If you only knew — a poem

Light through a doorway on a dark night

Light through a doorway on a dark night

Mother (as we called her then) had lost her friend
her dear friend Verity had died
and Celia was sad. Three days later
in the dead of night she had a visitation.
Verity stood at the end of her bed
laughing and laughing and laughing
and shining with delight.
Celia was enraged. “How dare you laugh
when we are weeping?
How dare you laugh when you are dead?”
and Verity said, “Because it’s all so simple!
If you only knew! It’s wonderful!
Dying is simple and death is fine!”

MP3 recording of this poem

Poem and photo by Rachel McAlpine CC BY 2.0

22 thoughts on “If you only knew — a poem

  1. A heartwarming hope for what lies ahead. I prefer to laugh now, but thinking I may have a real belly laugh coming is a pleasant way to start the day.

    1. What a great way to look at it.

  2. srbottch says:

    When my mother passed in her sleep at 92 and I spoke to her friend later, telling her that mother was ready to go, she responded as follows: “I know she was and I told her, ‘Mary, when you go, let me know and I’ll go with you’!” Sometimes, death is better… Nice poem.

    1. Thank you for sharing that story. You are right.

  3. Love this. A good poem to have on hand as a kind of lamp lighting the way ahead. Thanks Rachel!

    1. You like it? It’s yours.

  4. lifecameos says:

    What a great cheering vision !

    1. She was lucky, ay?

      1. lifecameos says:

        Yes she was.

  5. cath says:

    What a lovely vision: beautifully written.

  6. There’s a favorite Walt Whitman poem that ends something like “death is different from what anyone supposed, and luckier.” Sounds like you might agree.

    1. It’s not easy to agree with this for all deaths, now that I am grown up! But this experience stayed with my mother all her life.

      1. As my dad lay dying, he told us his friend Joe–who had recently passed–was at the foot of his bed. Life does go through phases. We seem to be in the good-bye phase now, although there are mighty sweet little hellos coming from grandbabies.

      2. This is still our time… in a different way.

  7. Lovely story, well told.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I had a similar experience when my grandmother died. I was washing a wall at the time and she “dropped by” to say she was fine and was going far away. Glad to read another account of a similar event. Few people share those experiences.

    1. Really, Elizabeth? That’s wonderful.

  9. Joared says:

    I like the symbolism of the light in the door against the lights of the larger world to accompany your poem’s descriptive language.

    1. I’m thrilled that you noticed!

  10. candidkay says:

    Oh, I love this. I think I make it all too complicated. So I’ll take a reminder from Beyond:). Thanks for sharing it . . . and your poem.

  11. lbeth1950 says:

    I’ve had that experience. It changed everything.

    1. Really? You were lucky!

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