Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Peace, my friend

Just in the past few days death has been on my mind.  I was reminded of one of my friends from teenage-hood, Trey, as it is the 12th Anniversary of his death.  The loss still stings when I think of how unfair it was, and I still see little reminders of him everywhere.

My grandmother is not doing well.  She has Alzheimer's, which is getting progressively worse just in the last few weeks.  She will not remember me if I ever see her again.  That's a BIG if....because she has had a series of strokes and is deteriorating rapidly.  I know that the life she is leading now is not easy, and one has to wonder how long she has to suffer.  Selfishly it makes me want to go home, but that wouldn't change anything.  I know that at 31 years old it is pretty remarkable to still have all four of my grandparents, so right now I'm trying to focus on happy memories of Grandmom O.

Last, just in the last 2 days my friend Clark, who is battling lymphoma, has had a major decline in health.  Clark and I played together in a few quartets, and were members of the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra together (he played cello, I played violin) for about 5 years.  He has fought this battle with everything in his heart and soul, writing about it in his Caring Bridge journal.  As a doctor of psychiatry, his perspective on facing your own mortality is very intense.  After going round and round with his insurance companies over coverage, he received two bone marrow transplants, both auto and allo, and survived them both- but it seems that infections and lung damage will ultimately trump the cancer.  Within hours of my writing, he will be extubated, and hopefully peacefully pass on to God.

I think these things are compounding on me at the moment.  The news of one without the other would perhaps not make me feel so bad.  I know that death and loss are a part of every person on this Earth's journey, and it is SO hard on those of us left behind.  Part of my inner conflict right now is just that I chose to come here to Korea, and I left a lot of people (including my Grandmom) behind.  That's on me.  People say when you are having a hard time and don't know what to do, that just putting one foot in front of the other is the best you can do.  So I'm walking.

Clark, walk towards the light my friend...to a place where there is no suffering or pain.  This is a song we sang at Trey's funeral, and it is very special to a lot of people.

Peace, My Friend

We have come to know each other
We have come to love each other
We are more when we're together
Than we are when we're apart

Though the years may come between us
We must never fear the distance
We are one in God forever
In our minds and in our hearts

Peace, my friend
May the love of God go with you
May our Father guide your footsteps
May the sun shine every day

Peace my friend
May the Spirit walk beside you
May his Grace be warm within you
May you always find your way


When the time has come for leaving
And the words have all been spoken
When you know the door is open
As it always will remain

When the last goodbye has echoed
When the last tear has been shed
When we've said it all a hundred times
We'll say it once again


Peace my friend
May the love of God go with you
May our Father guide your footsteps
May the sun shine every day

Peace my friend 
May the Spirit walk beside you
May his Grace be warm within you
May you always find your way

May our Father guide your footsteps
May you always find your way

4 comments:

JaclynJohnson said...

A song with so many meanings and memories....I still remember you calling me at Carolina to tell me about Trey. I can't believe its been 12 years. Thinking of you this week and praying for your Grandmom. Love you Mary!

Em said...

So well written, Mary. Wonderful post. Reading it brings tears to my eyes for so many different reasons. Hugs from your sister...on the other side of the Earth. I love you!

Melanie Jordan said...

Beautiful writing Mary! I wish I could write as eloquently as you. You have such a gift and I thank you for sharing. I'm praying for you and your family during this difficult time. Peace and comfort. Love you!

Kara Elizabeth said...

Mary, as weird as this may sound, I needed to read your blog today. With Trey's 12 years on Monday I found myself a bit conflicted on how to feel. He meant more to me than he ever knew. Even if he was 6 or 7 years older than I was. Seeing the words to the song "Peace" just reminded me of so much. Of TEC and all of the joys that I've been able to share in with people like you. And knowing that Trey did the same thing. Tomorrow (March 30) will be three years since I lost one of my best friends, Annie, who was killed by a drunk driver. I just sang that song over MLK Jr. Weekend at TEC...but I'm so glad that I got to see them again before Labor Day. And thank you for that.

I still see Trey and Annie everywhere in my life.. and I'm so thankful for that. Love you Mary!