I wrote this shortly after learning that my good friend John Brandeburg was dying of cancer and had days to live. I thought of it again as we invited Katie Sellers to be a RMIT guest in Episode #26 “Music Time With Dad”…
What if I was told I was dying
Like my dear friend was told the other day
In that instant the innumerable tomorrows
Would at once fit in the palm
Of one hand
Would I “rage, rage against the dying of the light”?
Like I had always dreamed I would
Would I yield and submit?
Would I crumble?
Like things built by men always do
Would I stand tall?
Tall on the shoulders of those
Those who made me the man that I am
As the “am” fades to “was”
Would this flame that was lit years ago
Sputter and ebb
Or would it surge brighter and brighter
Until it was no more lit
Is the end of the wick brighter than the rest?
Like the finale of fireworks?
I will miss fireworks
And ocean mist
And driving fast with windows down
And that song playing loud
And her hand in mind
Hard to know what dying will be like
Or is it?
If life was laced in love
Then shouldn’t love be present as life ends
What if, in the end, love was all that was left?
What if dying burned the rest?
Impurities, trivialities, sins
and other mortal nonsense
And in its place pure love remained
What if I just loved as I was dying?
Just loved with all that was left
Kissed my wife and children
Hugged them tight and held them close to me
And talked of only gilded days from ago
Every visitor was a friend
Who dropped everything to say goodbye
To say thanks
To say I love you
What if we all lived to die?
Like the sun rises to set
No one says “that was a pretty noon”
Oh, but a sunset
Same sun, same light, the same energy
Just lower in the sky
People stop their cars and pull over
To watch a beautiful end
And clouds gray and menacing
Become something else at sunset
Shades of grays turn to pinks, purples, reds
I will miss sunsets
So, let me rage
Or let me yield
I may crumble
I may stand
But know this
On that day of fading away
I will love with all that I am
And when that God who loved me first
Calls me home
I will be filled with love
And in that glorious death
All that will see and hear it
Will be filled in an instant
With a desire to live.
Thanks, John. Godspeed my friend, until we meet again. Thanks, Katie for keeping the music (and the gift you have to play it) alive.