I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving
hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, - but the best is lost.
The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the
laughter, the love, -
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses.
Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I
do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the
roses in the world.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
Edna St Vincent Millay (1892-1950)
Last Thursday (21st August), at 5.50am my mother-in-law stopped breathing in her hospital bed. Her daughter, nodding off beside her in the piss-proof chair started at the silence, and went to call the nurse. Ten minutes later I awoke to the sound of the telephone and a tear-stained voice. Then I had to tell my husband his mother was dead. Then I had to phone his brother and tell him. Then we had to tell our son the last of his grandparents was gone. Then we had to throw on the clothes we'd taken off only two hours before and go back to the hospital.
She was only 72. A cancer that had been removed seven years ago had reappeared in a different place and, this time, it was discovered too late. Bob and I had panicked on Tuesday evening and called an ambulance. The houseman on duty in A&E had told us to call the rest of the family and thus begun our bedside vigil.
Now, we are home for a couple of days, and then it's back in the car on Wednesday for the funeral on Friday.