last breath at nautilus teachings

death chooses
it’s date and time.
for Dory
she spent one last night
in the hands of the man
who loved her.
he sat in darkness
holding her hand
and praying all night.
he slept
with his head upon her bed
in the morning
as the sun rose
he wiped down
her face and hands
with warm water
and waited for death.
early, Sheri arrived
hugged her father
kissed her mother
one last time
and headed out.
her mother had come
to her in her sleep last night
“sheri lynn, you take my credit card
and your sister-in-laws out shopping tomorrow
for a nice outfit to wear to my funeral
i can’t have you all looking
like ragamuffins!”
then she saw her mom smile.
heard her mother’s giggle
and decided to do as told.
only one of her sister-in-laws
decided to go with her
they drove to the mall in silence
both picked out something
mom would approve of
and when the cashier asked her,
“how will you be paying for this?”
at the instant sheri said, 
“charge it…”
her mother took her last breath.
sheri turned to debbie and said,
“mom just died, we have to go…”
they raced home
to find her mom’s friend
inside with all 5 of the children…
“oh, Sheri…”she began
but sheri interrupted her
“i know. mom died.
thank you for watching the kids.”
then they drove the 4 blocks
debbie hung back allowing
sheri space to mourn.
the elevator seemed to stop
at every floor
as sheri cried
head against the elevator wall
and then

she slowly stepped off.
everyone was in her moms room
the sheet was over her head.
“what are you doing?
she can’t breath like that?”
sheri cried.
then she raced up
pulled back the cover
and felt the chill of death.
her mom was already turning gray
body cooling off
all the monitors were blank
no one spoke.
arrived for Dory
on July 20, 1987
at 1:58pm
at the age of 55
while the glorious
favorite words Dory always spoke,
‘charge it’
were spoken by her beloved
sheri lynn!
the sun shone brightly
the birds chirped outside
dory’s window
while sheri’s husband
without pause
or acknowledgment ,
sheri did not grieve.
she raced home
held her son
started warming food
opened up the doors to her home
called the head of the prayer chain
knowing soon her house
would be flooded with
love for Dory
sharing funny stories
laughter and tears
would be bouncing off the walls
wine would be drank
food eaten
babies would cry
the moon would rise,
life would continue on
leaving behind
a huge empty space
a seeping hole
in sheri’s heart
never to be mended
healed or filled again…
as the night wore on
her husband arrived home
people were still lingering
not wanting to leave
this last moment
of new death behind.

whispered conversations were
happening inside and out
“sheri, did your mom die today?”
sheri just nodded her head
and fell into him for a hug.
after a few moment
he gently pushed her aside
and said,
“good. now my house will get back to normal.”
right there
at that moment
he danced upon her mother’s grave.
this was unforgivable
it broke her open
even further.
she stilled
looked at him
and said,
“yes. we will all be out of your hair soon…”
she had no idea who this guy was.
how he could be so cold
but the one thing she did know
what this was the beginning
of the end of her marriage…
“sheri, sheri…”
she turned to see her
mom’s friend bev,
“oh, sheri. your mother loved you so much.
she was so proud of you…”
then together they cried,
shared wine
and remembered
the Dory
everyone here
knew and loved.
she had touched thousands of lives
the day drew to a close
her son was sleeping in his crib
the moon shinning through
her windows
as it did the night
the Holy Spirit came to her.
she slowly cleaned up
the house
all the while reciting
to herself
Psalm 23

The LORD Is My Shepherd
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

in the still silent
heated breeze of july
sheri sat
looking at her
mother’s photograph
as tears began
streaming down her cheeks
she cried herself
into one last sleep
before the final goodbye began.