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Louise Norton Menza Nartautus Mikulis

by Bill Menza

Dear Mother,
So steadfast and faithful,
So religious
Thank you so much,
In showing us the Path
We are all on--
To return from where we came.
As we all get closer to the earth
And further from the sky.

Go in peace,
God bless you
And we who remain.
As you remain in us
And all you touched
And gave birth to.

Remember the Nursing Home Chapel
With its stain glass windows,
Crucifixion cross,
Exit signs, wheelchairs,
Old bodies decaying
With senility.
You told us: "this is the path too."

You breathed with difficulty,
Struggling to keep us company.
A frail old mother
With her unparalized left hand
Touching her ancient face
As your eyes open to space somewhere
With small grunts and cries.
Your withered, wrinkled flesh sagging
On this once blonde-haired
Lithuanian young beauty.

There you were mom:
Nartautus, Mikulis
Lithuania, Chelsea, Everett,
Florence Street,
All our ancestors.

Such is the Way
At 89 years
As no more can be done
As nature takes it's course
For you to return,
Leaving behind
Your six children,
Twelve grandchildren,
And dear relatives and friends.

We stood gazing
With eyes moist
As we waited and feared
That final out-breath.
Ah-breathing out,
You were gone
Over to the other side.
Goodbye dear mother.

You taught us:
I am of the nature to get sick.
I will get sick.
I am of the nature to get old.
I will get old.
I am of the nature to die.
I will die.

Everything and everyone we love changes.
There is no escape
From the separation that follows.
The consequences of our actions
Are our only belongings.
They are the ground
On which we live and die.

How are you and I to be
With the dying?
With the living dead?
With the dead?
With my dead mother?

To be with them,
Be with them
As you would be
With yourself
In the present moment,
With this out-breath.

With an empty self
Open to all things
Connected to all things.
Intimately with the oneness
Of life and death.

We are here together very briefly,
So let us accept reality fully
And take care of one another
while we can.

Go in peace.
May God be with you.
God bless you all. R

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