Sunday, July 20, 2008

Do not go gentle

The father of a friend of mine suffered a massive stroke a couple of days ago. Prognosis isn't good. How I hate this. The lives of so many people are turned upside down, pierced with pain and uncertainty. For them, the grief starts now, even though he's still alive and they suddenly have to deal with the horror of his illness and care. I wish there was something I could do to help them, to make things easier for them, but this is a time for family and holding it all together, dealing with things, because if you don't, you'll succumb to the quiet terror and never be able to cope with anything again.

I remember the day my father died. The call to say he'd been taken to hospital came at 11pm. At 11pm the next night I was standing in the grounds of the hospital with seven year old Lauren, telling her that the newest, brightest star was her grandfather; that people we love never really leave us even though we might never see them again. It didn't work then, for either of us; it doesn't work now. The grief never ends, it never diminishes. It just gets easier to hide, easier to pretend that it doesn't hurt all the time anymore.

Dylan Thomas's "Do not go gentle into that goodnight" lives with me at times like this:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Sometimes I think it would be better not to fight it, but to just gently slip away, then those who loved can begin their raging sooner, come to terms with it sooner. Hide the grief sooner.


Danielle Ferries said...

That's a beautiful poem.
I remember the day my mum told me that my nana had cancer and it didn't look good. She was my mum's mother and I was very close to her. It's a horrible feeling to know that one day soon you will never again see a person you love. Hopefully her father will pull through and they'll have more time together.

glediar said...

I don't do well with this type of emotion. Perhaps it's the British in me - repressing emotion and all that. I never know exactly what I feel; there's too much there to separate out and deal with. It's overwhelming. I never know whether to hope recovery is imminent or if it's over quickly. Either one is filled with pain. The knowledge that people have to feel that pain tears me in pieces. It's better not to deal with it at all.