Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
March 13, 2016
Make today count
I picked up an old book this week, began thumbing through it and got blessed. The book was written by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross titled Death – The Final Stage of Growth, published in 1975.
The word “death” got my attention. In the past two weeks death has claimed three dear friends so death and dying have been on my mind. And with each passing of a friend, I am reminded that my days are also numbered.
The book is helpful but the source of my blessing was something written by a friend of Kubler-Ross. The friend was Orville Kelly who, in his forties, became terminally ill with cancer. In the midst of his suffering Kelly started an organization called “Make Today Count.” Kelly’s purpose was to allow terminally ill patients share and help each other combat loneliness and isolation. The organization continues long after Kelly’s death to make a difference nationwide.
A dying man who wanted to live but knew he had to bid adieu to his loved ones, Kelly shared his feelings in a poem which he gave as a gift to Kubler-Ross. It was titled “For my Wife, Wanda: Love Will Never Go Away.” It was first published in Kubler-Ross’s book on death.
As I contemplate my own passing, I wish I could express my feelings with half the beauty of Kelly’s stirring words. So now I share my blessing, what I consider one of the most beautiful poems ever written:
Spring, and the land lies fresh green
Beneath a yellow sun.
We walked the land together, you and I
And never knew what future days would bring.
Will you often think of me,
When flowers burst forth each year?
When the earth begins to grow again?
Some say death is so final,
But my love for you can never die.
Just as the sun once warmed our hearts
Let this love touch you some night,
When I am gone,
And loneliness comes –
Before the dawn begins to scatter
Your dreams away.
Summer, and I never knew a bird
Could sing so sweet and clear,
Until they told me I must leave you
For a while.
I never knew the sky could be so deep a blue,
Until I knew I could not grow old with you
But better to be loved by you,
Than to have lived a million summers,
And never known your love.
Together, let us, you and I
Remember the days and nights,
Fall, and the earth begins to die,
And leaves turn golden-brown upon the trees.
Remember me, too, in autumn, for I will walk with you,
As of old, along a city sidewalk at evening-time,
Though I cannot hold you by the hand.
Winter, and perhaps someday there may be
Another fireplace, another room,
With crackling fire and fragrant smoke,
And turning, suddenly, we will be together,
And I will hear your laughter and touch your face,
And hold you close to me again.
But, until then, if loneliness should seek you out,
Some winter night, when snow is falling down,
Remember, though death has come to me,
Love will never go away!
In this touching poem Orville Kelly shared some of the deep feelings I wish I could express to the marvelous woman who has graced my journey for almost 64 years. + + +