Polygamy Now
The unfolding story of polygamy in the United States

Thursday, July 26, 2007

In Memoriam to Our Friend Deb

I was called home Wednesday afternoon with the tragic news of the sudden death of our friend and neighbor, Deb. For the past two days, our community has gathered to mourn her sudden passing with potluck, ceremony, sacred fire, and memorial service.

Deb was in training to be a unitarian universalist (UU) minister, and wanted eventually to counsel people nearing death in a hospice. She was expansive, open-hearted, and one-of-a-kind, the only kind we blog about. In short, Deb was a hoot!

She loved to sing and organize caroling, and sometimes asked Lisa to accompany her on the piano. I arranged for her to sing in a local jazz band. Deb was also a frequent visitor to poker night, serving apple martinis or fuzzy navels to everyone. We will sorely miss her.

At the last poker night, a week ago, Deb asked us to call her answering machine the next day and leave a birthday greeting. She shared that she recorded and counted the greetings every birthday. So we did, complete with accordion accompaniment.

You may remember Deb from earlier in the blog. She was the minister who married us last November. She wrote the vows herself, and they were truly both inspired and inspiring.

We just returned from Deb's memorial service at the local UU church. The minister there was the minister who was working with Deb during her training. He had just decided to turn his weddings over to her when he heard the news of her death. He came to our community that evening to help us through the shock and grieving.

At the end of the service, he read a healing poem by Mary Oliver to us. I've reprinted it for you below -- the last two lines touched me deeply.

When Death Comes

When death comes like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;

when death comes like the measle-pox

when death comes like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:

what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower,
as common as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say all my life I was a bride married to amazement.

I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder

if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

-- Mary Oliver


Anonymous Gandalfe said...

The jazz band was the the Disonnance and Deb will be sorely missed. Sing loud in that heavenly choir Deb.

The band

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you, martin. your words about deb were comforting to read. especially thank you for the mary oliver poem. she was one of deb's favourite poets.
love, caly

3:00 PM  
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