And Then What Happened?

By Emma Pearson

May 25, 2024

2 October 2019

Megan Devine Prompt from Writing Your Grief Course inviting us to imagine what happens at the moment of death, and to speak in the voice of the person we lost. We had a poem, “The Wild Iris” by American Poet Louise Gluck as a starting point, from which I chose a starting line.

Oh my – this is a hard one. Julia’s suffering was not through physical illness, but through emotional (I don’t like to call it mental) illness.

To get me started, I just re-read how I responded to these prompts in the two rounds I have done for Mike’s death. Mike, who knew so clearly he was dying, and he was so able to accept it. Mike, who so wanted to live, but who accepted, who knew he would not, could not. And somehow, was okay with that. He was okay with that because he’d lived a good life. He had had experience of the two most important things to him: loving and being loved. Simple. Mission complete. Okay to go on to whatever was next, and I imagined beautiful things for him in my writing.

But Julia? Julia whose last year or more was so black, so depressed, so full of hurting. So unable to see anything about herself, or about life, that made it worth carrying on. To speak in her voice of the “moments just after”, how do I do that?

I will try, and then I will include a poem written by a beautiful Soul Midwife, Heather Baillie, the daughter of a friend of mine, who wrote and recorded these words for me. I have wanted to share them for a while. Perhaps this is the time and place. I will start with this line by Louise Gluck:

“From the center of my life came a great fountain,
deep blue shadows on azure seawater”.

I stopped choking
One last exhale
No new breath in

A bracing whoosh of fresh sea water
Splashed throughout my being
Cleansing me inside and out

Waking me up to the fullness of who I am
Re-energised, renewed
Refreshed, rebooted

All pain dissipated
Mental anguish extinguished
Emotional hurt evaporated

Peace, sweet peace
Sunbeams dancing all around
And there he is

Dad, my sweetheart
My soulmate
Home at last

Sweet Julia

Joyous laughter
weaving in and out;
a game of dancing
hide-and seek.

She takes the stage,
performing on tippy-toes,
arms extended as wide
as her smile;
she is twirling, 
delighting in being free.

Two silk ribbons
pure white
drop from above;
like a trapeze artist
she climbs, continuing
her performance of play;

exaggerated, exuberant,
full of Life.

Inviting a race between them, 
Mike gracefully
climbing heavenward,
no strings attached.

She waits above, before
grabbing his hand
pulling him alongside her;
both smiling,

he spins her around
his whirl of light.

Heartily, she dances;
he follows behind
with softness in his steps, a presence
that makes her soul safe.

Together with love
(and a dog by their side)
they return to the Light,
in wonder of being Home,

Heather Baillie

About Emma Pearson

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