Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave bereft
I am not there. I have not left.
– Mary Elizabeth Frye –
…And with us you remain, Casey Dalton.
In the spirit of frogs and toads that come across our paths or cling to our windows: you are there. As cardinals at the feeders or in the trees: you sing and fly free.
You are in songs on the radio too numerous to name; in every note of music and lyric from your playlist, as anthems for our day, or solace from our sadness.
You rise from the taste of ripe honeydew melons…strawberries…blackberries…and all things mint. The memory of your face comes into view with any mention of noodles, Boston Celtics, everything basketball related, any culinary terms, all direct statements…and with every “Oh, snap!”, “Dude…” or “Whaaaat?”, that reaches my eyes or ears.
Your essence is just beyond my sight, in the shadow created over any face hidden behind a hoodie.
With every regret, every celebration, every slip and every stride…you are there.
Your spirit has pushed me to live as the most healthy and pure version of myself since childhood; so unbelievably raw and connected to everything that is me. It is not easy. It is not always joyful. But you have shown us that the greatest gifts in this life generally are not.
There is struggle and pain with literal, visceral pangs in my stomach that guide me away from that which no longer serves me. That which also leads me closer to everything I was ever meant to be.
I have demanded of myself boundaries and space. Devoting time only to me to figure out exactly how to live, and love, as this physicality that is “myself”, like never before in my 49 years.
So much crying; cleansing. Cries of elation…repentance …petulance…and crying simply meant to rinse away the residual of that which needed rinsing. You have been there with me in every single tear.
Embracing the perfectly imperfect, all-that-is-right-now version of myself is the most difficult and necessary experience on this path. I can only hope that you are the whisper of empathy in the ear of those who may not understand. For without apologies, nor regret, I shall take the next step of this life and create this new reality.
Fortunately I have you, on the sidelines of my mind’s eye, coaching me to take the shot; to go for the three. Your exit from this plane; your death, was not in vain. Because you died, I shall be more alive while I walk this earth.
And so it is, you have taught me, with everyone we love and everyone who has gone before us, when we harvest the love that is shared; when we choose love.
Love always wins…and so it goes.