standing beside death at nautilus teachings

is there really
a final goodbye
when you lose someone
you dearly love?
sher stood by
her mothers casket
until every person had
come up
said their goodbyes
and the pastor
had long gone home.
her mother looked
beautiful,
even in her death.
her makeup was just right,
so was her hair.
she wore a dress
her aunt had sent
dory weeks prior
for an event she
would never attend.
death is still.
while all around
the flowers were blooming
the sun brilliant in the sky
the heat of summer rising up
as babies cried
people laughed
the life of
Doris VivianWilkinson Schultz
wife,
mother of 4
grandmother of 5
founder of ‘stitch and bitch’
daughter to Charlie,
sister to Elsie and Ed
friend to thousands…
a loving, giving, faith filled woman
former executive director
of the regional
American Cancer Society,
who dedicated her life
to the fight against cancer,
died of leukemia-
she was 55.
sher stood
vigilantly by her mother’s side
not letting anyone get too close.
when she first saw dory
lying in the casket
surrounded by flowers
it reminded her
of being small
watching her mother
tend to her flower beds…
she looked softly real
so she reached out
to take her mother’s hand
only to find it still,
cold,
covered in makeup
to hide the gray
bleak emptiness
death leaves behind.
at this very moment
she quickly withdrew her hand
smoothed the makeup out
sucked in a deep breath
and began to cry…
as the tears cascaded
down her soft cheeks
she heard movement-
it must be time,
she thought.
sher dried her eyes
took one more breath
and forced a tiny smile…


one by one
they strolled up the isle
glanced down
prayed
looked at sheri
then stopped at her fathers side
all saying,
‘i’m sorry for your loss…
dory was such a lovely woman…
i loved her so much…
she will be missed…’
time just disappeared
the ticking of clocks
was no longer heard
dory
was
dead…
sheri
was
alone…
whew!
how would she lead her life now?
who was going to be her compass?
how long would she continue
to stay with her husband?
they had been building a new home
across town
15 miles away
from the hospital
her mother died in.
the move was soon.
‘sher’, her father called out
‘it’s time to go to the mausoleum…’
a quiet drive
through the town dory loved
down her cinnamon lane
past the high school sher graduated from
the mcdonalds she loved so much
entering a long winding lane
surrounded by graves
of so many people
until at last
home…
dory’s home
from now on.
a granite piece
had been taken down
the casket had been loaded
upon sliding bars
the family stood around
a prayer was said
her boxed beauty
wheeled into a hole
granite replaced
one by one people left
and soon sher
was alone…
her hand glided
across the stone cold grave
which held her mother…


“oh mommy…what are nicholas and i going to do, now ?
how can i be a good mother without you?
how will i make it as a single mom?
i know you would be upset that i
am choosing divorce.
that is why i stayed married until you died…
i’m sorry mom.
i love you…’
then she walked out
into the sun
her husband holding their son
chatting with her family.
she soaked it all up
breathed in her mothers death
felt her mothers strength encompass her
knowing God was with her
held her head high
smiled
and said,
“well, let’s go toast mom.
it’s time for a drink!”
believe it or not,
everyone smiled
nodded their head
got in their cars
and began hearing the
tic tic ticking of lifes clock again…
not her father.
he stayed.
walked in the mausoleum
for his own final goodbye
to the dory he loved.
is there really
a final goodbye
when you lose someone
you dearly love?
no.
there is an understanding
an acceptance
you will never hug them
hear their voice
feel their touch
smell their scent…
common sense
and the brain tell you
they are gone,
but the heart
oh,
that big ole’ beating thing
inside your chest
it breaks wide open
and lays in wait
for the healing balm
of love, time, faith
laughter,
just life
to slowly sew it up
with golden threads of memory
only shared
between
you
and
the
person
you loved
and lost…
for sher
this would never happen
for her
even 30 years later
it still felt like yesterday
she still catches her mothers scent
now and then
still sees her mother smile
hears her giggle
visits her in her dreams
talks to her about everything…
for sher
her mother
lives on through her son-
he is the living connection
between death and life
for sher…
no,
he has no memory of grandma
only a few faded photographs
and the few words from his mother,
“nicholas james…
you saved my mothers life,
if only for a short time…
i love you my son…”