Monday, September 02, 2013

Noli Timere

The Nobel-laureate Irish poet Seamus Heaney died a few days ago. I just read that his last words were, "Noli timere" (Latin for "don't be afraid"). That touches me enormously.

As a sign of the times, they were sent by text message:

In a tribute delivered from the pulpit, one of Heaney's three children revealed his final words: a text message from his hospital bed to his wife, Marie.
Michael Heaney said the words, "written a few minutes before he passed away, were in his beloved Latin. And they read: 'Noli timere.' Don't be afraid." That revelation opened a ripple of tears in the audience, including from Marie and only daughter Catherine in the front row beside the flower-topped coffin. 


Sunday, September 01, 2013

The Dying of August, Part 2

In honor of my beloved mother, Irma Fink, who died on August 21, 2011, this lovely poem by Colleen Corah Hitchcock:


And if I go, 
while you're still here... 
Know that I live on, 
vibrating to a different measure 
--behind a thin veil you cannot see through. 
You will not see me, 
so you must have faith. 
I wait for the time when we can soar together again, 
--both aware of each other. 
Until then, live your life to its fullest. 
And when you need me, 
Just whisper my name in your heart, 
...I will be there.

Ascension copyright ©1987, Colleen Corah Hitchcock

The Dying of August, Part 1

The last 10 days of August now represent two significant events in my life. The first was Hurricane Katrina, on August 29, 2005. The second was the death of my mother, on August 21, 2011. I've been feeling moody and broody lately, and I've realized the imminence of these anniversaries weighed on me. I'll make two postings.

First, Katrina. A friend emailed me a few days ago, mentioning it was the 8th anniversary of Katrina. When I responded, I was surprised to find I am still angry at Katrina and at all the failures that led to the death and devastation. Here's what I told my friend:

Eight years post-K., and still so many scars on land and on souls. I finally feel Katrina'd out. Didn't do the annual Katrina Tour this year -- which consisted of driving by the homes (or empty lots that were homesites) of my relatives and friends who were made homeless by Katrina. I have five sets of cousins who once lived in Chalmette, but now live at distances from the whole N.O. area. Our family gatherings are few now, and never complete because we can never all be together at once due to jobs and the distance of travel. I didn't lose my home in the storm, or suffer damage more than inconvenience, but I still feel scarred, and seeing video footage of the post-storm devastation, or of the people who were stranded and begging for help, still makes me weep. Yet people have moved on with their lives. I have, too. Except for now and then. . . .

Clearly I'm still angry. Guess I'm not Katrina'd out after all!