Vigil

Roy comes Home

Medicine Wheel

 In the dream I’m creating a ceremony to welcome Roy home – it’s very elaborate – yet fluid – it’s fine when I make mistakes – I am creating the space for his death but also welcoming him home. I am also asking for gifts that are expensive. Someone, I think it’s Roy, says humorously and with kindness, “You don’t want much do you?” I laugh. He is teasing me. I finish the ceremony, and I see Roy in an old dented truck pulling on his ears – he can’t hear me but we have made contact. There is such Joy in his heart that I know All Will Be Well….

 I have this dream on March 26th. When I wake up I don’t know if this dream is precognitive or not. 

Roy, who was 104, had taken a fall and was recovering at the Veteran’s Home. He was due to return home in couple of days. He did come home. A week later he was rushed to the hospital with blood clots in his lungs. When his daughter Mary called me with the news two days ago she had been told that his organs were shutting down.   

That night I put my trust in the dream I had on March 26th, choosing to follow its instructions… Roy’s great love was nature. He found both solace and sustenance there, and like me, he walked the forest alone, so I believed that my little ceremony would please him. We followed the same Muse…

I lit a candle, and scented the air with balsam; I stood under my little niche in the corner gazing up at the Medicine Wheel, called in the four directions, extending my arms, palms open, imagining that I was lifting Roy up in some way, inviting him into this circle. A deep silence penetrated the dark room. I imagined peace, as images of our time together poured through me. The dogs appeared as witnesses, which was their custom. When I sang my little made up song, Sara’s Circle, I invited Roy in for a second time as Lily b joined in. I blessed us all with brook water that I had left in a crystal bowl, water that was left over from a full moon ceremony.  I included Roy in absentia, and then stood there in silence. That’s when I saw the fish rising up around us in a circle. Of course the fish would come! Roy was a dedicated fisherman. After more stillness, I thanked the guardians, opened the circle, and let the candle burn on …

Covid and my last winter in New Mexico had kept me from seeing my friend for the last 18 months. And because he was so deaf I couldn’t talk with him.  

When I returned to the computer words appeared on an add that had popped up in my absence – words that I had never noticed before:

End of life Information.”

Around eight this morning Mary called to tell me her father died in his sleep a little after dawn. She had been with him last night. She told me that he was elated. He told her happily that he would soon be coming home and regaled her with stories, his mind as sharp and clear as ever.

 Roy’s last day ended happily with his daughter’s visit, and he was still telling stories. Parts of the dream remain obscure, but the last lines shine on.

  “All Will Be Well”.  And so it was for him.

April 3rd 2021

I first met Roy in 1988 on the mountain behind my house where he was cutting his field with a scythe. I remember looking around this immaculately kept meadow with a kind of dazed wonder – Oh, how much the land was loved! The feeling struck me with such force that I felt an instant connection to this stranger. Roy became my first friend and now, so many years later, I had a basket overflowing with happy memories… Roy was a historian and a scholar, although he worked in the mill for his entire life. I learned most of the history of this area directly from him. Roy and his wife Lois took me in like an adopted daughter; I celebrated holidays with them, listened to countless stories, his guitar music, laughed at Roy’s quick wit and gobbled down Lois’s apple pies. My animals were always welcome. When my house was being built I showered there routinely, while living in my camp during the colder months. The two stacked my wood for me the year I was swamped while teaching. I had fresh trout for dinner each summer, thanks to Roy’s love of fishing (these gifts continued until he was 102 and couldn’t walk through the woods anymore). The first tree I planted here came from their house as a seedling… I could go on and on.

 Roy stands out in my life as one of the most powerful models of what it is really like to be a good man, a gentle man, not one who has predicated his life on power – Roy understood what love was and demonstrated it by being a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and loyal friend. He loved all animals. Every action he took spoke volumes about his personal integrity. His mind remained sharp and clear throughout his life. Roy would have celebrated his 105th birthday this June. Instead we will have a celebration of his life, outdoors in our world, on this day.

 I will always be proud to call Roy my friend. I loved him.

4 thoughts on “Vigil

  1. Yes Tom, I feel that I was privileged to know this man as I did… today my young friend came over and for the first ever we pruned the apple tree that I brought home from Roy’s the first spring I lived here…Thank you for your thoughtful response.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I have, and I will. Now that she is pruned I look at her and feel peace. I was worried about some of the limbs, but they have been removed and there is no disease inside the tree! Thank you!

    Like

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