The Sailing Ship
by Charles Henry Brent
What is dying?
I am standing on the seashore.
A ship sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.
She is an object and I stand watching her
Till at last she fades from the horizon,
And someone at my side says, “She is gone!” Gone where?
Gone from my sight, that is all;
She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her,
And just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination.
The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her;
And just at the moment when someone at my side says, “She is gone”,
There are others who are watching her coming,
And other voices take up a glad shout,
“There she comes” – and that is dying.
by Robert Noel Test, American Poet (1926-1994)
The day will come when my body will lie upon a white sheet neatly tucked under four corners of a mattress located in a hospital; busily occupied with the living and the dying. At a certain moment a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function and that, for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped.
When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine. And don’t call this my deathbed. Let it be called the bed of life, and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives.
Give my sight to the man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby’s face or love in the eyes of a woman.
Give my heart to a person whose own heart has caused nothing but endless days of pain.
Give my blood to the teenager who was pulled from the wreckage of his car, so that he might live to see his grandchildren play.
Give my kidneys to the one who depends on a machine to exist from week to week.
Take my bones, every muscle, every fiber and nerve in my body and find a way to make a crippled child walk. Explore every corner of my brain.
Take my cells, if necessary, and let them grow so that, someday a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain agianst her window.
Burn what is left of me and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow.
If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weakness and all prejudice against my fellow man.
Give my sins to the devil.
Give my soul to God.
If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you. If you do all I have asked, I will live forever.
by G W (Bill) Marshall
A very precious and unique little girl,
Has got her wings and angel’s smile,
For when the scroll did first unfurl,
Was found her name that meant beguile.
This princess that angels found with joy,
With such innocence they all blushed
And curiosity death could not destroy,
But on arrival, the angels’ choir hushed.
Only love was found in this tiny vessel,
That grieving hearts held so very dear,
And in an angel’s arms she would nestle,
While Jesus turned aside to shed a tear.
G W (Bill) Marshall /January 19, 2013
As I was finally slowing going through the hundreds of cards and letters that we received, I found this letter from our friend Kerry and it was so beautiful. These things are hidden treasures in the wonderful stack of goodwill that was sent our way. We appreciate all the love and support that has come our way. The video below contains a reading of the letter by a kind volunteer.
by Kerry Worley
you lost one third of your life today. it slipped away from you like a feather in the wind, no second opinion, no chemo, no pumps or shunts, no internet search, no new medications, no prayer groups, no guru. just gone. giggling, warm, and alive at breakfast, and a different, terrible world by dinner.
you lost one third of all you bore, all you nursed, all you played with, cried for, laughed with, all you worried about. one third of all you took to the doctor, took to lessons, took to practice, cheered for, corrected, praised, educated, and loved. loved with all of your heart. one third of all you made plans for, all you had hopes for, all you would die for. one third of all you protected with all of the fierceness you could ever muster. gone at the whim of something unimaginable. one third of you is gone.
but Ellie was more than a third. more than just one of three children. she was, as all children are, everything. your baby, your only little girl. sweet, good natured little Ellie. she was six. that’s one half woman and one half baby. diligent enough to practice the cello with the determination of someone much older, yet still finding her in your bed some mornings. she was a big presence in your life, much more than just a number, unquantifiable in your life, your home, your heart.
one third of you is gone, but not just one third. it wasn’t split evenly. it is the good parts. mostly your soul, but a good bit of your heart, too. even your mind and your strength don’t feel quite right. the good parts went with her, and the useless ones, arms, legs, face — all of which you would trade in a minute to have her back, are still here.
but one third is a fraction. it’s a part, and there is…another part. two thirds of your joy, your life, your vibrance are still here with you. and they are broken too. they are waiting on your strength so that they can get theirs. they will wait as long as you need for them to, but when you are ready, you will teach, and love, and cheer, and drive (with wheels and with will) — and you will, one day, find that there is a little spark of joy somewhere. it will grow, and you will start to get your soul back. it is winter now, but spring is coming. and you haven’t really lost yourself at all, it is just in mourning, and waiting to grow again. and although you’ll always miss her, always love her, never forget one little detail of her, you will be whole again.
Bill wrote this poem for the family of 1-year-old Karson who passed away on Sep 9, 2013.
by G W (Bill) Marshall
Oh,little man your stay was short
You never knew this world of distress,
But you brought loving comfort,
To where God chose to bless.
In our quiet times together alone,
I shall always cherish until that day
When death shall find me and atone,
And we both are home to stay.
I shall await and always look forward,
For looking back brings only tears
And you are now safe with the Lord,
Awaiting when I finish my years.
G W Marshall / 12 September, 2013
Smile for the Ages
by Todd Nigro (Ellie’s Dad)
Ellie, each day with you was special, it’s hard to express,
I loved your voice, smile, laugh, and your sweet tenderness.
Your joyful, playful spirit was such a contagious one,
A minute in your presence was bursting with fun.
I always enjoyed our adventures playing on the beach,
It’s heart breaking to realize you’re not within my reach.
You were so amazing and beautiful in so many ways,
Sincere, giving, and loving through all of your days.
I wish I could hug you right now, why did you have to go?
These days are hard without you, but this you should know,
When the day comes to join you in that heavenly place,
A beautiful smile for the ages will be on my face!
Special Thanks to Michael Mackin
“I want to thank you for allowing me to record your lovely poem you wrote for your daughter Ellie. Having lost my two oldest daughters, Shannon and Cynthia, and my wife of 32 years, Linda, to a drunk driver in 2007, I’ve learned to really appreciate life. Thank you for giving me the honor to help keep the memory of Ellie alive. There is one thing I’ve learned — we can lose loved ones, but no one can take from us our memories and those special moments in time.”
That’s what we ask.
The truth is, we may never be able to know for sure why.
But we do know that there is no single “should have done” or “could have done”
or “did” or “didn’t do” that would have changed that why.
All that love could do was done.
God’s Lent Child
by Author Unknown
I’ll lend you for a little while, a child of mine, God said
For you to love the while he lives and mourn for when he’s dead.
It may be six or seven years, or forty-two or three
But will you, till I call him back, take care of him for me?
He’ll bring his charms to gladden you and should his stay be brief
You’ll always have his memories as a solace in your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught below I want this child to learn.
I’ve looked this whole world over in my search for teachers true
And from the folk that crowd Life’s lane I have chosen you.
Now will you give him all your love and not think the labour vain,
Nor hate me when I come to take this lent child back again?
I fancy that I heard them say “Dear God, thy will be done.
For all the joys this child will bring the risk of grief we’ll run.
We will shelter him with tenderness, we’ll love him while we may
And for all the happiness we’ve ever known, we’ll ever grateful stay.
But should the angels call him much sooner than we’d planned
We will brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand.”
by Shannon Lee Moseley
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free.
I’m following the path God has chosen for me.
I took His hand when I heard Him call;
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day,
to laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way;
I’ve found now peace at the end of the day.
If my parting has left a void,
then fill it with remembered joys.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss;
Oh yes, these things, I too will l miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
look for the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savored much;
good friends, good times, a loved ones touch.
Perhaps my time seems all too brief;
don’t lengthen your time with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and peace to thee,
God wanted me now – He set me free.