It is Thursday, October 18th as I type, the 26th anniversary of my husband’s 39th birthday. For those of you who, like me, can’t do math in your head, he would have been 65, but like his maternal great-uncle Clark Montgomery and Jack Benny, he refused to acknowledge the actual number, preferring to always remain (at least in his mind) 39. Since this is “his” day, instead of just my words, I’d also offer you some of his, the only poem I knew him to pen.
Even after four years and change, this is still a difficult day. Every time I read this poem, I can’t help wondering what (if anything) he knew and when he knew it. And yet these words are so full of him (particularly the last two lines) – his eternal optimism and his deep faith – what I’m ultimately left with, even if it is only the barest of slivers, is hope.
May it be so for you as well.
Original poem by William D. Swaar
(copyright 2018, all rights reserved.)
The grievers gather slowly,
The words start hushed and low.
Then volume rises and below
starts the heartbeat of words.
Like a roaring surf it soars and falls,
but constant is the heartbeat of love and life and loss,
The baby’s cry and the muffled sob
all a part of the steady rhythm.
Finally the room is hushed
While the sacred words are told.
Lives remembered, hope expressed,
Faith put on over fear.