Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Seasons are changing. The Earth is getting ready to bed down for winter time. The leaves are turning ever so slightly on the trees. Even here in sunny Florida I can feel the turn of the seasons. You develop an accute nose when you live here. The sunlight gets thinner, longer. Doesn't look quite like blindingly brilliant midday in Miami Beach in mid July where any vulgar deed has to be examined under incendiary light.

There's also a tang in the air that is less of the ocean and more of the earth and mold. Things are going underground, including a friend or two.

Shirley died at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday morning. I'd gone over Monday while some of her friends were throwing her a cheese cake and cocktail party. Now. M'Lady was already in that coma state where you know that the person is out of the body, already packed bags, but keeping the sack of bones alive just in case someone needs a good shock.

After the crowds left, a few of us diehards sang pagan songs to her 'til about 10:00 p.m.:

The Earth, the Air, the Fire, the Water,

Return, return, return, return...


May the Circle be open and never broken,

May the love of the Lady be forever on your heart,

Merry meet, and merry part,

And merry meet again.

Shirley's sack of bones snorkled a few times, opened clouded eyes and glaced at us all and she wiggled her legs a bit as if dancing the spiral one more time. But she was already gone then. I knew it. I left.

Took care of business, a doctor's appointment in the a.m., mailed a few packages and arrived about an hour after she cut the cord. Ray looks like a spiked deer, lost and unsure of the next direction to travel. Judy, Shirley's daughter got in her car to go back to West Palm and check herself back into hospital for the pneumonia she was in for. Hospice counted the sacks of meds, checked the morphine and filled out papers. Jeannie and a nurse washed the body and put on her favorite oils. A long stem yellow rose was placed on her pillow.

I'm sure she was catatonic at seeing herself look ever so shitty bloodless holding a beautiful bloom. Three of us circled her and sang the goodbye cup to her and the crematorium was called to remove the remains.
I went to Joanne's Fabrics, the grocery store, saw a friend I haven't seen in ages and chatted her up. I wonder if any of them knew that I had kissed a corpse with lavender oil on her forhead not an hour or so before?
I'm happy. I mean, truly calm, singing happy. I did all my crying and wailing while she was going through the guts and nuts of dying. Now the deed is done, so are the tears.

I'll see you soon enough, my friend.


Gala said...

Was this while you and I were on the phone yesterday? Or just right after? Shirley was speaking to us even then.

queenlint1 said...

It may have been during your phone call. She had a quirky sense of timing in all things the 20 odd years I've known her.

Her end was not beautiful. But it was memorable and thankfully, dignified.