In these panicked times
In these fretful, frenzied, frantic times
I have found solace at the cemetery.
The shells of those who’ve lived
here and moved on
to whatever comes beyond
no longer need to distance themselves
from anyone, from me.
I find peace with them – the chrysalises
of my friends – Mike, Rachael, and Debby.
I wander amid the tombstones, snapping
photos of them, and the spinning wheels –
the bright spinners are the only movement
in the cemetery and I feel
drawn to the movement of their rainbow
spinning, faster and faster as I approach,
in a show just for me.
I’m allowed to be here. In the sunshine.
In the peace of the cemetery.
And no one disturbs me as I wander
through the final beds
for the shells of those who
are no longer scared of what lies ahead.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
Bow Cemetery #1
Bow Cemetery – Civil War Veteran #1
Bow Cemetery – Civil War Veteran #2
Bow Cemetery – Civil War Veteran #3
Bow Cemetery #2
Bow Cemetery #3
I’ve been sort of dreading today all week. It’s the third anniversary of Moz’s passing today. Last night I found myself reliving in my thoughts the series of things that happened three years ago. Moz being brought to our home in an ambulance. Moz being wheeled on a stretcher into our home. The conversations we had. The uncertainty about what lay ahead. Did we have six months? Or less? The hospice nurse coming over to show us how to care for Moz.
Last night I went to bed. Dreading. And I slept.
I slept right through the time of Moz’s passing and beyond that – I think I got a full eight hours in! And when I woke up this morning there was a lightness to my heart. I felt joy.
I ended up at Lake Padden – did a quick walk around the lake – it was beautiful up there today. And I felt Moz and Dad with me.
And that’s the thing, isn’t it? We’re never really separated from those we love! Never! The love is as real now as it was three years ago! The love’s never died. All that’s real never dies.
Just had to share.
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
– Revelations 21:4
Moz and Einstein.
Dad and Moz: Together again.
Daddy passed away yesterday morning. I guess some part of me felt that if we didn’t announce his death, it wouldn’t be real. I actually found myself going to Dad’s page on Wikipedia to see if a death date was listed, yet – and when it wasn’t listed I figured that meant Dad hadn’t really died – because Wikipedia knows everything, right?
I wasn’t with Dad when he passed – I was walking on the boardwalk in Bellingham. But he was surrounded by the dear care-givers who took him into their home three years ago and loved him as family. Our whole family has been so blessed by the care shown Dad at Cedar Grove. Thank you, Gwen, Amanda, Megan, and Dietrick. I don’t know what we would have done without your love and support the last three years.
I have felt the support and love of all of you, too. I might go into hiding for a little while – so if you don’t hear from me, please don’t take it personally. It’s just me doing what I do. I love you all – each and every beautiful one of you. Thank you for joining Dad and I on our adventures together the last three years. We couldn’t have asked for better adventure-comrades.
As Dad would say, “Berg heil!”
I got a message from Amanda that Dad was having a “rough time” and headed over there to check up on him.
He was sitting at the kitchen table, finishing breakfast when I got there. I rested my hand on his back and he looked over at me and smiled. I held his hand and he brought my hand to his lips and kissed it. Then I brought his hand to my lips and kissed it. He smiled again.
Dad: How’s Mom?
Karen: She’s fine.
Dad: Where is she now… is she (mumbling)…?
Karen: (Thinking how I should answer this question. Finally…) Daddy, Mom passed on two years ago. (I feel I should say this – I feel like he needs to know…) She’s waiting for you when that time comes.
Dad: (Nods and looks down at his plate. I’m not sure he heard or understood. I wait.) Where are Peter and David?
Karen: Pete’s in Hoodsport – on the peninsula. Dave’s in Olympia. They’re both doing great. Pete came and saw you a couple days ago. You watched football together. Dave’s coming up this weekend.
Karen: They both love you very much.
Karen: And I love you, too.
(Dad looks up at me and smiles.)
Karen: Looks like you’ve been eating an avocado.
Dad: Yeah. This was a rich one.
Karen: (I lean over so my mouth is next to his ear, and start singing a hymn I know he’s familiar with..) “In heavenly Love abiding, no change my heart shall fear, and safe is such confiding, for nothing changes here…” and “O dreamer, leave thy dreams for joyful waking!…”
(Then we sit quietly for maybe ten minutes, or twenty – I lose track of time. I don’t feel the need to say or do anything. We’re just together. He’s starting to nod off now. His head drooping towards the table…)
Karen: Do you want to go sit in the recliner in front of the television and take a nap?
Dad: (Looks up at me and nods.) Yeah.
(Dad is in a wheelchair today – he’s having a hard time standing or walking – so Dietrich pushes him in the wheelchair over to a recliner and helps lift him into the chair. Amanda and Dietrich cover Dad with a blanket and get him comfortable.)
Karen: Are you comfortable?
Karen: I love you.
Dad: I love you. (Thinking.) Is Mom gone?
Karen: Yeah. But I feel her presence with me all the time. And I know she’s waiting for you when you’re ready to join her.
Dad: (Nods. And this time I know he understands.)
I wave to him and blow him a kiss. And he waves back and gives me a sleepy smile.
Today I saw a car that looked like the one
that took Mom away after she died.
And I wondered if it had a body in the back.
And I wondered how many people might right
now be transporting bodies from homes
to mortuaries in hatchbacked cars. Because
somebody’s got to do it, right? Bodies
can’t just drive themselves where they
need to go after they die. Okay. I’m going
to think about something else now.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
Two years ago today Moz was brought to our home for hospice care. Two years ago, around 9:30 pm, she spoke her last word to me – with a happy smile – “Okay.” She passed in the early morning hours of February 21st while I slept on the couch next to her bed.
The Brush of Angel Wings
The end was like the beginning –
the oxygen machine breathing,
making the sound of the womb,
a soothing rhythm in the room
as she slept on the bed next to me.
All is quiet, but for the pumping
of O through her mask. In my dreams
I feel the light brush of angel wings
and fear is replaced by freedom
and limitless joy that comes,
through an opened heavenly portal.
I open my eyes to see the battle
over and done. She has won.
I rise and stand on holy ground.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
“Angels: God’s thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality”
– Mary Baker Eddy
An alpine butterfly flits among the flowers on Table Mountain. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.
“Be still and know that I am God…”
she quoted. “Be quiet… don’t do, don’t act,
don’t talk, just be still… God will take care
And that sounded good. That sounded fine.
And so I sat in my comfy chair being
quiet and still. Not talking. Not moving.
Not doing. And time went by like this.
And then I died.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell