Death Be Not Proud

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so…. John Donne 1610

The year 2012 just might be the culmination of years of worry for a stricken family. My sister Bonnie succumbed to MS on January 14. The love of her life, Michael Lee, died just 3 weeks later of liver failure, but most likely…of a broken spirit and a broken heart. It took great effort on the part of his family to get him to Bonnie’s memorial service. He was thin, gaunt, weak and of the most yellowed skin I have ever witnessed on a human being. A tearful hush fell over the crowd as he approached in a wheelchair, covered in blankets and hats which were not working to dispel the shivers. He was there to bid goodbye to his life partner of almost 3 decades, and he struggled to find the words. No one got up to speak after that, how could they. We all quietly walked by the family, shaking hands, hugging and expressing our sympathy. He spent the rest of the weekend in his home, asking to sleep in her bed, requesting her sheets from the upstairs bedroom, greeting friends and family who had been in their support for all those years. It was his own special way of saying goodbye. We believe he was aware from recent hospital tests that he was not in line for a liver transplant. When he returned to the facility the next week, he requested Hospice, but did not advise the family…they had enough to worry about. He passed away just 15 minutes before his adult children arrived on that Saturday afternoon to pay a visit. Rest in peace, Mike and Bonnie. You could not be life or in death.

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