The ten-month-old child of friends of ours had been battling a rare blood disorder/auto-immune disorder for the last four months of her life. She received a bone marrow transplant two weeks ago, and this past Monday evening she succumbed to a post-transplant infection before her new white blood cells could be produced.
A memorial service was held for Abigail this morning. During the service her parents read the following poem (perhaps better written/read as prose) that had been given to them by a hospital staff member shortly before Abigail passed from this earth.
I am transcribing it here because I believe that its message is appropriate for us all, with the holidays approaching and our hearts beginning to reflect on, and give thanks for, our personal blessings.
No responses are solicited to this poem/story. Please. I simply request that you all read it, and then, as Rick and I have tried to do recently, spend some time reflecting on your own gifts from God.
The next place that I go will be as peaceful and familiar as a sleepy summer Sunday and a sweet untroubled mind. And yet it won’t be like any place I have ever been or seen … or even dreamed of in the place I leave behind.
I won’t know where I’m going, and I won’t know where I’ve been as I tumble through the always and look back toward the when.
I’ll glide beyond the rainbows; I’ll drift above the sky. I’ll fly into the wonder, without ever wondering why. I won’t remember getting there ... somehow I’ll just arrive. But I’ll know that I belong there and will feel much more alive than I have ever felt before. I will be absolutely free, of the things that I held onto, that were holding on to me.
The next place that I go will be so quiet and so still that the whispered song of sweet belonging will rise up to fill the listening sky will joyful silence, and with unheard harmonies, of music made by no one playing, like a hush upon a breeze.
There will be no more room for darkness in that place of living light, where an ever-dawning morning pushes back the dying night. The very air will fill with brilliance, as the brightly shining sun and the moon and half a million stars are married into one.
The next place that I go won’t really be a place at all. There won’t be any seasons -- winter, summer, spring, or fall. Nor a Monday, nor a Friday, nor December, nor July. And the seconds will be standing still … while hours hurry by.
I will not be a boy or a girl, a woman or a man. I’ll simply be, just, simply, me … no worse or better than. My skin will not be dark or light. I won’t be fat or tall. The body I once lived in won’t be part of me at all. I will finally be perfect. I will be without a flaw. I will never make one more mistake, or break the smallest law. And the me that was impatient, or was angry or unkind will simply be a memory … the me I left behind.
I will travel empty handed. There is not a single thing I have collected in my life that I would ever want to bring -- except the love of those who loved me, and the warmth of those who cared. The happiness and memories and magic that we shared.
Though I will know the joy of solitude I’ll never be alone. I’ll be embraced by all the family and friends I’ve ever known. Although I might not see their faces all our hearts will beat as one, and the circle of our spirits will shine brighter than the sun.
I will cherish all the friendship I was fortunate to find, all the love and all the laugher in the place I leave behind. All these good things go with me. They will make my spirit glow, and that light will shine forever in the next place that I go.