Wednesday, November 20, 2013

So Long

"I'm so glad we had this time together, 
Just to have a laugh or sing a song,
Seems we just get started,
And before you know it, 
Comes the time we have to say... 
So long." 
~ Carol Burnett

Imagine you're seated bedside of your beloved, holding their hand.  These are your final moments together and it's privately just the two of you.   What will you say?  Something prolific or philosophical on the passage of time and space or the afterlife?  Or maybe it's as mundane as announcing you remembered to empty the trash or pay the electric bill?   Don't know?  Yeah, me neither.

That's how my conversation with Boomer in our final moments together went, just like that.  Last week, I retold the story of the morning of November 14, 2012, one year ago, bedside with Boomer, to my friend Debbie while sipping coffee in our suite at the Santa Monica Resort in Key West...


I was the last one to be with him.  I knelt at Boomer's bedside, oddly enough his right side; odd because throughout our life together SMO's been on the left (read Left Right).  He was d.n.r. status now, the tubes from his throat had been removed - - this was it (read Ascension).   I held his hand, gently caressing it, gazing at his serenely handsome face feeling totally flummoxed for words.  "Boomer, I want to say something meaningful, but I don't know what exactly," we were still - - together - - for a moment in the silence of sound and the tenderness of holding hands when I continued, "I'm compelled to sing you a song," tears rolling down my face, with a chuckle of embarrassment in my voice, "which makes absolutely no sense because I've never sung to you before."  True.  I never sang.  Can't sing.  Don't sing, except in the car, but then only when I'm alone and the tunes are loud enough to drown me out.  There I am in what is the very saddest moment in my life, and I'm going to make my singing debut as my final farewell to my dying husband.  "So I'm compelled to sing to you and only one song is coming to me," I said, "This is crazy, but here goes... I'm so glad we had this time together, just to have a laugh or sing a song..."   Yep, that's right, I sang Boomer the closing song from the old Carol Burnett Show. Crying and giggling the entire time.   The thing is, is that it was perfect.  It was perfectly me.  Boomer reveled in the vastness of my retro t.v. knowledge, always finding it absurd and entertaining at the same time.  He'd often say, "You're a trivia savant SMO!  You missed your calling somewhere."  

It was divine.  Divinely given, channeled through Ms. Burnett.  The lyrics encapsulate Boomer and SMO and our all too-short life together.  Genuine, sincere and special.  Boomer thought so too.  The moment I said, I mean sang, "...So long, " Boomer flat-lined for the last time and the grip of his hand in mine diminished.  He was gone.   

I am very aware of and grateful for the gifts I was given during Boomer's final days.  The gift of last words together, words of significance.  Something I know, many people who have lost a love one yearn to have had, but did not.  The gift of being at his side, holding his hand at the very end.  Not everyone has that chance.  These are gifts given in death that I am eternally grateful for and do not take lightly.  

Earlier that morning, I whispered to Boomer, "It's OK honey, you can go.  Go be with your mom and your dad.  Please be at peace now.  It's OK.  We'll all be OK."  I gave him permission.  Through Ms. Burnett's signature song, Boomer gave me permission to say, "So Long."

My whimsy is in my awe of how the forces and powers that be deliver what is the most meaningful that will symbolize your unique relationship.  It is divinely delivered - - however you believe.  It is a spiritual experience.    For anyone who has heartache in the loss of someone they love, and did not say what they wanted to say or was denied the chance - - do it now.  Create your private space, imagine them there with you - - because they are.   They want to hear you say, "So long." 

Today I mailed a letter to Carol Burnett, simply so say, "Thank you."  Never would I have imagined the significance she's made in my life too. 

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