By Gloria R. Buckley
Books about God by Deepak Chopra, St. John of the Cross, Teresa d ’Avila lay for years frozen, fixated and dusted weekly on his dresser. I read the books while he was dying in hospice and I lulled myself to sleep in the nocturnal comfort of his t shirts and angelic verses with visions of the dark night of my very own soul. Perhaps, I hoped his self-imposed atheism a demonic incarnate from his Holocaust imprisonment would disappear. Miraculously, I hoped he would live, or at best be unified with me in my sleep.
I dreamt of him dying and begged him to talk to me when he reached the other side. How selfish we are as the living tortured by a choke hold of grief while we watch in horror as the last breaths are taken and we demand from the dying such requests as; “don’t die until I get there”, “promise me a sign”, “please protect me”. Such selfish burdens we bear upon the dying and chase them into eternity with our puny demands. I wonder as we lay dying will the same demands be the last faint whispers we hear in our withering consciousness. I hope I can muster the strength to say, “Oh shut up” or “don’t be such a baby” to whoever stands by my bedside.
As I prayed over his body, Christian Psalms for a good Jewish survivor, I knew he would smile. The last words were “take care of your mother”. There she was heart-broken and flushing the toilet in his hospice room. I thought for a moment and said “mom at least shut the door” and in her usual flippant response she exclaimed, “He doesn’t care”. He was always so easy to be with. A man of multiple languages, multiple countries and multiple heartaches. Who survives the Holocaust and becomes a great builder, is it really only in America anymore? It was for him, yet, not so clear for me. Had he lived through to the current political climate he would have joined my mother squealing expletives at the television each night. Yet, he was spared the financial falls and political falls after his death. In this regard, I was happy for him that he passed on not to see the carnage.
I sat on the plane writing his second Eulogy on my boarding pass.
Lines of thoughts roamed with deliberate emotions around the front, back and every side of the boarding pass until I knew that between the tears and the reckless scribbling; I needed more paper. I needed more time. I had sat alone at the airport while my mother roamed outside chain-smoking and I watched in utter heartache as the simple coffin with the Star of David was wheeled onto the tarmack. I wanted a soldier’s salute for him. He served his people in torture and sorrow working the plumbing system and paying the Gestapo with anything that was flushed down the toilets. He served this country and built low income homes for everyone; not just for whom he chose but for all souls in need. I am a lawyer with a poet’s heart because of his kindness. Yet, only I was present behind the big shaded aviator glass engrossed in sorrow praying for his soul. My only hope is that he knew I was beside him in spirit; perhaps in flight.
Gloria R. Buckley has been published by Defiant Scribe, Academy of Heart and Mind, Chaleur Magazine, Prometheus Dreaming, Red Hyacinth Journal, Sensations Magazine, Alcoholism Magazine, Chimera Magazine, Journal of English Language and Literature, Hermann Hesse Page Journal, Virginia Woolf Blog, Focus Magazine, Chimera Magazine and many other journals of poetry and prose. A self- published collection of seventy five poems is available on Amazon.com. She has a short story which shall be published in October 2019 with Me First Magazine. She is a practicing attorney for over thirty years. She holds a BA in English with honors and JD from Seton Hall. She has a Masters with Distinction in English Literature from Mercy College. She is enrolled in MA in writing program at Johns Hopkins University.