July 12, 2017

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Death and Dying

July 12, 2017




A poem by Stephen Emerick

You ask me to

Speak to you

Of death and

My tongue becomes the pen

Of a ready writer

Says the psalmist

May the words I speak and

The pen that writes on behalf of The One

Be therefore like springtime where

I do not fear its

Arrival on the sweet and pungent

Air announcing its

Eminent presence

For death is

Undervalued in the

Larger scheme of

Life as we see it

And life itself becomes

Something we spend our lives giving up what has

Never been ours to possess

There are secrets told here

By the wise ones when

In rooms of dark night they

Speak of freedoms visitation

In their dying

And as death itself visits in its

Season of unreasonableness and

Walks the hall of your home

Nothing can stop its arrival

Nor is there need for such

Everything comes down to

This breath and

That is all

And this breath in itself

Is enough and in that

Moment of birth all dross

Falls away and

Nothing holds us

And everything releases us





'Shroud of Christ'


A Poen by  Stephen W. Emerick

Cotton shroud
With Grace
Covers the face
Of the Christ

And whence the hands and fingers
That sewed the shroud
That exchanged coin for cotton
In the days bustling market

And what of the hands that drove the wagons
In from the fields after hands and fingers
Pulled cotton under clouds
In fields of labor
Coming home to the seeds, roots, and shoots
Born from hardened planting hands

And whence the seed
Traced to its origin
Does not spread the story over us
In our living and our dying
Revealing in signs and wonders
That we came before the seed!

Let us take upon us
The shroud of Christ
So that we who carry
The seed of greatness
From the womb of the universe
Planting us on this earth
For this moment in time
Shall be the light of Christ
And He through our hands and fingers
Will touch the whole world

Let us pray therefore
That upon the dying of our loved ones
And yes the death of ourselves
When our bones and sinew are gone
May our shrouds be gathered up
And taken to the highest mountain tops
To become
The prayer flags of the Christ
Waving in celebration
Of the planting of the seed





'News of Death'


A Poem by Stephen Emerick

There is no time for
The rising of dough, nor the raising of children
Nor the baking of bread
When the winged words of death
Spring from your mouth
And we must drape the
Black-laced garment
Of the non-living
Upon the clocks lifeless hands of
Time waiting patiently, outstretched upon
The bedroom wall




  When a loved one’s life (as we know it) comes to an end… there is to be a new beginning. Whether you believe in an afterlife or not: there is a life after death. We must nurture it. When we don’t do this (or know how) we experience depression, fear, anxiety, and sometimes despair. 


  When a life ends ~ the relationship does not. The life as we knew it changed. The person in body is gone. They have dropped their robe. Passed over. Died. These are words we use to try to understand or speak about the experience. 


  Yet the relationship can go on. How? 


  1. Your loved one deserves a place in the continuity and movement of your life! As your life continues to develop they have a part in it. As a form of guidance, inspiration, deep love, wisdom, remembrance. And of course, missing them! 


  2. Don’t make the mistake of “eliminating” your relationship with this person (thinking it is over just because they dropped their robe/died). A robe of many colors, worn, carried, shared, dropped, is still a robe of many colors. It will always be a part of the color of our lives. 


  Color is as energy, vibration, prayer, and movement: it can change forms and expression but it cannot be destroyed.


  1. Continue to nurture the relationship! Be mindful of the inner importance that they have/had in your life. The relationship goes on in: remembrance; reflection; dreams; memories. Be mindful of the sacred places and spaces where you were in relationship with this person. Take some of their clothing and sew a covering to wear in remembrance or prayer. Keep a memento in a medicine bag. A lock of their hair. Something to share in prayer or with others in remembrance and gratitude.


  2.  Mindful Journey Journal. Keep mindful about the relationship (journal about it, or dance it, sing it, paint it!). 


  As it develops in this new dimension - in dreams, recollections, sacred places-make an entry in your journal. This active reflection helps you see the ongoing, still unfolding relationship!



  1.  Finish the unfinished business: If there are apologies, requests for forgiveness or things you wish you had said…. go ahead and do that now. Write them out, speak them to the loves one’s picture or special place. Share this with a friend of great trust if you choose. But do this important work. Make room for love.


  2.  Embody the relationship: Our muscles, heart, mind and spiritual memory and life is with us always. Just as we may have a “body of work” that we are about (professionally)…. we can also “embody the relationship” with our loved one. Healing is to continue in life. It does no one any good if we carry bitterness or resentments of the loss. This can make one sick. It blocks healing. 


  Help the body to heal: forgive, remember, love, grieve, celebrate, pray, and have gratitude. This makes room for more of relationship into the days and years ahead.


  In the one breath of life our loved one had, you were part of it.


  You still are. They still can be. Make it a blessing.


  Embody the love! Embody the relationship!


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