The prayer we are considering for blessing people at the time of death from my United Church of Christ prayer book reminds me of experiences in which I felt the Spirit letting me know that death was not the final word in the lives of others, or even as periods of my own life journey seemed to pass away. This poem is about such a moment in my life.
I hope it blesses you and gives you courage and peace.
Your progressive redneck preacher,
Replanted at Blackmon’s Grove
Bright winged light wraps around me like phoenix flame
as you come into view.
Memories flood me
of my small hand in your leathery wizened grip
as I walk beside you while, ever the teacher,
you weave tales of the forgotten past.
I recall your smile as you gave me caramels
and your shout of “Charles!”
when daddy turned sharply on a mountain road.
I remember that day, when he had long been buried,
that you saw your Charles standing in the room with you
telling you he was fine, and he still cared for you.
We didn’t believe you then, thinking it a trick your mind played
but now I wonder … was he graced to embrace you from beyond?
After all, you are with Charles now, even though
in this moment I now feel your arms like angel wings
cradling me in embrace while your voice
once cracked with age, now brimming with youth and vigor,
whispering “I love you. I believe in you.
The work before you is important.
And what you need for it, will be given ”
– a blessing from you, dear grandmother,
a gift from beyond grafting me afresh
upon the family tree from which I felt bereft, alone, forgotten.