By Phantomimic All Rights Reserved©RAGG

1) Reflections upon a coffin 2) Death 3) Business 4) Instant 5) Words

Under somber lights your still body lies so peaceful amidst the scented flowers. You are finally free of the tubes and the machines that kept you alive. Your chest doesn't heave anymore and your voice has vanished. Its echo will never again resonate among the walls of your home. Your family and friends mourn your loss and miss your voice and your welcoming smile. How they wish they had spent more time with you, but tears and prayers cannot bring you back. You are gone into the great unknown where the dreams and aspirations of men and women meet the jagged edge of reality. What became of all those plans? Who will cross out those lines on the list of things to do? How do you live a future that was not meant to be? There is healing to be done. Others will have to change their lives to fill your vacuum and replace your love with their own. And all they have left of you now are the memories, and your stories, your photographs, your letters, and many other details of how your presence touched their lives.

Death is often depicted in dramatic terms: the grim reaper, the conqueror worm, the skeleton blowing its horn, that constant flatlined beep in the electrocardiogram. But all we see, if anything, is that soft final breath. All we feel is the cold surface of lifeless skin. And all we hear is the deafening silence of absence.

BUSINESS "The dearly departed deserve the best", they say. "The one with the mahogany wood and the golden handles is ideal, she would be glad you picked it for her." Hear that cash register ringing? I want to ask with sarcasm, "But do you have one with headphones so she can listen to music? Or do you have one with a little TV and internet connection? This is just so she won't be bored once she is buried with nothing to do, you know. Or maybe do you have one with temperature and moisture control? We wouldn't want her to feel uncomfortable down there, do we?" But I don't ask, because I fear they may have one. It's business, even in the most hurtful moments of our lives when we are most vulnerable, it is just business.

We inhabit the fleeting hours of that fragile sliver of time which is constantly born tomorrow only to rapidly die yesterday. Within that instant we forge our plans to mold the future, and we etch in stone our past. Within that instant, we love, we hate, we dream, we hope, we laugh, we cry, we conquer, we are defeated, we fall, and we rise to try again. We live in the present, until the day there is no more future, and our present becomes our past...forever.

The time has come to leave you and immerse ourselves again in whatever remains of our lives. We will never see you again. So now comes the question: what words to say? Surely they must be something special, something magnanimous or philosophical, something far-reaching and awe-inspiring. This occasion calls for words that bear on the tragedy of your demise, but that at the same time, frame it within the larger context of the ever-continuing story of humanity. It calls for words that highlight the contributions of your life even as they acknowledge your untimely death. Words that soar with hope and wisdom, but at the same time accept the finality of irreversible events. What words to say? What to say? What? I can only think of, "We loved you, goodbye." I guess that will have to do.

The photograph is "Muerte en Blanco" by Gabriel N. Moreno and is reproduced here under a Creative Commons License. If you liked these poems you may be interested in: Visiting my website: Phantomimic's Website Following me on Twitter: Phantomimic on Twitter Liking my Facebook Page: Phantomimic on Facebook Thank you! : ^ )

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