it.

      And you are so astute in saying that the pain of loss is proportionate to the joy we experience/d, because it is these contrasts that constitute this precious existence! Again, I am reminded how science serves the arts, for if we simply observed nature and the world, we would make the connections: above/below, north/south, hot/cold, sunrise/sunset and so forth. We cannot escape these givens. For who would wish to live in endless daylight (the obvious burning up of all life on earth aside for the moment) or ceaseless sound without pause? And so we accept joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure as part and parcel, if we are wise.

      I really appreciate your contributions here on WordPress, Swarn, as your own words provoke insight and facilitate transformation of stagnant concepts in your readers. And for that, I am most grateful. Aloha! ❀

  3. Bela, I think your empathy is spot on. There is the overwhelming grief, (no matter how philosophical we are) and then the glimmers of light shining through here and there, reminding us…. Beautiful photos, as always! πŸ’•

    1. Betty, you well would know the sort of rattling grief I speak of in this offering. I have only experienced that once or twice, never having had lost anyone so dear as a child or my longtime partner. And once again, you have my deepest empathy. Even imagining it is too dreadful to contemplate for long, philosophies be damned.

      At the same time, I do know, and nature does demonstrate, how life goes on and on, simply morphing into other forms. How could we be the sole exception, if humans were fortunate enough to be accepted into this amazing planetary system?

      While I am not religious in any way, I have always experienced, as you know, bleedthroughs from other realms. And so I know. And my friend who lost his wife Knows. Still, my god, it is tough stuff. And time is already doing its work; he is moving into another phase of his own grief process. As we go. On.

      Love to you, dear Betty. Thanks for your praise of the images πŸ˜‰ So much fun to capture them! ❀

      1. Bela, thank you very much for your thoughtful and perceptive words. I agree with you, as you know, about life energies going on and on. And I know in my heart how love connects us all on levels and planes of energies that we can’t even imagine. Still there is grief when we’re seemingly separated….but so it goes. It’s all part of life. And so we evolve into greater understandings and comprehensions. (And on I ramble! πŸ˜‰ ) Thank you again, Bela, for being who you are. πŸ’•

      2. I do know I have a soul sister in you, Betty, yes. And yet what you have experienced just takes my breath away. We both know we have so little control over life and death, yet in our earnestness and deep affection for those we love we cannot – and perhaps should not – envision endings until they leap upon us unaware.

        I do know you, of all people I’m in contact with, have ‘evolved into greater understandings and comprehensions’ because your offerings here on wp – whether posts or comments – speak to those briny depths. And in that, you have found kin in me.

        Hope you are enjoying your Sunday, Betty! ❀

      3. Bela, I feel the same way about you – my kindred spirit. I hope someday we’ll get to meet in person when you’re visiting the area.
        Hope you’re enjoying your Sunday also! (It’s a beautiful fall day here. )
        πŸ˜πŸ’•

  4. Beautifully put Bela. There is another day, as I found out after open heart surgery and having an artificial heart valve put in. Puts things into perspective about time in a life and that of moving on. These photos give a certain magnificent grace to those things that might be gone and to those that will soon follow.

    1. Yes, such events certainly bring mortality front and center. Priorities doubtless get sorted fairly quickly.

      I appreciate your thoughts on the photos. I enjoy attempting to convey a story through a visual medium, longtime wordsmith that I am. Adds a bit of creative challenge, which I like. One with which you are perhaps more familiar. Aloha, my friend. πŸ™πŸ’•

  5. Dearest Bela, firstly I cannot believe 10 days have already passed by since you posted this and my last visit..
    Your poem is like being hugged by tender hands, as you so eloquently express a passing of what has been love and friendship, but your words describe the depth of that love, when you say ” how do any of us move on with half of our limbs and hearts missing, absent, lost….”

    I don’t know, the void must be immense and I am sure no amount of comfort at first can fill that space.. But your words of comfort do inspire, and they do explain, that although that space is empty, it is filled with memories tangible ones of walks out into natures circle of healing.. Love may still be found that echos that heart no longer here within the deer, the raven, and dolphin..

    Beautifully scripted Bela, and your photo’s dear friend did more than justice to this poem, they brought it alive from out of the depths of darkness, into the joy of Light..

    So so enjoyed…
    Have a beautiful weekend Bela.. To have your guidance at close quarters and to listen to your wise words first hand must have held those who suffered such a loss in your arms of Comfort..
    Bless you for being You..
    ❀ Love and Hugs Bela..

    1. Aww, bless You, Sue, for your kindness. Always. I know my friend did enjoy this offering – he read it first thing in the morning and shared it over social media.

      I only know how it was losing a dear, dear friend a couple of years ago. Just really took me by surprise, the depths to which I plummeted as a result – she was my truest soulmate in friend form, here on this island. There will never be another, I can say this fairly confidently. For these kinds of people come along once in a lifetime. I have such friends counted on one hand only, and I treasure them. So I have had a glimpse.

      I would love to believe I could be philosophical in the event of Chris’ untimely death, but too, I cannot say. We are like the same entity, have been for almost 30 years now. Yet we do not dwell on such potentialities, as I am sure you do not as well. For it would rob our days and nights of their sparkle.

      Thanks so much, my friend, for your thoughtful comments. I always love hearing from you and often have to wait until I’m on my laptop to answer, for your words – whether written as posts or comments – always deserve my fullest attention.

      Loving you this glorious Sunday! ❀

      1. Thank you Bela, that is a huge compliment in itself.. And my best friend too died some years ago, I would go sit and read to her as she slowly faded away..
        And yes our life partners are the closest we have, and likewise we live in the now and will face time when it arrives..
        Love and big hugs ❀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s